COADOU Jean-Yves, Marie

Mgr COADOU is the First Bishop of Mysore. He was born at LOCRONAN, Brittany, France, on 18.01.1819. He joined the M.E.P. Society on 10.05.1844. He was ordained priest on 17.05.1845. He left for Malabar Mission in India on 29.05.1845. He was destined to the Mysore mission that had been erected as "Apostolic Vicariate" on 03.04.1850.

Father COADOU administered first the Christian communities of SETTIHALLI, SHIMOGA, and VIRAJPET. He was Rector of the Seminary for some time. Then, he was appointed Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier, in Bangalore and chaplain of "The Good Shepherd". A assignment he fulfilled for more than 20 years. Appointed Pro-Vicar in 1874, after the death of Mgr CHEVALIER he was elected Apostolic Vicar on August 20,1880 and consecrated bishop by Mgr LAOUENAN on October 10, 1880.

Under his administration and care, important institutions were opened. Namely:
1) At Bangalore:
2) At Mysore:
3) At Somanahally:

At about 1885, Mgr COADOU reached and agreement with Mgr BARDOU, Apostolic Vicar of Coimbatore, about the delimitation of their respective territories. This delimitation, approved by Rome, gave to Coimbatore the part of the civil district of the Nilgiris they did not have so far. It attributed to Mysore the Kollegal where Kannada is spoken.

By the Bull "Humanae Salutis" of September 1, 1886, Pope Leo XIII established the ecclesiastical hierarchy in India. Mysore was erected as suffragan of Pondicherry. By the Brief "Apostolatus Officium" of the following November 25, Mgr Coadou was appointed first Bishop of Mysore with residence at Bangalore.

Mgr Coadou expired at Bangalore on September 14, 1890. He is buried within St Patrick's Church that was the Cathedral in his time.

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Born on February 27,1849 in Vendeacute, France. Joined the M.E.P. Society on September 24,1872. Ordained priest on May 30,1874. Left for Mysore on July 15,1874. Expired on June 12,1928 in Mysore. In the various places he exercised his ministry, he was appreciated for his practical sense. His ardent and enlightened zeal, compensated somehow his limited command of local languages. During his first years he was appointed in Christian communities distant from Bangalore such as Winaad and the Coorg. Then, he was sent to Arsikere where he revealed his taste and gifts for architecture. He built a small church by the side of the railway line. It was a modest beginning which prepared him for the construction of the Sacred Heart Church in Bangalore. When he began this construction he had just been appointed parish priest of Blackpally where he remained for 33 years.

When taking charge of this Parish, he found that much had been done but still more remained to do. He succeeded in running a Parish of 8030 souls and to make it self-supporting.

His popularity became apparent at his funeral presided by the bishop. It was particularly noticed that the male attendance was half the congregation.

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Born on August 12,1831. Departure for India on September 29,1856. Expired on May 14,1913.

Armand DESAINT was born in France on August 12,1831. In his boyhood he developed a natural taste for botany under the direction of a lady versed in this science. He so acquired a practical knowledge of natural medicine which was to serve him in his future ministry.

When he reached his mission in 1855, there were hardly 18 missionaries. He was sent first to Mysore to study Tamil. Then he studied Kannada and it is mainly among Kannadiga that he exercised his ministry.

He was given charge of the district of SETTIHALLY by Mgr Charbonnaux. He won soon the sympathy of the Christian population by his charity and his good command of kannada. Many sick people came to him for treatment and he became well known as a competent doctor. The number of his patients kept increasing. He built for them a few rooms. The British government gave him a small subsidy. It is the origin of the hospital of Settihally. To help him caring for the sick and to provide help a security to young widows, he started the Congregation of Mercy which prospered for a long time.

He completed the church of Settihally. It was one the largest building of the diocese. Though he was of a vigorous constitution, he suffered from the fever ravaging this territory. In 1873, he had to go to France for a few months to regain his health. After his return, he remained in Pondicherry where he was given charge of the infirmary of the mission. For 20 years he was of a very great help for his sick confreres. He wrote a small handbook in which he summarised the knowledge acquired through studies and experience to treat the most common ailments in India. This book was reprinted four times in French, as well as in English.

When old age came, Fr Desaint desired to come back to his mission. Mgr Kleiner received him in Bangalore. He was by then 70 years old. He occupied most his time listening to confessions at Saint Francis Xavier's church and in translating in Kannada books of spirituality, including "the Imitation of Christ" and an explanation of the catechism. These books were printed and distributed at his own expense. Every year he received fairly large amounts of money which he used to distribute personally or through the Bishop.

In 1909, Fr Desaint had to stop celebrating the Eucharist because of the giddiness he felt every morning. In October 1909, he retired in St Martha's. He lived there for the next 10 years. On May 10, 1913, he received Holy Communion for the last time. He expired on May 14, 1913 at St Martha's Hospital. He was 82. and the doyen of the whole MEP Society.

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Mgr KLEINER was born on July 5,1841 in the eastern part of France. He joined the minor then major diocesan seminary. He was a good student and equally good in sportsmanship. On the advice of his spiritual director he joined the M.E.P. Society in 1864. He was ordained to priesthood on June 10,1865 and left France on July 14,1865 for the mission of Mysore.

Then, India did not attract very much the mind of young missionaries. It was felt to be almost to close to France. Only 25 days after having left the Seminary in Paris, the new missionary was in his room at the Procure in Pondicherry! After a few months of studies of the local language, Fr Kleiner was appointed in a peaceful Christian community. He had the uneasy feeling of being Parish Priest in France! What difference between the Indian missions and the land of martyrs in China, Korea or Vietnam! Father Kleiner wrote:"As if all the missionaries were destined to martyrdom! As if all who pray could expect to reach the ecstasy of a few privileged saints! The harvest if bountiful in India; The work is done without any trumpeting! Souls have the same value. Each apostolic worker can display his zeal for their conversion. He has to renounce any hope of violent death but he is assured of a long and obscure life of service. It may be, before God, more meritorious than the execution by sword, chains or sticks. In India, too, crosses under various forms are plenty, either for the body or the soul. If these crosses do not shine in men's eyes, God has marvellous crowns for all who will accept them for the love of Jesus."

After having studied Tamil for a few months, Fr Kleiner was sent to Mercara, in Coorg. Very strict with himself, he was equally so with some individuals who took much liberty with Christian ethics. In the isolation of Mercara, Father Kleiner modelled his life on the time-table of a seminary. Study of the language, spiritual exercises and visits to the sick absorbed his time.

A catechist reports that Fr Kleiner baptised a physically handicapped girl who was unable to walk. Her parents used to leave her at the cross road, near the church, where she begged the whole day. At the time of her baptism, the girl recovered her legs and started to walk. She herself testified to the truth of the story with the catechist who reported it. When questioned, Fr Kleiner answered he did not know but that it was given as a true story by people around.

In 1870, Fr Kleiner was sent to SHIMOGA where he built a church. It revealed his talents of architect. His confreres began consulting him whenever they had a church to build or to repair. In 1872, Mgr Charbonnaux called him to Bangalore to construct a large church at Blackpally. He built it in gothic style with the first gothic vault in South India. This church was consecrated in 1886. All along, Fr Kleiner pursued his studies of the local languages. He became proficient in Kannada, Tamil and English.

When the Diocese of Mysore was erected, Mgr COADOU appointed Fr Kleiner as his Vicar General. In 1890, Fr Kleiner had to go to France for rest. It was during his stay there he was designated as coadjutor to Mgr Coadou by the votes of his confreres. A charge he appears to have accepted with much reticence.

He was consecrated Bishop on September 21,1890 in the Chapel of MEP Seminary in Paris. Then, Mgr Coadou was already dead and Mgr Kleiner had to hurry back to Mysore.

For ten years he enjoyed good health and developed his Diocese. It is noted that in spite of having built churches before and after his Episcopal ordination, he never left debts nor caused any financial difficulties to his successors.

During his tenure as Bishop, Fr Tabard rebuilt the cathedral (St Patrick's) and Father Vissac, St Joseph's College. The Little Sisters of the Poor came in 1893. Mgr Kleiner himself built a chapel and a school for the Sisters of St Joseph of Tarbes.

Then, he constructed the SACRED HEART CHURCH in granite stones and with two magnificent towers.

When he reached sixty, Mgr Kleiner felt his health rapidly declining. Several times he had to go to St Theodore's Sanatorium, in Nilgiris, for rest. Soon, it became apparent that a fresh leave in France was necessary. Once there, it appeared his return to India was impossible.

In 1905, he requested the Holy Father to give him a coadjutor and in 1910 he resigned the seat of Mysore. He retired in a convent in France where he soon became blind. He expired on August 19,1915.

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COMBRET Jean-Marie ( 1849 - 1914)

Jean-Marie COMBRET was born on May 26,1849 in the diocese of Lyon, in eastern part of France. He joined the MEP Society on 4/3/1870 and was ordained priest on 20.09.1873. He was destined to Mysore mission and left France on 05.11.1873. It is only in the 1886 MEP records that we find mention, and for that matter a very laudatory one, of Fr Combret. At that time and probably since a few years, he was Parish Priest of the Sacred-Heart church in Bangalore. In his time, it was an area of poor repute with few Christians and not the best.

In 1886, there were 1900 Christians, three schools for boys and one for girls plus a catechumenate. In 1887, 2000 Christians but no church. During week time, he celebrated mass in his residence. On Sundays and feast-days, he gathered his Christians in St Patrick's Cathedral, after the mass for the soldiers. In 1885, he signalled 2082 Christians and the completion of Sacred-Heart church. That area of Bangalore had changed by then and had become a good and beautiful parish.

It was left to somebody else to harvest the fruits of his labour. In 1903, we find Fr COMBRET at SATTIHALLY where he had a large church, a school for boys and another for girls plus a small convent with sisters running a dispensary and an orphanage. In 1908, after the division of the Parish only, 1300 Christians remained with Fr Combret. Conversions were few and more difficult than at the Sacred-Heart. In Sattihally, he was working among caste people who cultivated strong prejudices. He kept trying to attract non Christians by the solemnities of the processions.

Little by little his body felt the stain of hard life. After 40 years of uninterrupted labours, accomplished with zeal and without any glare or publicity, he expired in Sattihally on the night of 15-16 September 1914.

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Thought for the Day:" Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets." Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26