Henri Didon - Encyclopedia

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HENRI DIDON (1840-1900), French Dominican, was born at Trouvet, Isere, on the 17th of March 1840. He joined the Dominicans, under the influence of Lacordaire, in 1858, and completed his theological studies at the Minerva convent at Rome. The influence of Lacordaire was shown in the zeal displayed by Didon in favour of a reconciliation between philosophy and science. In 1871 his fame had so much grown that he was chosen to deliver the funeral oration over the murdered archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur G. Darboy. He also delivered some discourses at the church of St Jean de Beauvais in Paris on the relations between science and religion; but his utterances, especially on the question of divorce, were deemed suspicious by his superiors, and his intimacy with Claude Bernard the physiologist was disapproved. He was interdicted from preaching and sent into retirement at the convent of Corbara in Corsica. After eighteen months he emerged, and travelled in Germany, publishing an interesting work upon that country, entitled Les Allemands (English translation by R. Ledos de Beaufort, London, 1884). On his return to France in 1890 he produced his best known work, Jesus-Christ (2 vols., Paris), for which he had qualified himself by travel in the Holy Land. In the same year he became director of the College Albert-le-Grand at Arcueil, and founded three auxiliary institutions, Ecole Lacordaire, Ecole Laplace and Ecole St Dominique. He wrote, in addition, several works on educational questions, and augmented his fame as an eloquent preacher by discourses preached during Lent and Advent. He died at Toulouse on the 13th of March 1900.

See the biographies by J. de Romano (1891), and A. de Coulanges (Paris, 1900); and especially the work of Stanislas Reynaud, entitled Le Pere Didon, sa vie et son oeuvre (Paris, 1904).

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