Pierre Teilhard SJ - Stretcher Bearer

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    He was quite a man ....... :)

    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born in Orcines, close to Clermont-Ferrand, in France on May 1, 1881. "De Chardin" is a vestige of a French aristocratic title and not properly his last name. He was formally known as "Pierre Teilhard", which is the name on his headstone in the Jesuit cemetery in Hyde Park, New York. He was the fourth child of a large family. His father, an amateur naturalist, collected stones, insects and plants, and promoted the observation of nature in the household. Teilhard's spirituality was awakened by his mother. When he was 11, he went to the Jesuit college of Mongré, in Villefranche-sur-Saône, where he completed baccalaureates of philosophy and mathematics. Then, in 1899, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Aix-en-Provence where he began a philosophical, theological and spiritual career.
    As of the summer 1901, the Waldeck-Rousseau laws, which submitted congregational associations' properties to state control, prompted some of the Jesuits to exile themselves in the United Kingdom. Young Jesuit students continued their studies in Jersey. In the meantime, Teilhard earned a licentiate in literature in Caen in 1902.

    Mobilised in December 1914, attached to 13th hospital section (20 January 1915 ) Leaves for front as stretcher-bearer (2nd class) in 8th Tunisian Tirailleurs (4th Mixed Zouaves-Tirailleurs) and takes part in major battles including Champagne (1915), Verdun (1916), Chemin des Dames (1917), Marne (1918). Promoted corporal (13 May). Mentioned in divisional dispatches (29 August). Awarded Croix de guerre (1 September).
    4th Mixed Zouaves-Tirailleurs are sent to Verdun (May 1916 ). Mentioned in army dispatches (17 September). Remains in ranks although no longer serving as stretcher-bearer. Refuses post of divisional chaplain with rank of captain - continues to serve as non-combatant priest without official function.
    Awarded Military Medal (24 June 1917 ).
    Teilhard’s brother Olivier (b. 1887) is killed at Mount Kemmel in Flanders (3 May 1918 ).
    4th Mixed Zouaves-Tirailleurs are posted to Strasbourg (29 November 1918 )
    4th Mixed Zouaves-Tirailleurs are posted to Goldscheuer, Baden (February 1919 ).
    Teilhard is demobilised (10 March 1919 ).

    Teilhard died on April 10, 1955 in New York City, where he was in residence at the Jesuit church of St Ignatius of Loyola, Park Avenue. He was buried in the cemetery for the New York Province of the Jesuits at the Jesuit novitiate, St. Andrew's-on-the-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, upstate New York. In 1970 the novitiate was moved to Syracuse, New York (on the grounds of LeMoyne College) and the Culinary Institute of America bought the old property, opening their school there a few years later. However, the cemetery remains on the grounds. A few days before his death Teilhard said "If in my life I haven't been wrong, I beg God to allow me to die on Easter Sunday" April 10 was Easter Sunday.



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  2. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    A non-combatant priest who was awarded the Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire! He must have been greatly respected by his superior officers.

    I was brought up in the Plymouth Brethren (I've long since dissociated from them I hasten to add!). During both wars, they felt that their conscience would not allow them to bear arms, but being conscientious objecters was out the question because of the scriptures that said "obey those in authority over you". So they served in the armed forces, but as non-combatants. This was not necessarily a soft option: many were stretcher-bearers in the front line, and at least one was in bomb disposal.

    Whether or not I agree with them, I respected the courage of their convictions.

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