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THE LATE REV. FATHER LANNUZEL. A TRUE MISSIONARY FATHER. (From our Auckland correspondent.) The Rev. Father Rene Marie Lannuzel. lately puish pr-est of Opotiki, in the Bay of Plenty, in the diocese of Auckland was in the truest acceptation of the term a. true, missionary Father ot our Holy Church. With him individuality was entirely trampled uudei foot, and in the vvoik of his Master this woi thy minister of the Church discarded as so much dross all that was mundane father Lannuzel was born in Pluerin, dio< e^e of Finnistsrrc and Kuimper, in Brittany, France, on December 23rd, 1 848 His parents were wealthy, and, with the other members «.f the family voun»Lannuzel received every care and attention in his religions and secular education. At an early age he stu lied in St. Paul's College Brittany, and continued his studies at the secular collt ye at Port Chitean, Vannes. While here in 1871 the wmouinary war between Laßelle* ranee and the neighbouring colonies raged disastrously and upon trench soil, and young Lannuzel, fired with all the ardent and characteristic patriotism of his race, forsook his peaceful studies and plunged into the combat in the vain endeavour to hurl back over the Rhine the victorious leg-ions of Germany From the ranks he rose to the post of captain, and remained fi.^htino- until peace was ratified at Versailles. Throwing- aside the sword and the epaulets, the young- hero donned once more the cassock, and qualified tor ordination in the militant ranks of the Church. The Bishon of antes oi darned him in 1873, and in that year he was ordered to that portion of the globe to which at present so much attention is now being directed— viz., Hayti, in the West Indies. Here he laboured incessantly for seven years, and built there a stone church which stands to-day, a monument of Father Lannuzel's piety and zeal. Unfortunately, the good priest contracted in Hayti the everprevailing fever, which necessitated his immediate departure for France and which, be it regretted, took such a permanent hold in his system, that ever since this West Indian complaint has been a source ot trouble to him, finally killing him. After a short rest he was sent to Spain, where he laboured several months Prona«-andi then sent him to New Guinea, there to report on the mission^ and twelve months after he returned to Rome and gave in his report Propaganda subsequently sent him back to New Guinea with three priests under his charge, one of whom is the present Archbishon > aviere in that region. Father Lannuzel was the first white man to set foot in A ew Britain, on which island he built another stonechurch called Ville Mane, and laboured long and zealously in these tropical islands The natives on one occasion broke out into revolt and father Lannuzel took to the water to escape, and while in it was shot id the leg by an aboriginal. The very next day all the natives came to the wounded priest and expressed sorrow and asked tor forgiveness for their crime. The Bishopric was now offered lather Lannuzel, but he declined it. fearing that his health would ever preclude him from fulfilling the duties of such an arduous office. In this he was correct, for in 18S'J the old malady of the West again made itself manifest, and, to spare his lite, the doctors ordered him to proceed to Australia, whither he journeyed in a French vessel, arriving i n Sydney. The Australian climate, not suiting, he was ordered to New Zealand, arriving in Auckland on Christmas morning, 1883. The late Dr. Luck received him most kindly, and sent him for a few weeks to assist the Very Rev. father O'Reilly at the Thames. In January LSS4, he was sent to Opotiki, where he has laboured ever since. In this parish as in Hayti. IS evv Guinea, and New Britain, Father Lannuzel worked wonders. \\ hen he arrived at Opotiki he had not even a house in which to live. Catholicity there was at zero. In three years he built a fine church. Seeing little prospect of clearing off the debt by local means and of further advancing the cau-e of o>ir holy religion, he determined to visit Europe, and in 1887 he collected through France and Belgium. The Duke of Norfolk sent him £10 with a request to offer Masses and prayers for an afflicted member of his family. This tour occupied eleven months, and he was accompanied by a faithful parishioner and dear friend. Mr. D McDonald to whom I am indebted for this narrative of the good and saintly priest. The church at Opotiki on the return of its beloved pastor was treed-of its debt, and a two storey convent was also erected and given over to the charge of the Sibters of the Mission. This accomplished a presbytery was built, and finallya school was erected of which the Sisters of the Mission assumed control. Having completed his work, into which he had put all his energy and his means, for he inherited a fair competence, this model priest died in a worldly sense, a poor man, but in the sight of Him, who appraisea all at their true value, he died opulent and resplendent His last moments were passed at St. Patrick's Cathedral Presbytery Auckland, where he was nursed and cared for by his old family nurse loanne, who nursed him in childhood, and who faithfully followed him everywhere on his mission, and iv the close companionship of vis con/rerrs, Fathers Croke, Buckley, and Purton. He died a peaceful and happy death on Monday, May 9, in the first hours of the morning His body was laid in btate at the Cathedral that evening and the following morning a Solemn Rciptwm Mass was offered for the repose of his soul. His Lordship the Bishop of the diccese, Right Rev. Dr. Lenihan, from the pulpit made feeling and touching reference to the great and exemplary life of Father Launuzel He knew that in the execution of his good work this holy priest denied himselt the bare necessities of life. He would live for ever in the remembrance of his people. Work such as his shed renown and lustre upon our holy Church. After Mass the cortege, comprisingthe Bishop, a large number of the diocesan clergy, and faithful laity, wended its way out to the Panmure Cemetery, where over the grave his Lordship the Bishop recited the prayers for the dead So ended all that was mortal of good and pious Father Lannuzel May our Lord, in his infinite goodness, have mercy upon his soul

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Bibliographic details

New Zealand Tablet, New Zealand Tablet, Volume XXVI, Issue 5, 3 June 1898

Word Count

OBITUARY. New Zealand Tablet, Volume XXVI, Issue 5, 3 June 1898