Bishop and Apostolic Delegate

For two years he headed the scholasticate for the philosophy students in Mortain, Normandy (1945-1947).

The city was in ruins, everything had to be rebuilt. And so, in order to feed his seminarians, he traveled about the countryside every morning to beg for milk, flour, beans and sometimes meat from the farmers.

Rector at Mortain

“We liked him,” his students remember. “We felt that he cared about us and that he liked us.” He inculcated sound principles and warned them about harmful tendencies that were developing in the Church during the post-war period years. He especially fought against the evolutionism of Teilhard de Chardin, the idea of infiltrating and baptizing Communism, and the optimism of Fr. Henri de Lubac about the salvation of non-believers.

Apostolic Delegate

But then Pope Pius XII sent him back to Africa! On June 12, 1947, he was appointed Apostolic Vicar of Dakar, in Senegal. Before his departure he was consecrated a bishop in Tourcoing by Cardinal Achille Lienart. On site, his first concern was the formation of priests. The seminary was therefore the apple of his eye. So he set up nearby a convent of Carmelite nuns so as to be sure of drawing down divine grace. As for the missionary work, which was dying out, he relaunched it and soon halted the spread of Islam.

Always more missionaries!

As Apostolic Delegate, he erected dioceses, appointed bishops, several of them indigenous, and brought from Europe and even from Canada a large number of priests, teaching brothers and nuns. Every year he had an audience with the pope. When Pius XII expressed amazement at this multiplication of evangelical laborers, he replied:

Most Holy Father, the indigenous clergy is growing steadily, but Africa will always need missionaries.”