In the later part of the 19th century, the Reverend Father Paul-Joseph Buguet was assigned to the hamlet of La Chapelle-Montligeon, in eastern rural Normandy, France. In order to secure employment for his parishioners, Buguet turned into a printer, and a mud and stone digger. To mark the path from heaven to earth, he became a zealous apostle and a tireless missionary. Thus, he initiated two major charitable works. On one hand, the Fraternity of prayer for the deceased, a celestial and spiritual concern for souls in Purgatory; on the other, the printing manufacture which originated in his social and factual concern for his parishioners. Thus, they both develop alongside one another, one benefitting the other.
Protecting the worker and providing employment
After trying hand-manufacturing gloves, Buguet sets off in printing press, alike the Trappist Monks established a few miles away. Beginnings are modest. After getting a manual press, assisted by a labourer, he launched into work on the very premises of his presbytery.
Soon activity flourished. Printing and publishing developed along that of the Expiatory Work by taking care of its publications: newsletters, etc.
Praying for the forsaken souls
In 1876, Fr. Buguet underwent three tragic deaths in his closest family: that of his brother Augustus, crushed by the bell of neighboring Mortagne parish church, followed by that of both his nieces, grief-stricken after their father’s demise. He thus felt confirmed in his notion of establishing a work for the deliverance of forsaken souls from Purgatory.
“One consequence of what I have only recently been meditating upon”, he then said, “is the need to relieve souls from purgatory. I have only but delayed too much establishing the Work I had planned.”
Moreover, he was convinced that abandoned souls will, in return, help him develop the printing manufacture, thus providing work to his impoverished parishioners:
“I sought to reconcile a two-fold goal: to have people pray for neglected souls and, in return, to obtain from them the means of providing a livelihood for the worker. “
Today still, his legacy lives on. At the origin of his charitable works, no miracle or extraordinary spectacle, but an intuition: that of praying for the deceased and in the meantime, maintaining the living – especially by providing them with work. A double intuition, both a legacy and a challenge for us today!
“I sought to reconcile a twofold aim…” he wrote in one of his personal handbooks while visiting Spain in 1910
Our Lady of Montligeon Basilica
In 1884, Msgr. Tregaro approved the statutes of the Association for the deliverance of souls in purgatory. Father Buguet became a kind of sales representative for the souls in purgatory, visiting parishes to collect funds for his charitable Opus.
Rapidly donations occurred. In 1887, further to the success of the first constituted pilgrimage of prayer for holy souls in Purgatory, the renown of Our Lady of Montligeon set off and diffused throughout France and, soon, around the world.
On June 4, 1896 the first stone of the future Basilica was blessed and laid. The very first Mass will be held on June 1, 1911, during the then dedicated annual pilgrimage.
Msgr. Buguet died from exhaustion on June 14, 1918, in Rome, Italy. His remains rest in the crypt beneath the Basilica of Our Lady of deliverance of the holy souls.
Find out more about Rev. Fr. Buguet, instigator of the Expiatory Oeuvre for the deliverance of souls in purgatory, and of the subsequent shrine of Our Lady of Montligeon.
For further information about Fr. Buguet’s Oeuvre: