ALLART, GERMAIN (baptized Théodore), Recollet priest, bishop; b. 1618 at Sézanne; d. 4 Dec. 1685 at Vence.
He joined the Recollets of the province of Paris, where he made his profession on 22 Feb. 1637. He subsequently became reader in theology. Later he was, in succession, guardian at Corbeil in 1648 and 1649, at Rouen in 1650, definitor of his province from 1654 to 1657, and guardian of the monastery at Saint-Denys from 1657 to 1659. On three occasions, on 10 Aug. 1680, on 18 Nov. 1668, and on 4 May 1678, he was elected provincial of the province of Paris; he did not complete the last triennium, and resigned on 28 June 1679. Meanwhile he had governed the province of Saint-Antoine d’Arras from 1674 to 1677.
It was Allart who re-established the Recollets in New France after they were obliged in 1629 to leave the colony. In 1669 Louis XIV had asked him to send three religious there. A shipwreck off the coast of Portugal forced the missionaries to postpone their departure until the following year. This time the king ordered Father Allart to go himself, taking four religious with him. The provincial left La Rochelle at the end of May 1670, along with Intendant Talon, Fathers Gabriel de La Ribourde, Simple Landon*, and Hilarion Guénin, Brothers Luc François, who was a deacon, and Anselme (or Ignace) Bardou, a lay-brother. When they arrived at Quebec on 18 August of that year, the population had a warm and appreciative welcome in store for them. Bishop Laval* turned over to Father Allart the house belonging to the Recollet order, but the provincial, after careful consideration, decided to build a new residence on the site of the old one. He then named Father de La Ribourde commissioner and first superior of the monastery. Governor Rémy de Courcelle graciously consented to accept the office of first apostolic syndic of the Recollets. By December 1670, Father Allart was back in Paris.
Marie de l’Incarnation [see Guyart], who knew him at Quebec, was able to say of him and of the Recollets, “They are very zealous religious, whom the provincial [Father Allart], himself an outstanding man among them and possessing eminent qualities, has come in person to establish here.” Intendant Talon for his part wrote to the king, “Father Germain Allart, the provincial, has conducted himself so judiciously and prudently during his stay that he has earned the esteem of even those persons who seemed as if they would only with difficulty be able to tolerate his presence. The establishment he has founded is taking good shape but he needs the King’s generosity to maintain it.”
In actual fact, Father Allart always enjoyed the king’s favour; the great docility he displayed in carrying out the monarch’s orders may perhaps be the explanation of this. On 13 April 1662, Louis XIV ordered him to join 11 Recollet monasteries in the Netherlands, which had recently been conquered by France, to the province of Saint-Denys. The proposal lacked any legal basis, but it was the king’s wish and the army was ready to enforce the command. In 1666 the sovereign asked Father Allart, then guardian of the Paris monastery, to give spiritual assistance to the inhabitants of Dunkirk, who had been decimated by the plague. Without even waiting for his provincial’s permission, the superior sent several religious to the town. In 1671, again at the king’s request, he founded the monastery at Versailles.
On 10 Feb. 1675, Father Allart was elected commissioner-general of the three new custodies located in Flanders: Saint-Hubert, Saint-Pierre d’Alcantara, and Sainte-Famille. On 26 Sept. 1676, he was named commissioner of all the provinces of Recollets, Observants, and Cordeliers situated in France.
In recognition of his remarkable qualities and as a reward for his services, the king named Father Allart to the bishopric of Vence in June 1681. He was consecrated in the Recollet church in Paris on 12 July. In 1685 he took part in the Assembly of the Clergy, and died at Vence on 4 December of that year.
Correspondance de Talon, APQ Rapport, 1930–31, 126f. Marie Guyart de l’Incarnation, Lettres (Richaudeau), II, 442. Le Clercq, First establishment of the faith (Shea), I, 12–13; II, 18, 68, 70–71, 99. Sixte Le Tac, Histoire chronologique de la Nouvelle-France, ou Canada depuis sa découverte (mil cinq cents quatre) jusques en l’an mil six cents trente deux, éd. Eugène Réveillaud (Paris, 1888), 123, 200. Gosselin, Vie de Mgr de Laval, 183. M. Prévost, “Germain Allart,” DBF, II (1936), 134–35. Antoine de Sérent, “Germain Allart,” Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, éd. Alfred Baudrillart et al. (14v., en cours de publication, Paris, 1912–60), II.
Revisions based on:
Arch. Départementales, Alpes-Maritimes (Nice, France), “État civil,” Vence, 5 déc. 1685: www.cg06.fr/fr/decouvrir-les-am/decouverte-du-patrimoine/les-archives-departementales/outils-recherche/outils-de-recherche-et-archives-numerisees (consulted 25 Feb. 2011).