LE DORZ, BÉNIN (Bénigne), priest, Recollet, missionary at Louisbourg from 18 Sept. 1724 to 6 Oct. 1727; fl. 1718–36.
We do not know the dates of Le Dorz’ birth and death. The only information that we have is for the years 1718–36. On 20 Aug. 1718, at the chapter of Pontivy, he was elected lecturer in theology and novice-master of that convent; subsequently he held various offices: novice-master of the convent of Bernon in 1719, guardian of that convent the following year, and guardian of Pontivy in 1721 and 1722. The registers of the parish of Notre-Dame-des-Anges at Louisbourg record his first act as a missionary on 14 Feb. 1724, when he baptized François, son of Joseph Lartigue* and Jeanne Dhiarse. The same year, in similar acts, he called himself parish priest (18 September), then superior and vicar general (1 October). The last act in which he entered the title of vicar general is dated 10 May 1725.
In 1726 Le Dorz, who was then superior of the Recollets of Île Royale, was suspended by Abbé Fornel* under peculiar circumstances. The Recollets of Louisbourg had a chapel which served as a parish church for the local settlers. Because of its diminutive size, they planned to build a church and a presbytery. As the first missionaries in the locality, they did not anticipate that the construction of a new church would call in question the authorization already acquired to have a parish there. Alleging as a pretext irregularities in the solemnizing of “three indefensible marriages” by Father Le Dorz, parish priest, and crediting without serious inquiry “all that the most malignant slander and calumny had brought to his ears,” Bishop Saint-Vallier [LA Croix] sent his vicar general, Abbé Fornel, to Louisbourg, with letters of appointment dated 3 Sept. 1726, to suspend the parish priest. This manœuvre had only one object: to transfer to the secular clergy a parish which the king, with the previous agreement of the bishop, had entrusted to the Recollets of Brittany. So it came about: on a fine November Sunday when nobody expected it, Abbé Fornel, at the end of high mass and in the presence of the parishioners, suspended Le Dorz from the execution of all his parish duties and appointed in his place Father Isidore Caulet, who refused the post.
On 11 March 1727, after a thorough scrutiny of the documents relating to this affair, the council of Marine decided to recall Father Le Dorz to France. The latter had already asked to be recalled, and as his mandate as superior was finished his return appeared to be the only way to calm the storm which had risen against the Recollets of Brittany. For these reasons Father Dirop, his provincial, while wishing that Father Le Dorz might be able to justify himself in the bishop’s eyes, recalled him. In November or December 1727 Father Le Dorz returned to France, leaving the parish to the care of his confrère, Father Michel Le Duff. The Recollets of Brittany were to exercise their ministry at Louisbourg until the end of the French régime in Île Royale.
As for Father Le Dorz, he was re-elected guardian of Pontivy at the chapter of Port-Louis on 18 July 1733, and was still holding this office on 10 Aug. 1736.
AN, Col., C11B, 4, f.76, 8, ff.120, 125; 10, f.12. Hugolin [Stanislas Lemay], “Table nominale des Récollets de Bretagne, missionnaires et aumôniers dans l’île Royale (1713–1759),” RSCT, 3d ser., XXV (1931), sect.i, 81–100; “Les Récollets de la province de Saint-Denis et ceux de la province de Bretagne à l’île Royale, de 1713 à 1731,” RSCT, 3d ser., XXIV (1930), sect.i, 77–113.