Raymond Deville, p.s.s. (1923-2010)

Former Superior General Dies
Wednesday 30 June 2010
by  Ronald Witherup
popularity : 9%

Sulpician Father Raymond DEVILLE, p.s.s., former Superior General of the Society of Saint Sulpice, died suddenly on 8 June 2010 after taking ill at La Maison St Louis de Versailles where he had been living with the effects of Alzheimers disease since 2003.

Father Deville was born on 28 October 1923 in Avion (Pas de Calais) and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Versailles in 1947, the year before he entered the Sulpicians. From 1948 to 1953 he studied Scripture in Rome (Pontifical Biblical Institute) and then was assigned to teach scripture in the Sulpician seminary in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he quickly learned Vietnamese. Gifted in languages and affable in nature, he went on to serve in various assignments for the Society of Saint Sulpice, including Versailles and Issy-les-Moulineaux, where he became director of the Premier Cycle (Philosophy). From 1973 to 1979 he served as the director of IFEC, a program for the training of formation staff, and Secretary to the French Bishops Conference Commission for Seminaries.

In 1984 Father Deville was elected Superior General of the Society, serving two terms until his retirement in 1996. During his tenure as Superior General, Father Deville became well known as an expert on the French School of Spirituality, on which he published an important book, The French School of Spirituality: An Introduction and Reader (Duquesne University, 1994; French original, 1987), which recently appeared in an updated edition, L’école française de spiritualité (Desclée de Brouwer, 2008).

Among his many accomplishments as Superior General was the solidification of the financial base for the Generalate, the expansion of the Procure in Rome, the promotion of the international dimension of the Society especially through new programs of formation, and expanding the knowledge of the French School of Spirituality and the role played by Father Jean-Jacques Olier, founder of the Sulpicians, in that movement.

The funeral was held in Versailles, his home diocese, with Bishop Jean-Yves RIOCREUX, Bishop of Pontoise and a nephew of another former Superior General of the Sulpicians, presiding. Father Bernard PITAUD, p.s.s., Provincial of the French Province, delivered the homily. Father Jean-Louis ROUILLIER, p.s.s., first consultor, represented the General Council in the absence of Father Ronald D. WITHERUP, p.s.s., current Superior General, who had a prior engagement abroad.

May the Lord grant our confrere, Father Raymond Deville, eternal rest! R.I.P.