The obscure practices of Father Boullan – Tribune de Lyon

The story begins in 1824, when Joseph-Antoine Boullan was born in Saint-Porquier, a small village in Tarn-et-Garonne. Few elements of his childhood are known except that of his early commitment to the religious path. After brilliant studies at the seminary of Montauban, the young man was sent to Rome to take a doctorate in theology.

This article is part of our summer saga around witchcraft and the occult in Lyon. All our articles.

There, he will be part of the Congregation of the Precious Blood, where he will impose bloody flagellations on himself in order to “to do penance for the people”. Back in France, Joseph-Antoine Boullan settled in the Alsatian convent of Trois-Épis. Deeply interested in mystical studies and neo-spiritualism, the young man was passionate about supernatural facts.

In 1853, he set about translating The Divine Life of the Blessed Virgin, an exercise that he repeated many times with the publication of other pious works once he settled in Paris. Until then, few elements go against this priest, apparently devoted to “to suffer for others”. But the perverse nature of his practices will be revealed when he founded the religious congregation of the Work of Reparation.

Exorcism and bloody hosts

Regularly called upon to exorcise nuns suffering from mental disorders, Abbé Boullan entered into contact with Adèle Chevalier, a blind nun who miraculously regained her sight after going to the alpine sanctuary of La Salette. Together, they founded the Work of Reparation in the city of Sèvres in 1859, in which they maintained a secret affair.

Provisionally authorized by the Bishop of Versailles, the congregation was however quickly noticed. In order to “exorcise evil”, Joseph-Antoine Boullan and Adèle Chevalier indulge in infamous practices with the nuns. It was reported that the priest spit in the mouths of these, that he made them drink his urine and painted them with poultices made from fecal matter “in order to cure them”.

The priest conducted rituals of love and glory, in which one had to rub naked in groups. He also delivered “bloody hosts” that oozed blood.

Accusations of fraud

Beyond these practices deemed satanist, Adèle Chevalier and Joseph-Antoine Boullan are accused of fraud. The couple received money from religious wishing to curry favor with the Blessed Virgin. Following these revelations, they were both sentenced to three years in prison.

Even more sordid, a rumor has it that Father Boullan would have made the child born of his hidden union with Adèle Chevalier disappear. Abbé Boullan’s heretical practices led to his expulsion from the Church in 1875 and the cessation of Annals of Holinessa pious magazine of which he was the editor.

Prophecy usurpation

It was after this banishment that Abbé Boullan became interested in the doctrine of Eugène Vintras, the so-called prophet Elijah and founder of the Work of Mercy. “My plan is to go to Lyon, the main purpose of this trip is to study more and more deeply the mission of Elijah”, he wrote in a letter addressed to the Lyon congregation. The fallen priest landed in Lyon on February 20, 1876.

On the death of Eugène Vintras, Joseph-Antoine Boullan declared himself as his successor, an assertion quickly rejected by the community of the prophet. No matter, Father Boullan persisted in his faith by creating the Carmel of Elijah. At the same time, he continues to “cure the possessed” in the company of Madame Thibault, a clairvoyant with whom he lives in a building on rue de la Martinière.

An over-publicized death

Considered as “sorcerer and instigator of a filthy sect” in the world of occultism, Abbé Boullan declared himself a martyr, convinced that he was meant to be harmed. A few days before his death on January 4, 1893, the old man confided to his relatives that he was going to die, convinced that the famous occultist Stanislas de Guaita had bewitched him.

The story of his death from a mysterious illness caused much ink to flow. According to Nicolas Le Breton, a specialist in “offbeat stories” from Lyon, what made this affair famous was the “media barouf which ensued between the few defenders of the abbot and his detractors.

The obscure history of the abbot inspired the author Joris-Karl Huysmans who recounts the facts in his 1891 novel entitled The low.As for the priest’s bloody hosts, the writer would have recovered them and sent them to the Vatican, where they would still be kept today.

This article is part of our summer saga around witchcraft and the occult in Lyon. All our articles.

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The obscure practices of Father Boullan – Tribune de Lyon

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