Clément Bonnand

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Clément Bonnand
Vicar Apostolic of Pondicherry
Titular Bishop of Druzipara
Clément Bonnand
Monsignor Clément Bonnand
Church Catholic Church
Installed 3 Apr 1850
Term ended 21 Mar 1861
Predecessor Louis-Charles-Auguste Hébert
Successor Joseph-Isidore Godelle
Ordination 17 June 1821
Consecration 10 Nov 1833
by Bishop Louis-Charles-Auguste Hébert
Personal details
Born (1796-05-20)May 20, 1796
Saint-Maurice-sur-Dargoire, France
Died March 21, 1861(1861-03-21) (aged 64)
Buried Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry
Nationality French
Denomination Catholic

Mgr. Clément BONNAND (May 20, 1796 – March 21, 1861) was a missionary of Paris Foreign Missions Society and was the Vicar Apostolic of Pondicherry from 3 April 1850 until his death on 21 March 1861.[1]

He was born on May 20, 1796 in Saint-Maurice-sur-Dargoire, France, he was ordained priest on June 17, 1821. He served for some time as an assistant in a parish of his own diocese. He joined the MEP Seminary on November 14, 1823. He left for the Malabar Mission on February 4, 1824 and served first at Phirangipuram in Andhra Pradesh.


Catechism book printed in Mission press by Clément Bonnand in 1841, donated by Fr. Brertrand S.J to the Congregation of propagation of faith, is now preserved in a Museum in France
Tomb of Mgr. Clément Bonnand
Ordination history of
Clément Bonnand
Priestly ordination
Date of ordination 17 June 1821
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated by Louis-Charles-Auguste Hébert
Date of consecration 10 November 1833
Place of consecration Oulgaret, Pondicherry
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Clément Bonnand as principal consecrator
Gaetano Antonio Mulsuce 1843
Etienne-Louis Charbonnaux 1845
Melchior-Marie-Joseph de Marion-Brésillac 1846
Joseph-Isidore Godelle 1857

He was selected as Coadjutor by Bishop Louis-Charles-Auguste Hébert in 1831. He hesitated a long time before accepting this charge. He was consecrated on November 8, 1833 at Oulgaret, in his residence[2] at Our Lady of Victory Church. This odd place was chosen for his consecration because the diocese was hit by a heavy famine and it was feared that a lavish ceremony would result in the hatred of the starving people. Mgr. Hébert also advised not to inform about the consecration even to the priests of the vicarate. Anyhow, Mgr. Bonnand informed Fr. Surpiés. The ceremony was considered as a mean one by Bonnand himself, because he was given an old white mitre and Mgr. Hébert's cassock was adjusted to fit him. [3] It is also to be noted that the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith mentions that Dr. Bonnand was authorized by the Holy See to send missionaries to the Maldive Islands where the Christian faith has not reached.[2]

Mission Press[edit]

Mgr. Bonnand encouraged his priests to enter into the press media. The catholic mission started their own schools and began to publish books on matter of Catholic Doctrine. Mgr. Bonnand himself published a small catechism book in 1837. Due to the usefulness this media, a new printing press was established by the mission near the cathedral in 1841. In this press, Mgr. Bonnand published a larger catechism book in 1841.[4]

The Synod of Pondicherry[edit]

The Salient point of his tenure as Vicar Apostolic, was "The Synod of Pondicherry". It took place from January 18 to February 13, 1844. It was to have a very great influence not only in India but in all the Far East. After the Synod, Father LUQUET was sent to Rome to plead for the creation of local catholic hierarchy in India, but the request was too much ahead of the time.

On March 16, 1845, the Vicariate Apostolic of Pondicherry was divided into three missions. Namely: Pondicherry, Coimbatore and Mysore. On April 3, 1850, by the Brief "Pastorale Minsisterium" Mysore and Coimbatore too, were elevated into an Apostolic Vicariate.

In 1849, Mgr Bonnad held a second synod that completed the work of the Synod of 1844.

On August 13, 1859 Mgr Bonnand was appointed by Pope Pius IX, Visitor Apostolic for all the missions in India. He left Pondicherry never to return on November 29, 1859. He died in Benares on March 21, 1861.

The short biography of his predecessor Mgr. Hébert, ends with the following note:" Selecting Mgr BONNAND as his successor may be considered as the greatest service he rendered to the mission." Mgr. Bonnand, was one of the most remarkable Vicar Apostolic of the MEP Society and the missions in India where he played an important role for more than 20 years.[5]


  1. ^ "Bishop Clément Bonnand, M.E.P". David M. Cheney. 
  2. ^ a b Annals of the Propagation of the Faith, Volume 1, 1839 - Pg. 146
  3. ^ P. A., Sampath Kumar; Carof, André (1999). History of Pondicherry Mission: An Outline (a translation from French). Chennai: Department of Christian Studies, University of Madras. pp. 91–92. 
  4. ^ The Paris Foreign Mission, MEP, Bangalore, India
  5. ^ Biography in French at
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gabrijel Palković
Bishop of Druzipara
19 August 1831 – 21 March 1861
Succeeded by
José Antonio de la Peña y Navarro
Preceded by
Louis-Charles-Auguste Hébert
as Superior of Karnatic Mission in Pondicherry
Vicar Apostolic of Pondicherry
3 October 1836 – 21 March 1861
Succeeded by
Joseph-Isidore Godelle