Filles de la croix

A difficult return but a widely open missionary field 

 In 1797, Father André took the risk of returning from exile. When he arrived in Poitiers, a member of his family told him: "You will be killed! The guillotine works permanently." The situation is clear. He will have to hide, live in seclusion again, and in any casethe priest will not find his church nor his rectory. On the other hand, he will find his sister and his parishioners. It is for them that he came back! 


The church of Saint-Pierre de Maillé has been desecrated many times, becoming the temple of the goddess Reason. The rectory was seized. The revolutionaries are still there, trying to destroy everything that reminds the people of the past. 

The crops were destroyed and people were hungry. The 1806 census shows a significant decrease in this essentially rural population: from 2100 inhabitants to 1800. Social life is difficult, people are suspicious, they are afraid. Some bourgeois families stay in 4 or 5 castles and it is there that Father André is housed, hidden... He does not wear the ecclesiastical habit to avoid being noticed but, on several occasionshe will have to face the gendarmes, miraculously escaping death, impressing even those who threaten him. 


In this context, the news spread very quickly: the priest had returned. It was in caves or secluded barns that the priest celebrated masses at night, at the Cottés, at the Marsyllis 

It was in hiding that a new parish was born, also new district, which could once again be called Saint-Pierre de Maillé. During the Revolution, only the term "Maillé" was used!  

In 1801, with the signing of the Concordat, the priest returned to his church. Freedom of religion is guaranteed. 

In 1802, the Town Hall bought the rectory. André-Hubert remained there until 1820. 


However, the concordat situation is not very clear. There are bell tower quarrels with the neighbouring communities. The priest of the parish of Saint-Phèle was a signatory of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. The curé of Angles refused the Concordat. Sectarian aberrations are born, to reach the schism known as “La Petite Église”. 

Father Fournet tries to calm the situation, to restore confidence. Understanding the general unease, he takes these situations in hand: he decides to organize a Mission. The two parishes, St-Phèle and St-Pierre are united. 

It was a success: the Angelus could be heard again; the parishioners met in their church, gathered to pray and receive the sacraments. Father André did not spare his efforts and gathered the children together for catechesis, proposed meditations before the masses, strong moments of penance, and visited the sick. 

It is a reconciliation with places and people. It took about ten years to restore this parish.