The Cause of Pierre Bienvenu Noailles

A saint is not an angel, but a man or a woman, born in a specific country, who lived at a particular time, with a concrete human history – a flesh-and-blood person, not the fruit of popular imagination!

Why introduce a Cause for Sainthood?

First, to offer to the whole world a model,  a person with a reputation for holiness who has lived the love of God and neighbour in a unique and concrete way..

Secondly, so that this person, who is close to God, may be recognised as an intercessor, who can come to the aid of all those who call on him/her. 

Stages of the Cause of Pierre Bienvenu Noailles, who died in 1861:



Ordinary informative process in Bordeaux

Witnesses - collection of writings


1944 (20 June)

Introduction of the Cause in Rome (decree signed by Pius XII)



Decrees of 'non cult' and 'Fama di santita'.



Apostolic Trial in Bordeaux under the presidency of Cardinal Feltin.


18 Dec. 1947

Recognition of the mortal remains of the Servant of God.


1950 (12 Sept.)

Validity of the Apostolic Trial of Bordeaux

The Cause becomes 'Roman'.



A difficulty arises when compiling the Dossier on Virtues concerning the dissipated  youth of the Servant of God, the date of his conversion,   and the two groups of priests who had left him.

The Cause is delayed



Paul VI makes it possible to resume the Cause through a historical study



The first historical study on virtues is considered insufficient.



Taken over by the Historical Section of the S.Congregation.



New Dossier 'Positio' on the life and virtues of P.B.Noailles



On Feb. 8, anniversary of the Death of P.B.N., John Paul II  signed the Decree on  the Heroicity of  the Virtues of P.B.Noailles – he is declared “Venerable”



Grace of a historical cure which took place in France in 1925  was not accepted as a  miracle – one dissenting voice.



The Council of the Family requested revitalisation of the Cause, which had been at a standstill since 1989.  

The decision was taken to appeal the former decision and present this grace once again. To open a new process, it is necessary to present the documentation offering new arguments and information that objectively justify the extraordinary nature of this cure at that time.  We are currently waiting for the response of an external expert from a medical professional before presenting the documentation again to the Commission to be appointed by the Vatican, which will give the final verdict.



The recognition of a saint, e.g.  the Cause of P.B.Noailles,  is an act of the Church, by the Church, for the Church.

Beatifications, canonizations are not rewards, but graces. It is not a matter of honouring P.B. Noailles. He did not seek honours. It is not about honouring him or his spiritual family.

It is not a question of  approving the spirituality of our Founder (this has already been done) but to declare him as a model and intercessor - First, for the Church in the Diocese of Bordeaux and for all the members of the Holy Family (Beatification) Second, for the universal Church (canonization).

The Church has had faith in the Holy Family -   If the aim is to praise God, God alone, for the good of the Church on earth, to do good to people, to help them in their faith, their sufferings, their lives, can we not assume that Pierre Bienvenu would rejoice that many people thank God with Him as Mary did, saying "all generations will call me blessed"?

The life of Pierre Bienvenu Noailles has already been recognised as  holy, but to be presented by the Church as a model and intercessor, a miracle is still necessary.

It is up to the members and friends of the Holy Family of Bordeaux  to know PBN well, and to  make the future saint known. It is up to us to question ourselves on the updating of our knowledge, on the commitment of the whole Family to this endeavour. It is up to us to pray confidently, perseveringly, gratuitously, "please, Lord!" for us, for families, for the sick and  for friends – for all the needs that we know would have touched the heart of the Founder.

"I have neither silver, nor gold, nor healing power, but what I have will give…”