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De la Salle brother. Born at Thuret (Puy-de-Dôme), Pierre Romançon was educated by the De la Salle brothers at Riom. In 1825 he joined their novitiate at Clermont-Ferrand. Given the unusual name of Benildus, he excelled both in teaching and in cooking. Only two years after his profession he was made superior of the community and school at Billom (Puy-de-Dôme). Strict but fair, he made everyone work hard but also gave special encouragement to the backward.

In 1841 he was entrusted with the foundation of Saugues (Haute-Loire), where he spent the rest of his life. Like their other houses, this one provided free instruction as well as religious training, together with evening classes for adults. Benild's forte was religious education: his classes were followed with rapt attention. One effect of his teaching was that numerous former pupils joined the Brothers or became priests.

In spite of his small size, he had little difficulty in exercising authority. He was both headmaster and superior at Saugues for twenty years.

In 1861, after several years suffering from a hidden illness, he was struck by exceptionally severe rheumatism. He never really recovered, but prepared for death, which took place the following year. He was beatified in 1848 and canonized in 1967. Feast: 13 August.

Lives by J. Rigault (1947) and F. G. (1948); see also B.L.S., viii. 114–15;Bibl. SS., ii. 1237–8;A. J. Liddy, Chalk-Dust Halo (1956).

Subjects: Christianity.

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