Famous French Spiritual & Religious Leaders

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Find out more about the greatest French Spiritual & Religious Leaders, including John Calvin, Pope Julius II, Bernadette Soubirous, Vincent de Paul and Francis de Sales.
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 1 
Saint Sebastian
4
Birthdate: 0256 AD
Birthplace: Narbonne, France
Died: 0288 AD
Saint Sebastian, a Christian saint, was almost killed during Diocletian's persecution of Christians. However, he was later rescued by Saint Irene of Rome. Following this, Sebastian tried warning Diocletian about his sins but was instead clubbed to death. Medieval traditions labelled him as a protector against the plague.
Thérèse of Lisieux
7
Birthdate: January 2, 1873
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alençon, France
Died: September 30, 1897
French nun Thérèse of Lisieux, known as "The Little Flower of Jesus,” became one of the most well-known Catholic saints ever. She became the youngest Doctor of the Church and the third woman to receive the honor. A devoted Carmelite, she died of tuberculosis at age 24.
 3 
Bernadette Soubirous
(French Saint Who Received Visions from the Virgin Mary in a Cave Near Lourdes)
Bernadette Soubirous
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1844
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lourdes, France
Died: April 16, 1879
Bernadette Soubirous grew up amidst poverty, which contributed to her ill health and her stunted frame of just over 4 feet. At 14, she had visions of the Virgin Mary, which led to the formation of the Marian shrine of Lourdes. She was declared a saint by Pope Pius XI.
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 4 
Jacques de Molay
(Religious Leader)
Jacques de Molay
4
Birthdate: 1243 AD
Birthplace: Molay, Haute-Saône, France
Died: March 18, 1314
It is believed Jacques de Molay, the Knights Templar’s last grand master, had cursed King Philip IV of France while being burned to death at his orders. The curse is said to have affected Philip and his descendants, the "Accursed Kings," leading to their downfall and the Hundred Years’ War.
 5 
Rashi
(Rabbi, Author)
Rashi
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1040
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Troyes, France
Died: July 13, 1105

Salomon Isaacides, also popularly known as Rashi, was a medieval French rabbi. He is acclaimed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud. He also authored a  commentary on the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh). His works, penned in a concise and lucid manner, form the foundation of contemporary Jewish studies and rabbinic scholarship and interpretation.

Louise Marie Therese
3
Birthdate: November 16, 1664
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moret-sur-Loing, France
Died: 1732 AD

Louise Marie Therese was a French nun who lived in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. She has been mentioned in many different sources, some dubiously claiming that she was the daughter of the Queen of France, Maria Theresa of Spain. She was a black woman and a Benedictine nun in the abbey of Moret-sur-Loing. 

John Baptist de La Salle
3
Birthdate: April 30, 1651
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kingdom of France
Died: April 7, 1719

John Baptist de La Salle, also known as La Salle, is remembered as the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or the de La Salle Brothers. Apart from setting up charitable boarding schools, he also trained teachers. He is revered as the patron saint of school teachers and educators.

 8 
Vincent de Paul
(Catholic priest)
Vincent de Paul
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1581
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, France
Died: September 27, 1660

Vincent de Paul was a 17th-century Catholic saint who established the Congregation of the Mission, whose followers are also known as Lazarists, or Vincentians. Known for his charity toward the peasant community and the poor, he also formed associations of women who helped and nursed the sick.

 9 
Peter the Hermit
3
Birthdate: 1050 AD
Birthplace: Amiens
Died: July 8, 1115

Peter the Hermit, also known as Little Peter, was a major figure of the First Crusade and a leader of the People’s Crusade, which entered the East before the Crusaders. He preached on the Mount of Olives just before Jerusalem was stormed. He also established an Augustinian monastery in Neufmoustier.

 10 
Arnulf of Metz
3
Birthdate: 0582 AD
Birthplace: Lay-Saint-Christophe, France
Died: July 8, 0641

A Frankish noble, Arnulf of Metz served at the court of Theudebert II and was also made the bishop of Metz. Along with Pippin, he led a campaign against Brunhild and caused its downfall, eventually leading to the reunification of Frankish territories under Chlotar II.

 11 
Gregory of Tours
(Historian)
Gregory of Tours
3
Birthdate: November 30, 0538
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Auvergne, France
Died: November 1, 0594

Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours. He is mainly known for being the primary contemporary source for Merovingian history. His accounts of the miracles of saints are also considered invaluable. A prolific writer, he spent most of his career in Tours and is considered an outstanding literary figure of the 6th-century Merovingian world. 

 12 
Pope Clement V
3
Birthdate: 1264 AD
Birthplace: Villandraut, France
Died: April 20, 1314

Pope Clement V heralded the Avignon Papacy by choosing Avignon as the papal residence instead of Rome. He also crushed the order of the Knights Templar and was known to favor his relatives. Following his death, his body was completely destroyed in a church fire caused by a lightning strike.

 13 
Pierre Cauchon
(Bishop of Beauvais)
Pierre Cauchon
3
Birthdate: 1371 AD
Birthplace: Reims, France
Died: December 18, 1442
 14 
Louise de Marillac
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1591
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Le Meux, Oise, France
Died: March 15, 1660
Madeleine Sophie Barat
2
Birthdate: December 12, 1779
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Joigny, France
Died: May 25, 1865
 16 
Saint Denis of Paris
(Bishop of Paris)
Saint Denis of Paris
2
Birthplace: Roman Italy, Italy
Died: 0258 AD
 17 
Jean-Louis Tauran
(French Cardinal of the Catholic Church)
Jean-Louis Tauran
3
Birthdate: April 5, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: July 5, 2018

Jean-Louis Tauran was a French cardinal of the Catholic Church who served as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He was also the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. Ordained to the priesthood in 1969, he entered the Vatican's diplomatic service a few years later. He was the Vatican's chief archivist and librarian for several years. 

Marguerite Bourgeoys
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1620
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Troyes, Champagne, Kingdom of France
Died: January 12, 1700
 19 
Pope Callixtus II
2
Birthdate: 1065 AD
Birthplace: Quingey, France
Died: December 13, 1124
 20 
Pope Stephen IX
2
Birthdate: 1020 AD
Birthplace: Duchy of Lorraine, France
Died: March 29, 1058
 21 
Pope Innocent V
2
Birthdate: 1225 AD
Birthplace: Savoy
Died: June 22, 1276
 22 
Antipope Clement VII
2
Birthdate: 1342 AD
Birthplace: Annecy, France
Died: September 16, 1394
 23 
Pope Urban IV
2
Birthdate: 1195
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Troyes, France
Died: October 2, 1264
 24 
Pope Clement IV
2
Birthdate: November 23, 1190
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saint-Gilles
Died: November 29, 1268
 25 
Pope Urban V
2
Birthdate: 1310
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Château de Grizac, France
Died: December 19, 1370
 26 
Pope Benedict XII
2
Birthdate: 1285 AD
Birthplace: Saverdun, France
Died: April 25, 1342
Rose Philippine Duchesne
3
Birthdate: August 29, 1769
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grenoble, France
Died: November 18, 1852
 28 
Julie Billiart
(Religious leader)
Julie Billiart
2
Birthdate: July 12, 1751
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cuvilly, France
Died: April 8, 1816
 29 
Ranulf Flambard
2
Birthdate: 1060 AD
Birthplace: Normandy, France
Died: September 5, 1128
 30 
Henry Of Blois
2
Birthdate: 1096 AD
Birthplace: France
Died: August 8, 1171
 31 
Pope Martin IV
2
Birthdate: 1210 AD
Birthplace: Touraine, France
Died: March 28, 1285
 32 
Pope Innocent VI
2
Birthdate: 1282 AD
Birthplace: Limousin, France
Died: September 12, 1362
 33 
Joseph Justus Scaliger
(French Calvinist Religious Leader and Scholar)
Joseph Justus Scaliger
2
Birthdate: August 5, 1540
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Agen, France
Died: January 21, 1609

Joseph Justus Scaliger was a French Calvinist scholar and religious leader. His works on chronology were regarded as one of the most important contributions of Renaissance scholars. Joseph Justus Scaliger is best remembered for inflating the idea of classical history from ancient Roman and Greek history to include Babylonian, Persian, ancient Egyptian, and Jewish history. 

 34 
François Leclerc du Tremblay
2
Birthdate: November 4, 1577
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 17, 1638
 35 
Henri Grégoire
(French Catholic Priest Who Was a Defender of the Constitutional Church)
Henri Grégoire
2
Birthdate: December 4, 1750
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vého, France
Died: May 28, 1831

Henri Grégoire, or Abbé Grégoire, was not just a Catholic priest but also a revolutionary. He first gained prominence with his Essay on the Regeneration of the Jews. A radical Jacobin, he was the first priest of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and also presided over the National Convention.

 36 
Marcos de Niza
(Missionary)
Marcos de Niza
2
Birthdate: 1495 AD
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: March 25, 1558
 37 
Guntram
(Saint)
Guntram
2
Birthdate: 0532 AD
Birthplace: Soissons
Died: January 28, 0592
 38 
Étienne Guibourg
2
Birthdate: 1610 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: December 31, 1686
Cecilia of Normandy
2
Birthdate: 1056 AD
Birthplace: Normandy, France
Died: July 30, 1126
 40 
Paulinus of Nola
2
Birthdate: 0354 AD
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: June 22, 0431
 41 
John Eudes
(Priest)
John Eudes
2
Birthdate: November 14, 1601
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ri, France
Died: August 19, 1680
 42 
Adhemar of Le Puy
2
Birthdate: 1055 AD
Birthplace: France
Died: August 1, 1098
Étienne-Charles de Loménie de Brienne
2
Birthdate: October 9, 1727
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 19, 1794
 44 
Caesarius of Arles
2
Birthdate: 0470 AD
Birthplace: Chalon-sur-Saône, France
Died: August 27, 0542
 45 
Peter the Venerable
2
Birthdate: 1092 AD
Birthplace: France
Died: December 25, 1156
Louis César, Count of Vexin
1
Birthdate: June 20, 1672
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Château du Génitoy, France
Died: January 10, 1683
 47 
William de Corbeil
2
Birthdate: 1070 AD
Birthplace: Corbeil-Essonnes, France
Died: November 21, 1136
 48 
Gershom ben Judah
2
Birthdate: 0960 AD
Birthplace: Metz, France
Died: 1040 AD
 49 
David Kimhi
2
Birthdate: 1160 AD
Birthplace: Narbonne, France
Died: 1235 AD
Antoine Court de Gébelin
2
Birthdate: 1719 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 10, 1784