Shapers 1933 – 1948

9. Fr. GUILLERM Francois ( 1933 – 1948 )

Fr.Guillerm was born on June 5, 1894 at Saint Meen. He was ordained priest on July 25,1921.

He joined the staff of Petit Seminaire as a professor in 1927 and was made superior on January 1934 and continued in the same post for the coming 15 years.

In July 1934 silence descended upon the corridors of our primary section building (former primary now VI and VII std classes) when the major seminary moved to Malleswaram, Bangalore after an existence of 157 years in the soil of Pondicherry during which it had produced 184 Indian priests not an ordinary achievement to speak of.

In many respects, Petit Seminaire owes its present appearance to the genius of Fr.Guillerm. The class rooms had been large and narrow, depending upon their use. It was Fr.Guillerm who converted them into uniformly larger rooms.

To suit the improved size, the smaller wooden windows were replaced by large French windows with glass panels. The elegance of the class rooms was enriched by the addition of teak furniture.

The infant classes that lay on both sides of the entrance and above the entrance, were small and often disturbed by the noise of the road. They also offered a wonderful opportunity for the little ones to sneak out of the class rooms unnoticed by the teachers.

Fr.Guillerm put an end to the truancy of the former when he shifted their class rooms to a new building he built away from the noise of the road in 1938.

The old building near the entrance was pulled down. Wooden door was replaced by the steel grill gate that now adorns the entrance giving the whole complex an impressive look. He also built two tower like niches above the entrance where the statues of St.Joseph and Blessed Virgin Mary are kept.

The World War II affected the fortunes of Petit Seminaire to some extent. The arrival of French Missionaries from France grew less and less and it gave way to lay teachers. Fr.Guillerm improved their salary and introduced pension scheme for them. This hero of First World War did not hesitate to sell his war medals to pay his teachers.

Fr.Guillerm was a stern disciplinarian, a terror to the boys and he was fondly called by the appellation ‘Tiger’. He introduced supervised study after school hours. He also introduced the teaching of Tamil in the higher classes.

The last two of St.Gabriel brothers Br.Faucheux and Br.Eugene left Petit Seminaire due to old age. Foreign Mission sisters were invited from France to substitute St.Gabriel brothers. But soon French was losing ground to English and in July 1948 French sections were withdrawn

Having inaugurated the process of dissolution of French sections Fr.Guillerm left for St.Peter’s Seminary, Bangalore. He died at Yercaud at the age of 89 on November 17, 1983.