Welcome to our site dedicated to the life and work of Alphonse Gratry, one of the greatest Catholic philosophers of the 19th century, and as I have argued myself, a prophet and precursor of the Second Vatican Council.

As director of Stanislas College, Paris, during the 1840s, he recruited young Frédéric Ozanam, as a teacher.

Later as chaplain to the Ecole Normale Supérieure and to the Senate, he influenced a whole generation of French leaders.

As a philosopher (and theologian), his work was so highly regarded that he was elected to the Académie Française.

However, it was perhaps his book, Les Sources, which exercised the most influence of all over succeeding generations, including the philosopher, Léon Ollé-Laprune, Marc Sangnier, founder of the Sillon, Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne (JOC) or Young Christian Workers (YCW) and other early JOC leaders, remaining in print right up to World War II.

Almost in parallel with John Henry Newman in England, Gratry revived the French Oratory. Sadly, he fell out with his colleagues, leading to his eventual exclusion from the very community he had founded.

During the last years of his life, he took a stand for peace at the time of the 1870 war against Germany.

And at the First Vatican Council in 1870, he opposed the declaration of papal infallibility, although he finally agreed with the restricted version eventually adopted by the Council.

All this effort took a huge toll on his health, leading to his death by cancer in 1872.

Stefan Gigacz.