Our Lord promised the visionary a faithful servant and perfect friend.
Claude de la Colombiere was born in 1641, in the old province of Dauphine, in France. He was the third child of Bertrand Colombiere and Margaret Coindat. Soon after Claude was born, the family moved to the town of Vienne, and this is where the young boy began his education. It was during this time period that Claude began feeling the call to the Jesuits.
Claude began his secondary studies at the Jesuit school in Lyon. He was now 17 and wrote in his journal that he had “a terrible aversion for the life embraced.” Later on, those who knew him attributed those comments to his being away from home and missing his family, to whom he was very close.Plus, he loved the arts, literature and active social life. But the selfless side of Claude won out, and he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Avignon. Here he finished his studies in rhetoric and philosophy.
In 1666 he went to the College of Clermont in Paris to study theology. He took his first vows and completed his studies in philosophy. He became a professor of grammar and literature and stayed in that position for the next five years. Well known for his tact, poise, and devotion to the humanities, Claude was appointed by his superiors as tutor for the children of France’s Minister of Finance, Jean Baptiste Colbert. Unknown to Claude, God had bigger plans for him.
Claude was now a priest and returned to Lyon. Here he taught in the college and became a full-time preacher and also the moderator of several Marian congregations. After 15 years as a Jesuit, Father Colombiere began his probation in a Jesuit’s final spiritual formation. This was known as the Tertianship, and it would be the final pathway for the priest to his still unknown destiny.