“Another hope is not less dear to me: that is, that , as founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, you would want to do in the capital of Normandy what God had you do in Paris and procure for the use of that great town the benefit whose author you were among us.”
– Frederic Ozanam in a letter to LeTaillandier August 19, 1838
Auguste Le Taillandier was born in Rouen, Normandy, on January 28, 1811. He had only a younger brother, Charles. His father belonged to a family of merchants, who had been living in that region since the 17th century. His mother was of a noble family background. He attended the College de Juilly from 1828 to 1831.
He and his family moved to Paris and there he pursued his legal studies. There he met Ozanam and the two became friends. He and Frederic lived together in an apartment not far from the Church of St.-Etienne-du-Mont after Frederic moved out of the home of the great scientist Ampere. Frederic described him as “a very amiable young man who is well informed and has sound common sense. … The only fault I have to find with him is that he is not from Lyon.”
Le Taillandier joined the Conference of History – a precursor to the Conference of Charity that gave rise to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He did not seem to have been much interested in the lively discussions that so captivated his friends. In 1833 he told Ozanam that he thought rhetorical arguments were leading nowhere and that it would be better to join together in some charitable work, instead of discussions about history, literature and philosophy. Le Taillandier was actively involved in the first Charity Conference, in addition to other charitable actions, such as giving religious instruction to apprentices and making visits to prisoners and former prisoners. Le Taillandier adamantly opposed the division of the Society into separate conferences and was remembered as having wept during the debate about doing so in December 1835.
Having left Paris in 1837 to go first to Le Mans and then his home city of Rouen, Auguste was the first of the young founders to marry. He wed Marie Baudry on August 7, 1838. They bore four children, three daughters and one son.
In Rouen Le Taillandier became regional director of one of France’s oldest and most distinguished insurance companies. He founded a conference in Rouen in 1841 and became its president. He was very popular among his conference brethren. As a mark of gratitude to their president, the members, assembled in Rouen’s St. Godard Church, presented him with the gift of a stained-glass window that featured their president’s portrait. Le Taillandier’s name was found for many years on the board of directors roster for the local hospital. He was highly regarded by his fellow citizens and was awarded many honorary titles. He devoted his final days to his family, his friends, his Conference and his garden. Auguste died in Rouen on March 23, 1886.