Good-natured and upright, he enjoyed life
as a bird enjoys the freedom of the air
The theatre, Bordeaux
Pampered by his family, Pierre Bienvenu had a relatively carefree adolescence. He was out most nights at the dance hall, the theatre, or with his friends. Gifted with a bent for litterature, he could use his pen for poetry, tragedy or biting satire. His skill as a swordsman earned him the respect of his peers. Many choices were open to him but he took time to decide on a career.
Religion, for Pierre Bienvenu at that time, was little more than a “rather vague type of sentimentalism of which he knew nothing in practice”. In 1810, having come into contact with a priest, Fr. Martegoutte, and some other young people, he helped to found a study circle called the Society of Christian Friends. It was open to everyone, notably to university students, aiming to impregnate these sectors with a christian spirit. In this way he discovered another type of priest, those who had risked their lives during the Revolution and given a powerful witness of faith, men like the Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Marianists.
It was with of one of these, Fr. Dinety, that Pierre Bienvenu prepared for his first communion. They met for one hour each day for eighteen months and it proved to be a most decisive period in his life. At the same time when he was seventeen Mr. Peyronnet, one of the most celebrated lawyers of Bordeaux and a future minister of Charles X, having become aware of his literary talents, took him into his office as his secretary. Mr. Peyronnet always treated him with great kindness especially on the occasion of the sudden death of his father.