A carte-de-visite portrait Monsignor Bauer (1829-1898), also known as Père Bernard, who in 1867 was appointed one of the Empress Eugénie’s confessors.
Paul Bauer was born at Budapest in 1829 where his father was a rabbi. He studied painting and history of art at the University of Vienna, participating in the Austrian revolution of 1848. After the revolution, he studied law at Heidelberg.
He became a Roman Catholic in September 1852, influenced by the preaching of another Jewish Catholic, Augustin-Marie du Saint-Sacrement, (whose actual name was Hermann Cohen). He joined the the Carmelite Order, which he, however, left later.
He distinguished himself as a pulpit orator, first at Vienna,
where he delivered a series of addresses, which were published (1866) under the title “Le Judaïsme Comme Preuve du Christianisme.”
Eventually he attained to the rank of a bishop. In 1867 he became father confessor to the Empress Eugenie. On Nov. 17, 1869, he delivered the dedicatory address at the opening of the Suez canal.
In 1899 Marie-Bernard Bauer renounced his vows and married Elisabeth Marie Lévy. He died in Paris at his home in the rue Marbeuf on 14 May 1903 and was buried in Père Lachaise cemetery.
His prayer at the Suez Canal:
May all the nations, whose princes and ambassadors ennoble this great day, prosper in peace and concord, and may the greatness of each nation become the greatness of all, thus effecting peace throughout all the World.
And to finish this august ceremony in a dignified manner, let us turn our thoughts not just to the image of each country but to the grandeur of the whole of humanity and then above and beyond humanity. Let us lift our souls to the eternal and adorable Divinity who, in His infinite goodness, granted to men the power to build such a prodigious work, a sort of creation within creation, in that it has made the continents of Africa and Asia, which God made one, into two continents. The canal of the two worlds has become the limit of the immensity of these two continents, it has become the immortal and fertile separator of these two worlds.
God, all powerful and eternal, God, creator of the world, Father of every creature, bless this new waterway which You have granted to man to make in the bosom of Your creation. Make this river not only a great path to universal prosperity, but also a royal path to peace and justice, to light and immortal truth. May Your divine spirit move on the face of these waters, may it cross, and cross again, from East to West and from West to East. O God, use this waterway to bring men closer together but most of all, bring them closer to You and be their solace in everything both now and unto eternity.
Photographed by Disdéri of Paris.