The Servant of God
Jean-Joseph Lataste
1832 – 1869
Apostle of Prisons

Jean-Joseph Lataste

In the Catholic Church, the prestigious title "Apostle of Prisons" is reserved for one man alone, Jean-Joseph Lataste, a French Dominican with a life-span of only 37 years; an outstanding simple monk who only came in contact with the prisons during the last four years of his life.

In those mere four years, however, his profound sympathy for the prisoners, and his wide-ranging vision for the prisons, grew to an extraordinary project of hope reaching universal dimensions.

With his intense life of faith, and his deep compassion for suffering men and women, Lataste succeeded in breaking the barriers of prejudice, and demolishing the walls of reproach, to present a message of human confidence and optimism.

Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl holds Lataste as a model of inspiration and a true master of prison ministry.


September 4, 1832 Born at Cadillac (near Bordeaux)
November 3, 1841 Enters the seminary at Bordeaux
1846 Enters the college at Pons
August 6, 1850 Graduates as Bachelor of Theology
November 11, 1857  Enters the dominican monastery at Flavigny
November 13, 1857 Takes the religious habit, begins the novitiate, and is given the name Marie-Jean-Joseph
May 5, 1859 Made simple profession at Toulouse
May 11, 1859 Goes at the house of study at Chalais
July 5, 1859 Goes at the royal monastery of Saint-Maximin
May 22, 1860 Received tonsure and minor orders
May 10,1860 Made solemn profession
September 20, 1862 Ordained sub-deacon
December 20, 1862 Ordained deacon
February 8, 1863 Ordained priest
February 10, 1863 First solemn mass
June 1863 Ministry at Barèges
July 31, 1863 Assigned to the monastery at Bordeaux
September 14-18, 1864 Preaches the first course of spiritual exercises at the Cadillac female prisons
December 1864 Preaches Advent at Villefranche
April 1865 Preaches Lent at Cannes
November 21, 1865 Does not renew his religious vows
July 4, 1865 Renewal of the dominican province of Toulouse. Lataste opts for the province of France
August 17, 1865 Presents a report on the regulations to the provincial chapter being celebrated at Flavigny
September 14-17, 1865 Preaches the second course of spiritual exercises at the Cadillac female prisons
September 1865 Assigned to the monastery at Flavigny as vice-prior, assistant to the master of novices, and master of professed novices
March 19, 1866 First edition of Les Réhabilitées
August 14, 1866 Establishment of the dominican nuns of Bethany at Frasne-le-Château (Besançon)
October 26, 1866 Assigned to the monastery of Dijon
November 21, 1866 Approval of the Bethany community by the bishop of Besançon
December 1866 Preaches Advent at Saint-Dézert
April 1867 Preaches Lent at Nîmes
July 21, 1868 Becomes seriously ill
February 21, 1869 Is administered the sacrament of extreme unction
March 10, 1869 Dies at Frasne-le-Château
January 1870 The nuns of Bethany move from Frasne to Montferrand-le-Château, and take with them the exhumed body of Lataste
1884 Bethany becomes a formal congregation
November 1, 1888 Formal affiliation of the congregation by the dominican order
1937 The process for Lataste's beatification commences
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