The French Connection

2017 Beaucens, France, Photographs

2017 - The Nonco's Story Now on DVD!

CLICK HERE to purchase a copy of The Nonco Story on DVD.

CLICK HERE for Nonco's Story written by his great niece, Mary Agnes Hardy de la Houssaye Belleau.  Her research began in preparation for a program with Father James Kubicki, National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer,  and which was broadcast on Radio Maria on March 22, 2014. A link to the French translation can be found below. A link to the Radio Maria program can also be found below.


CLICK HERE   to listen to the Radio Maria broadcast.
A special "Thank You!" to Marie-Paule Nogue for sending the images and for identifying the participants. 
A special "Thank You!" to Marie-Paule Nogue. 

On Friday, June 23, 2017, Marie-Paule Nogue sent the following information regarding St. Vincent Catholic Church in Beaucens, France.
                                                                                              Auguste “Nonco” Pelafigue (1888-1977) was baptized in what was referred to above as “the old church” as this one was completed in 1889 and Nonco and his family came to the USA in 1889.
The Church today in a few words:  A single nave, 2 side chapels, semicircular apse, an area of 244 m², a side on the North Chapel square bell tower, a novel false porch flanked by columns, a sacristy in the chapel on the left, symmetrical to the altar of the Virgin, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Bedouret representative stained glass, St. Elizabeth, St. John the Evangelist, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, St. Sebastian, St. Thérèse and the center of the main altar, under glass, a Madonna and Child in polychrome wood, Our Lady of Bedouret

First, a little history:  The village of Beaucens still possessed at the end of the nineteenth century a Romanesque church on the top of the village.

1872:  Beaucens Council was invited by the sub-prefect of Argelès ' to arrange to make repairs required by the poor state of the Church." The restoration of the old church is becoming urgent.
1879: City Council acquires of land to build a new Church.
1881: Monseigneur Jourdan, then Bishop of Tarbes, authorizes by written agreement this construction. 
1888: For several years, the exercises of worship are held in a barn in the village. By deliberation of the municipal Council, the authorization is given to demolish the Church and build a new one with the same materials. The construction began in 1889 and ends with the Bell Tower in 1900.   
 Merci Marie-Paule Nogue
L’église d’aujourd’hui en quelques mots : une nef unique,  2 chapelles accolées, un chevet en hémicycle, une superficie de 244 m² , un clocher carré  latéral  sur la chapelle nord, un porche faux roman encadré de colonnes, une sacristie dans la chapelle de gauche, symétrique à l’autel de la Vierge, des vitraux représentant Notre Dame de Lourdes, Notre Dame de Bédouret, Ste Elizabeth, St Jean l’Evangéliste, St Joseph, St Jean-Baptiste, St Sébastien, Ste Thérèse et au centre de l’autel principal, sous verre, une vierge à l’enfant de bois polychrome, Notre Dame de Bedouret.
Un peu d’histoire : Le village de Beaucens possédait encore à la fin du XIXème siècle une église romane sur le haut du village.
1872 : Le conseil municipal de Beaucens est invité par le sous-préfet d’Argelès « à prendre les dispositions pour faire les réparations que le mauvais état de l’église nécessite ». La restauration de l’ancienne église devient urgente.
1879 : Le conseil municipal se porte acquéreur d’un terrain pour y construire une nouvelle église.
1881 : Monseigneur Jourdan, alors évêque de Tarbes, autorise par un accord écrit cette construction.
1888 : Depuis plusieurs années, les exercices du culte ont lieu dans une grange du village. Par délibération du conseil municipal, l’autorisation est donnée de démolir l’église et d’en construire une nouvelle avec ses mêmes matériaux. La construction débute en 1889 et se terminera par le clocher en 1900.

2016 - French Connection

A special "Thank You!" to Helen Hebert Badeaux
The following information was submitted by Helen Hebert Badeaux in an email to Foundation Board member and great niece of Nonco, Mary Belleau.  Helen is the daughter of Claude Hebert and Eula Taylor Hebert from Arnaudville.  Helen's brothers were Charles, Dewey and Paul.  Thank you, Helen, for helping us connect with the Nonco relatives in Beaucens, France.

Helen states in her email of April 9, 2016:

"I have called Annie Vigneau (relative of Nonco in Beaucens, France). She is related to the Pelafigue family. Nonco was a second or third cousin removed. She showed me the rubbles of the house where Jean Marie (father of Nonco)  lived when he was young. I can't remember if the area had a name. I do know it is near Saint Pastous, France. He did live in his wife's home (Dominique Pere's house in Beaucens, France) until they set sail for Arnaudville Louisiana. He could not farm the land in Beaucens or make a living to feed his family. There were few jobs in the area that would support them. A cousin, Joseph Pelafigue, had moved to South Louisiana and had written about all the farming land here and what Louisiana looked like.

Jean Marie Pelafigue and his wife Melanie Pere had five children at the time they left France for America: Emilie, Donatien, Marcelline (Marie), Adelaide and Auguste (Nonco). Nonco was the youngest of five children. My grandmother, Marcelline Marie, told me about the voyage they took. The older children watched Nonco to make sure he could walk around and remain safe.
(Note: Jean Marie Pelafigue and his wife Melanie Pere had a total of six children.  Emelie "Tante" was born in America on February 8, 1891.)

Nonco's mother, Melanie Pere Pelafigue died in 1919 or 1920 and is buried the Arnaudville Church Cemetery. After her death, her husband, Jean Marie, decided to return to France. He died in 1921 and is buried in the church cemetery in Saint Pastous. His remains are in the grave of Annie Vigneau's grand parents.

Nonco lived in Arnaudville for the rest of his life. He was a teacher in the surrounding area. He was always a man of little needs. He lived in an old wooden house with only a bed, a potato crate for his night stand that had his Bible and a lamp on it, two wooden chairs and a small table, a small stove that he used to make his morning cup of coffee. He ate very little; but what he had extra was given to the cats around his house. He had chickens, dogs and a few cats to keep the rats and mice away. He would give the kittens away when they had a litter. I was able to get a few from him.

Every morning he started his day in prayer. He ate breakfast and helped the priest every morning. His life was for God to do what He wanted with him. He would walk everywhere that he had to go. People that knew him and family members would stop to pick him up but he would refuse the invitation. When he was offered something to eat or drink he would normally refuse it. He always had a mission. He was praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He had more time to pray in between houses. He walked miles in and around Arnaudville. He also made sure the children had roles to play on special occasions for the church. He made sure parents and children always stayed close to Jesus by doing this.

Nonco did write to the family he left behind in France. He told them about births and deaths of family members and how life was in South Louisiana.  I was told the person that had received letters from him died and they don't know what happened to the letters.

Nonco is my real great uncle. My grandmother Marcelline Marie Pere Pelafigue Hebert, wife of Felix Hebert, was his sister. I am the daughter of Claude Hebert son of Marcelline Marie. My name is Helen Hebert Badeaux, the wife of Charles A Badeaux.

 I have traveled often to the place where Nonco was born. Regis and his wife Christiane and their son Philippe Lie (owner of the house where Nonco was  born) have gone out of their way to help me. Annie Vigneau and her brothers have taken me to Lourdes so I could pray to Our Lady of Lourdes for my family and friends that are ill. They will help with whatever they can.

My grandmother always said how beautiful it was in France. She was very honest about the view. The people in the Beaucens, Saint Pastous and the Pierrfitte area are very nice and have been very helpful with the information I have given you.

My information is from Father Hebert's Books, (Birth and Death Records), the Archives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and US Census Records. Unfortunately, I just wrote down the information I found. I should have made copies."

Here are the photos taken at the Church of Beaucens at the ceremony for
Auguste Pelafigue on January 10, 2016. The ceremony was organized by Valerian Esnacut. The photographs were submitted my Marie Paule Nogue from France. A special "Thank You!" to her.

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