Bio Article : Badaut, Paul (1880–1948)
by Eudritch Jean and Jean-Michel Martin
Paul Badaut pioneered the missionary work in Mauritius and later served as president of the South France Conference.
Paul was born on July 19, 1880, in Branges (Saône-et-Loire), France, to Jean-Pierre Badaut (1850–1933) and Marie-Claude née Petitjean (1859–1929). He grew up in a French Seventh-day Adventist family. His father was one of the earliest Seventh-day Adventist colporteurs and evangelists in France.[i] He had a younger brother, Samuel Badaut (1891–1927), who worked as a minister and a departmental leader in the Latin Union Conference.[ii] From an early age, Paul Badaut took an active part in the work of the church and was baptized in 1897 at the age of 17.[iii]
Education and Marriage
Three years after his baptism, Badaut went to the Institut Sanitaire (later Lake Geneva Sanitarium) in Basel, Switzerland, where he attended a nursing course for two years. In 1902, he joined a Bible course in Geneva.[iv] A year later, on October 16, 1903, he married Marthe Rosa Fontane (1880–1950). They had a daughter, Marthe Alice Badaut (1905–1982).[v]
Ministry as Evangelist and Missionary
After attending the Bible course in Geneva, Badaut worked as an evangelist in Charleroi, Belgium. He stayed there for two years and then moved with his wife to Mazamet, in Southern France.[vi] After some time in Mazamet, Badaut was sent to Switzerland, where he continued to work as an evangelist in several places, including Yverdon, Neuchatel, and Sainte-Croix.[vii] Afterwards, he returned to France and worked first in Paris, then in Lyon. In the meantime, he was ordained to the ministry in 1906.[viii]
In 1909, Badaut left Europe and went to French North Africa, where he became one of the first Seventh-day Adventist pioneers in this area. Three years later, he succeeded Ulysse Augsbourger as leader of the French North African missionary work and was elected in the Algerian Mission Committee.[ix] In 1914, a call for a minister came from Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean.[x] Badaut accepted to go to that island. In April 1914, accompanied by his wife and daughter, he sailed for Mauritius, and by the end of that year, there was a church there of twenty-eight members.[xi] Badaut and his family ministered in Mauritius for six years. The failing health of his wife forced him to return to his homeland in 1920.[xii]
Back to Europe
After his return to France, Badaut worked as a minister in the French Conference from 1921 to 1923, then in the South France Conference from 1924 to 1945. He was the president of the South France Conference in 1924 after its organization,[xiii] and later occupied the same position from 1933 to 1937. Afterwards, he served an additional year (1938) as the departmental secretary for Home Missionary and Religious Liberty,[xiv] and returned as an executive committee member of the conference from 1940 to 1945. He also served as executive committee member in the Latin Union Conference (1921 & 1924) and the Franco-Belgian Union Conference (1933–1937).
Badaut spent the last years of his working life in Bordeaux, France. He retired in 1945 and moved to Anduze (Gard), France.[xv] However, Badaut continued to be active in missionary activities. He oversaw the groups located in the area of Gard. He regularly visited them and baptized around thirty people in his last three years. He died on September 13, 1948, from the effects of a cold he caught while visiting some relatives in Switzerland after attending a conference session at Collonges, France.[xvi] He was then 68 years old. His wife Rosa died two years later. She passed away at the end of September 1950 after being hospitalized for several weeks at La Lignière (Lake Geneva Sanitarium), then at the Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland.[xvii]
Paul Badaut left behind memories of a devoted minister and untiring missionary worker. He did evangelistic work in France, Switzerland, North Africa, and was the pioneer missionary in Mauritius. His impact on the Mauritius mission was so deep that, for many years, Seventh-day Adventists were commonly called “Badauts” or “Badoss” on the island.[xviii] In addition to his devotion for missionary activities, Badaut was also involved in administrative duties of the Adventist church. For many years, he served in leadership positions in the South France Conference.
[i] “Badaut, Paul,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Vol. 10 (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1996, second revised edition), 151.
[ii] Paul Badaut had four siblings. Before the birth of the youngest Samuel, the three others died of diphtheria. For more details on Samuel Badaut, see “Badaut, Samuel,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 151-152.
[iii] “Badaut, Paul,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 151.
[iv] L.-A. Mathy, “Derniers Pas,” Revue Adventiste, November 1948, 15.
[v] Marthe Alice Badaut was born on April 3, 1905. She married Enrico Bertalot, and they had two children. See “Marthe Alice Bertalot (born Badaut),” accessed November 20, 2018, https://www.myheritage.com/names/marthe_ bertalot; “Alice Bertalot,” accessed November 20, 2018, https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-10002-84288268/alice-bertalot-in-us-social-security-death-index-ssdi.
[vi] Mathy, 15.
[vii] Ibid. See also “Badaut, Paul,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 151.
[viii] “Badaut, Paul,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 151.
[ix] See Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, Vol. 4 (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1962), 93; General Conference Committee, European Division, August 14, 1912, 245, General Conference Archives, accessed November 26, 2018, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC19 12.pdf.
[x] M. Ellsworth Olsen, A History of the Origin and Progress of the Seventh-day Adventists (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1926, second edition), 616.
[xi] W. R. Beach, “France – A Future Home Base,” Missions Quarterly (Second Quarter, 1946), 2. See also Olsen, 616.
[xii] “Badaut, Paul,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 151. See also Mathy, 15.
[xiii] “South French Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1924), 100.
[xiv] In those times, the Conference president mainly served as departmental secretary of Home Missionary and Religious Liberty.
[xv] Mathy, 15.
[xvi] See “Badaut, Paul,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 151; J.-C. Guenin, “Derniers Pas,” Revue Adventiste, November 1948, 15; “It Is Our Duty…,” Quarterly Review, December 1948, 12. Quarterly Review was an organ of the Southern Division of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
[xvii] A. Guyot, “Derniers Pas,” Revue Adventiste, April 1951, 15.
[xviii] See R. Jayram, “Our Schools on Seychelles,” Canadian Union Messenger, September 6, 1944, 1; A. Meyer, “Our Missions in the Indian Ocean,” Quarterly Review, September 1948, 2.