Ainsi soient-ils (2012), a TV series, was shown on TV5MONDE. It started on Tuesday, the14th of January, 2014, with the first two episodes; and two episodes were shown every Tuesday night, for the last four weeks; culminating last night, with it’s last two episodes. Thus, a series of eight episodes altogether.
Ainsi soient-ils (2012)
Ainsi soient-ils (2012), the English subtitled translation for which read And so they came to pass, but the more literal translation, which too somewhat makes sense, would be Thus they may.
Ainsi soient-ils (2012) Cast
Ainsi soient-ils, deals with five young men, in their 20’s and 30’s, who join the Capuchin Church Seminary, in Paris, France, with a deep devotion and intense faith in the Catholic Church, to someday attain Priesthood. All five young Seminarians, have had some sort of unpleasant experience (or a misguided conception) in their past, that made them take up this divine route. But towards the end, we see them questioning themselves, with strong doubts, whether this was the correct path they’ve chosen or was it just escapism on their part.
Ainsi soient-ils (2012) pic 3Raphaël Chanseaulme (Clément Roussier), a son of an Entrepreneur, who joins the seminary to get away from his family and fathers business. But later, once his brother commits suicide, finds himself being dragged back into the family business (as he’s now the soul heir) and starts a liaison with a married woman, Claire Boddet (Jeanne Bournaud), with whom once he was in love with.
Ainsi soient-ils (2012) pic 5Yann Le Megueur (Julien Bouanich), a 22 year old virgin, and an innocent guitarist, who joins ‘cause of a brainwashed view of giving oneself to god, where he thinks he felt the divine presence as a young Boy Scout. Yet, after a concert with Camille (Lou Sirchis), he unknowingly drinks a spiked drink, having been drugged, next morning he wakes up in his underwear next to Camille; which in turn makes him question his love for Jesus, and his love for a Girl Scout he had as a teenager. Once he finds out the Girl Scout is engaged to be married, he finds himself give way to Jealousy, a bottle of alcohol and an argument with his religious parents.

Emmanuel Charrier (David Baiot), an archaeologist, joins after having suffered a deep depression due to his encounter with a male prostitute in a Brothel in the Mediterranean, during an archaeological dig there; finds himself becoming violent, with his suppressed homosexuality, towards a comparatively openly gay seminarian, with whom he starts a secret affair within the walls of the Capuchin.
Ainsi soient-ils (2012) pic 2Guillaume Morvan (Clément Manuel), the comparatively openly gay seminarian, mentioned above, comes from a dysfunctional family, where his irresponsible mother (Christiane Millet) runs off to India, and his teenage sister (Gaby Fragnaud) gets pregnant and wants an abortion, against Guillaume’s better judgement. And Guillaume; who previously has had an affair with a rebel student, Jocelyn (Xavier Boiffier); now starts a secret love affair with Emmanuel. Both men seem divided, and confused, in terms of their love for god and love for one another. They discuss whether, this is not for them and whether they should leave the seminary.

José Del Sarte (Samuel Jouy), a man who found ‘God’ when he was in prison (he was imprisoned for killing a Russian thug), finds himself at loggerheads with the law, again and again, when trying to help a group of homeless people (some of whom are illegal Immigrants) along with the other four seminarians and Jocelyn (who began this cause to help these people in need).
Ainsi soient-ils (2012) pic 1
Besides the five young Seminarians, there are two lead priests, who also happen to be their teachers, and quite a lot of other supporting characters.

Père Dominique Bosco (Thierry Gimenez), who has great trust in the head priest of the seminary, Père Fromenger; finds himself losing faith, when he (Père Bosco), discovers Père Fromenger has been secretly taking money from a Real Estate, who’ve been charging their customers more, and the excess cash has been handed over to him. Added to which Père Bosco, who’s been ill for a while, finds out he has a tumour. He’s seen aimlessly walking around Paris.

Père Étienne Fromenger (Jean-Luc Bideau), is the director of the seminary of the Capuchins. Who, besides having a few skeletons in a closet, is a good hearted, incredible, 21st Century priest, with very modern open minded views, who helps people, agrees to do a mass for Raphaël’s brother (who committed suicide, which is seen as a sin in the eyes of the church), who refuses to call the police, when a seminarian (not among the five) trashes a statue, and later when all the homeless people take refuge in the Capuchin Church, causing a political chaos. When the French Bishop, Monseigneur Joseph Roman (Michel Duchaussoy), president of the Bishops’ Conference of France, goes against Étienne, and complains to the Vatican, in Rome, and there is an investigation from Rome, and only two people have no doubts about Étienne, Sœur Antonietta (Céline Cuignetand) and Père Bosco, and they stand by him (that is until he learns of Étienne’s money laundering scam). Étienne, is also invited to Rome, to be a mediator to discuss a matter of a Chinese Bishop, whom the Vatican refuses to accept to be ordained as a Bishop. But Étienne manages convince them, with the Chinese concept known as ‘The Boxing of a Drunken Man’, where you study the other party’s moves and strike at the right moment, and reminds them of Diplomacy; ultimately the pope agrees to meet with a Chinese diplomat, who’s been in friendly terms with Étienne. Étienne even manages to save his church before Easter, with it’s leaky roof getting fixed.
When Étienne returns from Rome, he is forced to hand in a ‘dignified resignation’ by Monseigneur Roman (who’s had a grudge with Étienne for ages), due to the chaos involving the homeless people taking refuge at the Capuchin, headed by José, besides the fact it took place during Étienne’s absence. And Père Dominique Bosco, is appointed the new director of the seminary.

In the end, out of the five seminarians, only three remain, to continue their journey towards priesthood. One leaves, to start new life, and another gets shot , execution style, while trying to gain forgiveness for his past sin, but luckily is found by two trekkers and his life is saved.
Ainsi soient-ils (2012) Pic 4
It’s a beautiful, sad, tragic, television series, worth checking out. One sees the hardships these young seminaries have to go through. For once, we are shown how sensitive men can be. One ends up feeling sorry for all of them. Nobody is perfect, and these men, including the priests, have their flaws. But, each one has his own share of sufferings. We see them happy, we see them sad, we them crying. It’s a very touching story.
I loved this show. 10/10 for Excellence!!!!

Apparently this was only Season One. A second Season was supposedly made in 2013, and third is said to be in the works. I would love to see the next two seasons as well. But at the same time, the way it ended, I felt the eight episodes, in one season, was an excellent little gem, that doesn’t need any more seasons.
Lets just hope the next two seasons, not yet released, are just as great this one.

Nuwan Sen’s Television Sense