On 20 October the Postulator General Fr Pierluigi Cameroni officially lodged with the Chancellery of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints the “Positio” of the Servant of God Fr Augusto Arribat, a Salesian priest (17 December 1879 – 19 March 1963). The “Positio”, the dossier which demonstrates the heroicity of the life and of the virtues and the reputation for holiness of the Servant of God is a volume of 737 pages.
This brings to a conclusion a long process begun in 1995 by the Postulator General of the time Fr Pasquale Liberatore with the official launching of the cause. The diocesan enquiry was opened at the Curia of Fréjus-Toulon on 18 March 1995 and ended on 2 May 2002. After the consignment of the Acts to the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, Fr Morand Wirth, Vice Postulator from the beginning of the Cause, carried out the demanding work of drawing up the “Positio”, under the guidance of the Reporters of the Cause, Mons. José Luis Gutierrez and Fr Cristoforo Bove, O.F.M. Conv., and the then Postulator General Fr Enrico dal Covolo.
Joseph August Arribat was born on 17 December 1879 at Trédou (Rouergue). The poverty of the family forced the young August to begin middle school studies at the Salesian Oratory in Marseille only when he was 18 years of age. Because of the political situation at the beginning of the century he began his Salesian life in Italy and received the cassock from Blessed Michael Rua. Having returned to France he began like all his confreres his active Salesian life in an almost clandestine manner, first in Marseille and then at La Navarre.
He was ordained priest in 1912. During the first world war he was called up and served as a stretcher bearer. At the end of the war Fr Arribat continued his hard work at La Navarre until 1926 when he went to Nice and stayed there until 1931. In 1931 he began his service as Rector at La Navarre and at the same time was in charge of the parish of Saint Isidor in the valley of Sauvebonne. His parishioners would call him "The Saint of the Valleys."
After three years he was sent to Morges, in the Canton of Vaud, in Switzerland. He then received three successive mandates of six years each, first at Millau, then at Villemur and finally at Thonon in the diocese of Annecy. The most dangerous and grace-filled period was probably his appointment at Villemur during he second world war. Open and smiling, this Son of Don Bosco turned no one away. While his slim build and his asceticism recalled the Curé of Ars, his smile and his sweetness were certainly those of a Salesian. "He was the most spontaneous man in the world" a witness said. Having returned to La Navarre in 1953, Fr Arribat stayed there until his death on 19 March 1963.