Pierre Leroy was a biologist and priest of the Society of Jesus. He was born in La Madeleine in northern France, on August 24, 1900, the son of Paul Leroy, a textile merchant, and of Elisabeth Wacrenier de Billaux. He was educated at the College of Jesuites de Lille and at the Faculte des Sciences de Nancy. Fr. Leroy held a doctorate in sciences. He was assistant director (1930-31) and then director (1938) of the Museum of Natural History in Tienstin, China. From 1940 to 1946 he was director of the Geobiological Institute in Peking which he helped found with Teilhard de Chardin. Upon his return to France in 1946, Fr. Leroy was admitted as a member of the CNRS in which capacity he also served as researcher for the College de France until 1970. From 1950 to 1951 Fr. Leroy researched the physiological effects of cortisone at the University of Chicago. Back in France, Fr. Leroy served as director of the laboratory at Gif-sur-Yvette until he retired in 1971 to the Lycee Prive Sainte Genevieve at Versailles. Aside from lecturing on Teilhard in Europe and the U.S., he also wrote extensively on Teilhard de Chardin and edited for publication the correspondence he received over the years from the latter. He was decorated by the French government as chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and in both 1954 and 1958 he was French delegate to UNESCO. In 1960 until 1962 he was a member of the Academy of Sciences in New York. Fr. Pierre Leroy, S.J., died on May 23,1993.
In the summer of 1983, Janetta Warre brought to London and Edinburgh the Teilhard de Chardin Centenary Exhibition which had appeared in Paris in 1981. The bulk of the collection is letters she received from Fr. Leroy concerning Teilhard and the exhibit plans. Also included is a manuscript essay by Leroy about his friendship with Teilhard and an essay by Mrs. Warre on the exhibition.
Janetta Warre writes of her study of the work of Teilhard de Chardin: "My interest in Teilhard de Chardin began around 1965. His books, by then, had been translated and were on display in London. "The first one I read was written by Fr. Henri de Lubac, a fellow Jesuit and notable theologian, entitled "The Faith of Teilhard de Chardin" and published by Burns & Oates, Ltd. in 1965. It was followed by a biography by Robert Speaight. These two books gave me a fascination with the man on a totally human level. Someone one could relate to, sympathize with and even be amused by. "I pounced on his writings and read as many as were available with a speed which must have exceeded comprehension. However, they did inspire me to take a further step, and I set out to find Mlle. Jeanne Mortier, Teilhard's secretary and legatee. I found a very small lady in a very small office in the 5ieme arrondisment of Paris, having just completed her long struggle to obtain permission from the Vatican to publish some of the numerous manuscripts left in her permission by Teilhard before his death in 1955. "She advised me to read the books all over again, in French, and invited me to attend a seminar which was to take place in Chantilly later in the year. I went, with some hesitation, not to say trepidation, to find myself among the highest level of academics from France, Germany, and Italy. Scientists and theologians were approaching the subject, and each other, with hesitance and humility, each of their disciplines prepared to meet the other to find the common ground. "It was as if they were groping to find a meeting place in the mind of Teilhard. As if they knew, by intuition, that an answer was there, and one which their intellects could accept. An exciting experience, but one which was to fall from the heights as time went on, and the name Teilhard went through a period of trendy "intellectualism" which mangled interpretation of his work to suit current culture and politics. "However, it remained that no religious writings of this century have had quite the impact of Teilhard de Chardin's posthumous works on such a diversity of people, creeds, and cultures, or opened up such wide areas of speculation in both science and theology. "After his death, his dear friend and colleage, Fr. Pierre Leroy, S.J. carried on, as the light from the source of Teilhard's inspiration, and acted as guide throughout the network of conflicting opinions, and current misinterpretation until his death on May 23, 1992. "As my correspondence from him, over a period of ten to twelve years, shows, his friendship, once given, was unfailing. Teilhard's vision lived on in him, as a beacon for the future, and his wish was that it should be passed on, to lead succeeding generations into greater understanding."