Daniel Brottier was born in 1876 at Ferté Saint Cyr, in Sologne, of modest background.
He entered the de Blois seminary in 1887, after having opted for religion, where he was ordained Priest in 1899. He then chose the Holy Spirit Congregation and left for Saint Louis in Senegal where he later became Vicar General to the Bishop of Dakar, but because of health problems, he had to return to France. In 1907, he was reformed and freed from military service. When war broke out on August 4, 1914, Father Brottier immediately joined the army chaplain corps founded by Albert de Mun, although he had been exempted. Three weeks later, on August 26, 1914, he left Paris for the war front.
He was first posted to Vosges, at the Somme, and then to Belgium, where he nursed the wounded and the dying. In February 1916, Father Brottier was caught in heavy fighting at Verdun, where war had just broken out with very intense shelling. Father Brottier, a joyful, lively, straight forward man of character, was always the most distinguished among the soldiers. He was recognized by General Joffre.
After all the officers were either wounded or killed,
he took command of the company
Following a period of relative calm in Oise, Father Brottier was sent to the Somme where, during a very bloody battle, he demonstrated real military leadership. When all the officers of one company were either wounded or killed, he took command, gave orders to the sub officers and the battle recommenced.
In August 1917, a seriously wounded French officer of the 121st Infantry Regiment fell between battle-lines, under fire from German machine-guns. Father Brottier, brandishing a flag of the Red Cross and accompanied by two stretcher-bearers, moved to the scene and carried the wounded soldier back to French lines. The German machine-gunners, in appreciation of such courage, stopped the shooting.
He spared no energy at the battle front to save wounded soldiers under fire.
In May and June 1918, the 121st Infantry Regiment was at Chemin des Dames. There was intense fighting and besieged French soldiers came under continuous attacks with shells, gas and machine-guns. The regiment lost 445 men, 63 of whom were killed. Father Brottier spared no efforts at battle front to dress and rescue the wounded. After this episode, Father Brottier went back to Verdun where he stayed till October. The 11 November armistice met him at the banks of the Moselle River.
After the war, Daniel Brottier who retired as a voluntary military chaplain devoted himself to the UNC which he founded with the support of Georges Clemenceau, "The Tiger". There, he perpetuated the spirit: "United like in battle front". From 1923, he embarked on two of his other books: Le Souvenir Africain and Les Orphelins apprentis d'Auteuil.
Father Brottier who was Sainte Thérèse’s protégé died on February 28, 1936 at the Saint-Joseph hospital after achieving the goal he set for himself. He was buried in the Sainte Thérèse chapel at Auteuil. Officer of the Legion of Honor, who miraculously cheated death on several occasions and came out of the war unhurt, he was holder of 6 commendations. His Military Cross was adorned with 3 bars and three stars. On November 25, 1984, he was beatified by Pope John-Paul II.
His last commendation bore the following inscription :
Legendary Chaplain of the 1 21st IR for his calm and thoughtful bravery, his contempt for danger, his extraordinary spirit of devotion and abnegation.