Jarlin left his native France for China in 1888 and was ordained priest in Peking (Beijing) the following year. In 1899 he became bishop coadjutor of the vicariate apostolic of Peking and gained fame almost immediately for his role in organizing the defense of the foreign legations besieged by the Boxers. At the death of Pierre-Marie Favier in 1905, Jarlin took over the direction of the vicariate. From then on until the arrival, in November 1922, of Archbishop Celso Costantini, first papal delegate apostolic to China, Jarlin was the de facto intermediary between the Holy See and the Chinese government.
For many years, he distrusted the methods and pro-Chinese attitude of one of his fellow Vincentians, Vincent Lebbe. He also remained a decided partisan of continuing the French protectorate over Catholic missions. In 1926, however; following the ordination of six Chinese bishops by Pope Pius XI, he began to favor change. Jarlin was an outstanding administrator. At the beginning of his 33 years as a missionary bishop, Peking was just a large vicariate with 40,000 Chinese Catholics; by the time of his death, the territory had been split into five vicariates and contained more than 400,000 Catholics.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
- Annales de la congregation de la Mission et de la Compagnie des Filles de la charite 98 (1933): 544-558, and 124 (1959): 121-122; J. Van den Brandt, Les Lazaristes en Chine, 1697-1935 (1936); Paul Goffard and Albert Sohier, eds,, Lettres du Pere Lebbe (1960).