Ma chère, I serve a man who multiplied the loaves and fishes, who healed the sick and raised the dead. Shall I be astonished that the master of eternity has brought a young woman through the stones of the earth to do His will?
— Father Anselm, Outlander

Father Anselm (born François Anselm Mericoeur d'Armagnac) is a Franciscan monk. He is visiting the Abbey of Ste. Anne de Beaupré to study and translate works by Herodotus, when he meets Claire Fraser, and counsels her on the matter of time travel.

Personal HistoryEdit

Little is known about Father Anselm's history. His family name suggests that he is originally from the southwest of France.

Events of the NovelsEdit


In 1743, Father Anselm introduces Claire to the ritual of Perpetual Adoration, explains to her the conditions necessary for the commission of sin, and hears Claire's confession after she exorcises Jamie Fraser. She tells him about Jamie, Frank Randall and the young soldier she killed when they fled Wentworth Prison. She also tells him she is a time traveler, to which he replies, "But how marvelous! How extraordinary and how wonderful!"

Claire asks him for advice as to whether she is guilty of murder and adultery. Father Anselm advises Claire that she has not committed adultery because both marriages were valid and her marriage to Jamie antedates her marriage to Frank, nor has she committed murder as the Bible recognizes the need for defense of oneself and one's family. Claire also asks Anselm whether she should try to change the future. Anselm tells her that everyone's actions affect the future and it is not immoral for her to use her knowledge of the future, so long as she does it to the dictates of God's law to the best of her ability.


Father Anselm is scholarly and open-minded, as he demonstrates when he accepts at face value Claire's fantastic story of traveling through time. He is kind, offering good counsel as a confessor.

Physical AppearanceEdit

In his early thirties with hazel eyes and silky brown hair threaded with grey.[1] He has the square sturdy hands and feet of a Norman peasant.[2]


  • François is the French form of Franciscus (FRANCIS), English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus which meant "Frenchman".[3][4]
  • Anselm is derived from the Germanic elements ans "god" and helm "helmet, protection".[5]
  • Mericoeur is a surname of unknown meaning or origin, perhaps a made up surname.
  • d'Armagnac is a surname of unknown meaning. However, it was first used in Gascony, an area of southwest France bordering Spain, that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" where the family held a family seat from very early times.[6]


  • Anselm is the name of a Catholic Saint.[7]

TV SeriesEdit

Main article: Outlander (TV series)

Scottish actor Ian Hanmore portrays Father Anselm in the Outlander television adaptation. His nationality was changed from French to Scottish, in keeping with the Abbey's location change from France to Scotland.

The character of the television adaptation does not resemble the book character physically; in the novel, the priest is relatively young with brown hair, while the actor of the series has gray hair and is much older.


  1. Outlander, chapter 38
  2. Outlander, chapter 40
  3. Behind the Name: François - accessed 12 May 2016
  4. Behind the Name: Francis - accessed 12 May 2016
  5. Behind The Name: Anselm - accessed 12 May 2016
  6. House of Names: d'Armagnac - accessed 19 June 2016
  7. Anselm of Canterbury via Wikipedia - accessed 12 May 2016

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