Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Blessed Joseph-Marie Cassant

Bl Joseph-Marie CassantA rather unknown Cistercian monk and Blessed of the Church is Joseph-Marie Cassant (March 6, 1878 – June 17, 1903). He eventually found his vocation with the Cistercian monks of St. Mary of the Desert (France) on December 5, 1894. Solemn vows were professed on May 24, 1900, the feast of the Ascension. Brother Joseph-Marie’s personal charism, developed with the help of his novice master, seems to be based on the contemplation of Jesus in His passion and in the cross which leads to his teaching the love of Christ: this is the way of Jesus’ heart.

In preparing for the priesthood, Brother Joseph-Marie  understood his ministry as totally eucharistic. The young brother was ordained priest on October 12, 1902. Almost immediately he was diagnosed with TB of which his sufferings were kept silent. His abbot, feeling the gravity of the situation, sent Joseph-Marie to be with his family for seven weeks despite his growing weakness. The monastery’s infirmarian was incompetent and likely advanced the effects of TB.

Saint John Paul beatified Father Joseph-Marie on October 3, 2004.

Why is Blessed Joseph-Marie important for us today? I think the summary statements found in a biography give us a deeper move into the heart of the Blessed:

The sheer ordinariness of his life has been noted by some: 16 quiet years at Casseneuil and 9 years of monastic enclosure spent in doing the simplest of things: prayer, studies, work. They are indeed simple things, but lived in an extraordinary way. They were the slightest of deeds, but performed with limitless generosity. Christ imbued his mind, clear as the water that leaps from a spring, with the conviction that God alone is our true and highest happiness and that his kingdom is like a hidden treasure or a pearl of great price.

The message of Fr. Joseph-Marie has great meaning for us today. In a world filled with distrust and often with despair but thirsting for love and kindness, his life can provide an answer, and in a special way to today’s young who seek meaning in their lives. Joseph-Marie was a youth without any standing or worth in the eyes of men. He owed the success of his life to a meeting with Jesus that redefined his very existence. He showed himself a follower of the Lord in the midst of a community of brothers, with the guidance of a spiritual father, who was to him a witness of Christ as well as one who knew to receive and to understand him.

Mother Marie-Adele Garnier canonization prayer

Marie Adele GarnierOn the Communio blog I love to portray the witnesses of holiness, those canonized and beatified already, and those in process. One such person in process for study is the Benedictine nun Mother Marie-Adèle Garnier (1838-1924), the foundress of the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  In the monastery Garnier was known as Mother Mary of St. Peter. The aim of this Benedictine Congregation is to glorify the Most Blessed Trinity. Today is the anniversary of her transitus.

Mother Marie-Adèle’s cause has been introduced for study about a possible canonization. Blessed Columba Marmion wrote to one of her spiritual daughters, saying, “The special characteristic of your Mother is heroic confidence in the midst of impossibilities.” With this in mind, let us together pray for this favor.

Father, all powerful and ever living God, we give you glory, praise and thanks for the life and virtue of your beloved daughter, Marie-Adèle Garnier.

Filled with the riches of your grace and preferring mother to the love of the Heart of Jesus Christ, she devoted her whole life to the adoration, praise and glory of your Name; she sacrificed herself by prayer and penance for the unity and holiness of your Church; she loved her neighbor with a charity full of humility and compassion.

Above all, she found the Sun of her life in the Holy Mass, and so was consumed with zeal for liturgical worship and Eucharistic adoration, and abandoned herself with all her heart to your most Holy Will in all things.

In your mercy Lord, hearken to our prayer: “Glorify Your Servant, Mother Marie-Adèle Garnier, that Your Servant may glorify you.”

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, world without end. Amen.

Benedictine sainthood cause advances

BERNARDO DE VASCONCELOSToday, 14 June, Pope Francis received in a private audience Angelo Cardinal Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints. In the course of the audience with the Holy Father, he authorized the Congregation to promulgate the decrees regarding…
…the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Bernard of the Annunciation (in history: Bernardo de Vasconcelos) a professed monk of the Order of Saint Benedict; born 7 July 1902 and died 4 July 1932.
He was a monk of Singeverga monastery. He died from spinal tuberculosis.
Brother Bernard will now carry the title of Venerable Servant of God
Bernardo de Vasconcelos.
Let us pray that our new Venerable will be raised the to the altar.

Saint Dunstan

St Dunstan, Westminister LLewAlso on this date, the Benedictines recall the holy life of Saint Dunstan. Today’s Benedictine saint is very much revered by the Catholics of England –read up on him here.

“St Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull’d the devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more.”

(The Every-Day Book)

image by Fr Lawrence Lew, OP

Blessed Alcuin

St Alcuin

The Benedictines remember today Blessed Alcuin of York who was born c. 735; died at Saint Martin’s in Tours, France, May 19, 804. Due to his education and experience in certain human matters, when Alcuin Charlemagne he impressed the emperor so much that he became his adviser. Alcuin was appointed abbot of Saint Martin’s Abbey at Tours (France) in 796 by Charlemagne. At Tours, with Saint Benedict of Aniane, he restored the monastic observance.

Toward the end of his life Alcuin said this of his own career with a rather beautiful description:

In the morning, at the height of my powers, I sowed the seed in Britain, now in the evening when my blood is growing cold I am still sowing in France, hoping both will grow, by the grace of God, giving some the honey of the holy scriptures, making others drunk on the old wine of ancient learning…

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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