28 Apr – Memorial for St. Peter Chanel, priest & martyr; Memorial for St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, priest
Peter Chanel (1803-1841) was born to a peasant family and was a shepherd as a boy. He was an excellent student and was ordained at 24. He was assigned to Crozet, a parish in decline; he turned it around, in part because of his ministry to the sick, and brought a spiritual revival. He joined the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) in 1831, and taught in the Belley seminary for five years.
In 1836, he led a band of missionaries to the New Hebrides, an area where cannibalism had only recently been outlawed. He converted many, often as a result of his work with the sick. He learned the local language and taught in the local school. He was killed by order of Niuliki, a native king who was jealous of Peter’s influence. He was the first martyr in Oceania.
“He loves us. He does what he teaches. He forgives his enemies. His teaching is good.”
- one of St. Peter’s catechumens, explaining why he believed Peter’s teachings.
Louis-Marie (1673-1716) was born poor. He studied in Paris, France, and was ordained in 1700. While a seminarian, he delighted in researching the writings of Church Fathers, Doctors and Saints as they related to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom he was singularly devoted.
Under Mary’s inspiration, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Wisdom, a religious institute of women devoted to the care of the destitute. During this work, he began his apostolate of preaching the Rosary and authentic Marian devotion. He preached so forcefully and effectively against the errors of Jansenism that he was expelled from several dioceses in France.
In Rome, Pope Clement XI conferred on him the title and authority of ‘Missionary Apostolic’, which enabled him to continue his apostolate after returning to France. He preached Mary everywhere and to everyone.
He was a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic, and was one of the greatest apostles of the Rosary in his day and, by means of his miraculously inspiring book, The Secret of the Rosary, he is still so today. The most common manner of reciting the Rosary is the method that originated with St. Louis’ preaching. In 1715, he founded a missionary band known as the Company of Mary.
His greatest contribution to the Church and world is Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin. He propagated this in his day by preaching and after his own death by his other famous book True Devotion to Mary. Consecration to Mary is, for St. Louis, the perfect manner of renewing one’s baptismal promises. His spirituality has been espoused by millions, especially Saint John Paul II, who consecrated not only himself but every place he visited as pope.
In True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis prophesied that the army of souls consecrated to Mary will be her instrument in defeating the Devil and his Antichrist. As Satan gains power in the world, so much more shall the new Eve triumph over him and crush his head.
The cause for his declaration as a Doctor of the Church is now being pursued.
Patron Saint Index
“I can see heaven thrown open”
I have always been inspired by the death of St. Stephen; that his death confirms to me that our Lord Jesus was the God, and man, that the Bible makes Him to be. Being one of those blessed to spend time with Jesus, St. Stephen got to learn, and experience, what heaven, and eternal life, promises to be.
Too many of us are so caught up with achieving success in this life, and so we chase after the next shiny object — top results in school, the highest paying job, status and wealth. I, too, have been guilty of doing this. When we spend time chasing what is not important, we forget that our life on Earth is literally a drop in the ocean of our existence, that all the time we spend going after ‘stuff’ will only last us for the time that we are alive.
More importantly, St Stephen also teaches us that our life is meant to be lived. Just last weekend, I heard a phrase shared by our Archbishop William, who shared, “Life is meant to be lived courageously, not recklessly”. At that point, what he said really touched me, and I took time to reflect on my actions, and motivations, in my life as a Christian.
Too often, I have behaved frivolously, and spent my attention similarly. I focus on unimportant things. While it does not sound like it, I fritter away my time and energy. I live my life… recklessly. In sharing his saying, Archbishop William has reminded me that I need to learn how to regain my courage and live my life accordingly.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Help us, Father, to appreciate that our lives are to be lived in service of You; that it should be lived courageously, and not recklessly.
Thanksgiving: We praise You and thank You Father, for this gift of life!