Tag Archives: Jesuits

His business failed, his wife died, he lost three children in succession, managed to become a Jesuit Lay Brother, and ultimately was canonized a saint. Meet St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez                                              wikipedia commons

By Larry Peterson

The friar pulled open the big, oak door, and before him stood a disheveled looking man staring at him. The year was 1571, and the down and out fellow was a thirty-seven-year-old cloth merchant seeking admission to the order. The weary, hunched man was not seeking to be a priest but, instead, he just wanted to be admitted as a lay brother. The friar shook his head and was about to dismiss the man when the man said, “Peter Faber was my friend.”

Peter Faber was probably St. Ignatius of Loyola’s best friend. He is considered by many as the co-founder of the Jesuits. He had passed away in 1545 at the age of thirty-nine but for the man to have said “he was his friend” made the friar pause and hold the door open. Staring at the wretched-looking fellow the friar asked, “And how do you dare claim to be friends with Peter Faber?”

The man introduced himself as Alphonsus Rodriguez. He explained that when he was a boy of about ten, Peter Faber had stayed with his family while he was preaching a mission in Segovia. Alphonsus also told him that Friar Peter had prepared him for his First Holy Communion. The man was allowed to come in, and the friar called another of the brothers over to hear the man’s story.

Alphonsus went on to explain that he had to quit school at the age of twelve. That was when his dad died unexpectedly, and he had to leave school because he had nine brothers and sisters, and his mother needed his help. Alphonsus eventually married a woman named Maria Suarez when he was twenty-six. They had three children together, and two died before the age of five.  Then Maria suddenly passed away, and Alphonsus was a widower with one child to raise. His last child also suddenly passed.

Alphonsus was now thirty-seven years old, worn out, and frail-looking. He explained he had no desire to re-marry and only wished to spend the rest of his life serving God. Fortunately, people who were having a tough time of it were always welcomed by the Jesuits. Having been instructed by Peter Faber himself, the resident Jesuits were quite willing to accept Alphonsus.

Alphonsus had minimal education, so he had to take courses at the College of Barcelona. His health was poor, and he only managed a year of studies. But he was then accepted into the Jesuit novitiate on January 31, 1571. It was said that the provincial joked that if Alphonsus could not qualify for the priesthood or become a brother maybe he could stay and become a saint. He was sent to the town of Palma where he did odd jobs at the Jesuit College of Montesino. He made his perpetual vows on April 5, 1573, when he was 41 years old.

In 1579 Brother Alphonsus became the porter at the college. He did odd jobs, answered the door welcoming travelers and guests, and did almost every type of different job that needed to be done. His position at Jesuit College was his first, last, and only assignment as a member of the Jesuits.

Brother Alphonsus experienced great heartache in his life. He had lost his young wife to disease, his three children, one after the other, and he also had lost his business as a wool merchant. He had become a lay Jesuit Brother and spent the rest of his life doing the most humble work imaginable.

Unknown to most, Alphonsus had developed a deep relationship with God and was given the gift of the spirit that enabled him to deeply affect anyone who spoke with him. He managed to bring countless people to peace within themselves, and his reputation spread far and wide.

Brother Alphonsus Rodriguez died on October 31, 1617. He was eighty-four years old.  He was canonized a saint by Pope Leo XIII in September of 1888.

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, please pray for us.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

 

This Saint became one of the most honored Jesuits in History; His name is Edmund Campion

St. Edmund Campion                                      http://www.mirifica.netBy Larry Peterson

By Larry Peterson

Edmund Campion was born in England in 1540. His father was a bookseller, and Edmund’s love of books was instilled in him as a child. He had a brilliant mind and, at the age of thirteen, he was chosen to deliver a speech when Queen Mary visited London.

Soon after he became a student at St. John’s College in Oxford. He graduated with his B. A. degree in 1560 and at that time took his Oath of Supremacy to the Crown. In 1564 he received his Master’s Degree and was also ordained as an Anglican deacon. No one could see what was in his heart, but Edmund had serious misgivings about his professed Protestantism

In 1566, Queen Elizabeth visited the university and met Edmund. She instantly was drawn to the young man, and she saw to it that he was taken under the wing of two powerful men; William Cecil, and the Earl of Leicester, who was rumored to be the Queen’s future husband. Edmund had shared his concerns about Anglicanism to a few “friends,” and soon rumors of his “radical” opinions began to spread.

Edmund, fully aware of his fate if betrayed, left Oxford and went to Ireland. James Stanyhurst, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, knew Edmund and hired him as a tutor for his son, Richard.  But the Protestant party in Dublin had become aware of his presence and were searching for him. He was given another assignment on the east coast of Ireland. For the next three months, using the name of “Mr. Patrick,”  he avoided his pursuers who were determined to find him.

Edmund had become convinced that Anglicanism was wrong and returned to Catholicism. This was about the same time that Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth retaliated and initiated vicious persecution of Catholics in England. Edmund heard of the dreadful tortures and executions and in 1571 fled to Douai,  France.

Edmund was accepted into the Jesuits in 1573 and began his novitiate in Austria, away from any English provinces. He began teaching at the University of Prague and was ordained to the priesthood there in 1578.

He remained in his teaching position for another two years at which time he received a unique assignment. He and Father Robert Persons were assigned to be the first Jesuits to go to the newly established mission territory of England. Their mission was to minister to the faithful English Catholics who were strictly forbidden to practice their religion. The year was 1580.

Father Campion and Father Persons entered England posing as merchants. They both had been given different locales to minister to and went their separate ways. Father Campion immediately began preaching, and his presence quickly became known to the authorities as well as the many Catholics languishing in the filthy prisons.

The authorities began spreading the word that Campion’s mission was political and that he was committing treason. Father Campion responded by writing what came to be known as Campion’s Brag. This work spelled out his love of Catholicism and gave his critique of Anglicanism. It was printed and 400 copies were found in the pews during the commencement exercises at St. Mary’s in Oxford. This caused such an uproar that the largest and most intensive manhunt in English history was begun.

On July 14, 1581, Campion was preaching in Berkshire at the house of Francis Yale. He was tracked down by a spy named George Eliot and taken into custody. With his arms tied behind his back and a sign on his hat reading, “Seditious Jesuit” he was paraded through the street of London to the “Tower.” His clandestine days of administering the sacraments, hearing confessions and preaching had come to an end. His legacy was just beginning.

Edmund Campion was offered great wealth and position if he would renounce his Catholic faith. Knowing the pain and torture he would endure for refusing to do so, he stood steadfast in defense of Catholicism. The torture began and lasted for over four months, but Campion never wavered. On December 1, 1581, he was taken to Tyburn and was hanged, drawn and quartered for the crime of being Catholic.

He was canonized a saint on October 25, 1970, by Pope St. Paul VI. Saint Edmund Campion is included among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Saint Edmund Campion, please pray for us

©Larry Peterson 2018

Christ had revealed the Treasures of His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary. But it was St. Claude de la Colombiere who helped her reveal it to the world.

 

St. Claude de la Colombiere en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Claude de la Colombiere was born in 1641, in the old province of Dauphine, in France. He was the third child of Bertrand Colombiere and Margaret Coindat. Soon after Claude was born the family moved to the town of Vienne, and this is where the young boy began his education. It was during this time period that Claude began feeling the call to the Jesuits.

Claude began his secondary studies at the Jesuit school in Lyon. He was now seventeen and, wrote in his journal, that he had “a terrible aversion for the life embraced.” Later on, those who knew him, attributed those comments to his being away from home and missing his family who he was very close to. Plus, he loved the arts, literature and active social life. But the selfless side of Claude won out, and he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Avignon. Here he finished his studies in rhetoric and philosophy.

In 1666 he went to the College of Clermont in Paris to study theology. He took his first vows and completed his studies in philosophy. He became a professor of grammar and literature and stayed in that position for the next five years. Well known  for his tact, poise, and devotion to the humanities, his superiors appointed him the tutor for the children of France’s Minister of Finance, Jean Baptiste Colbert. Unknown to Claude, God had bigger plans for him.

Claude was now a priest and returned to Lyon. Here he taught in the college, became a full-time preacher, and also the moderator of several Marian congregations. After 15 years as a Jesuit, Father Colombiere began his probation in a Jesuit’s final spiritual formation. This is  known as the Tertianship, and it would be the final pathway for the priest to his still unknown destiny.

Upon Father Colombiere’s profession of solemn vows, he was named rector of the College at Paray-le-Monial. Most people who knew of Father Colombiere wondered why such a talented priest would be sent to such an unknown and obscure place. The answer was well known to the superiors’ who sent him.

The reason was for him to see a simple, humble nun at the Monastery of the Visitation. Her name was Margaret Mary Alacoque. The reports were that she told her superiors that Jesus was appearing to her  and revealing the secrets of His most Sacred Heart.

Sister Margaret Mary was being spurned by the other sisters and ridiculed. She tormented over and was  uncertain of what was actually happening. Jesus had told Sister Margaret that He would send her the “faithful servant and perfect friend.”

Sister Margaret Mary had endured much because of the disbelief of the other nuns at the monastery. She felt isolated and alone even though she had been chosen by Christ Himself to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart. When  Father Colombiere arrived at the monastery and began hearing the confessions of all the nuns, Sister Mary Margaret knew the “faithful servant and perfect friend”  that Jesus had promised her had finally come.

She willingly confided in Father Colombiere and opened her heart to him. After speaking and meeting with her a number of times Father Colombiere was convinced of the truthfulness and the validity of her visions. He became her most ardent supporter and apostle for her and devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Father Colombiere left Paray  in 1676 and headed for London. He kept in touch with Sister Margaret Mary by letter. He had been assigned to be the preacher to the Duchess of York and later, to the Queen of Great Britain. He even took up residence in St. James Palace.

Colombiere’s belief and loyalty to his Catholic faith never wavered, even under the intense pressure against the Catholic faith in England. In 1678 he was  accused and arrested as one of those involved in the fictional ‘popist plot’ designed to overthrow King Charles II. He spent over three weeks in squalid prison conditions weakening his frail health to the point of ‘no-return”.

After his release, in 1679, he was sent back to Paray.  Father Colombiere died on February 15, 1682, from severe hemorrhage. He was 41 years-old.

Jesus had appeared to St. Margaret Mary revealing His wishes for devotion to His Sacred Heart. But it was St. Colombiere who helped the quiet, humble visionary announce it to the world. Father Claude de la Colombiere was canonized a saint on May 31, 1992, by Pope St. John Paul II.

St. Colombiere, please pray for us. His feast day is February 15.