He was a Geographer, an Astronomer, an Explorer, and a Jesuit Missionary—His final Title will be Saint

Venerable Eusebio Kino                         aleteia.jpg

By Larry Peterson

Eusebio Kino was born and baptized on Augst 10, 1645. His parents, Franz Kuhn and Margherita Luchi, members of the local nobility. Their position enabled them to send their son to the more exceptional schools where it was quite evident that he was a brilliant child.  Since he demonstrated such an excellent learning ability, his parents sent him to the Jesuit College at Trent, where he studied science and mathematics. From there, he traveled to the Jesuit College at Hall, near Innsbruck, Austria. While there, he contracted an unidentified illness that almost took his life.

Eusebio dreamed often, and when he was ill, he had a deep-seated dream that frightened him greatly. He vowed that if his patron, St. Francis Xavier, would intercede with God to help him get better, he would join the Society of Jesus. His health did return, and for the rest of his life, Eusebio thanked God and Francis Xavier for his recovery. He even took the name Francisco and added it to his own. From then on, he was known as Eusebio Francisco Kino. He joined the Society of Jesus on November 20, 1665, when he was twenty years old.

He received his religious training at such places as Freiburg, Ingolstadt, and Landsburg in Bavaria. He finished his journey to ordination on June 12, 1677, when he received the Sacrament of Holy Orders and became a priest. For years Father Kino had hoped to go to China, and he received word that he and a fellow Austrian were being sent. But it was not to be. Only one was destined for the Phillippines and the other for Mexico. The two men drew a slip of paper from a box. Father Kino drew Mexico. His dreams of going to China would not come true.

Being assigned to go the New Spain was one thing, getting there another. Delays due to weather and sickness and various other conditions while crossing from Europe caused Father Kino to miss the ship that was to take him to New Spain. Unlike today if a person misses an air flight or a train stop, they may need up to a day to recover; Father Eusebio would have to wait a year for another ship. He did not waste his time. During the time he waited, he studied the comet known as Kirch’s Comet. His findings were published as  Exposición astronómica de el cometa.[1] (Astronomical exhibition of the comet).

It was not until 1683 that Father Kino’s first assignment was reached and undertaken. The expedition he was directing arrived at the Baja California peninsula of Las Californias province.  He established the Mission of San Bruno, but a severe drought forced them to leave the mission and return to the capital of Mexico City.

Finally, on March 14, 1687, Father Eusebio Kino began his work in  Pimeria Alta (upper Pima land—named after indigenous natives). He started the first mission in the area (this is now southern California, Arizona, and Northern Mexico). Father Kino followed ancient trade routes, which were later expanded into roads. He covered over 50,000 square miles on horseback while mapping an area 200 miles (329 km) long and 250 miles (400km) wide. Father Kino’s maps proved to be the most precise maps of the area for more than 150 years after his death. Kino is the first person to identify and name the Colorado River.

Father Kino introduced European seeds to the natives enabling them to grow fruits, herbs and grains. He taught them how to raise livestock, including sheep, goats,  and cattle. Amazingly. Father Kino’s first herd of twenty cattle brought into Pimeria Alta grew to over 70,000 head during the time he was there. Historians refer to Father Kino as Arizona’s first rancher.

Father Kino is honored both in Mexico and in the United States. He established close to thirty missions during his time in the southwest. Today there are towns, schools, monuments, streets, while statues of him are in many places, including the United States Capital’s Statuary Hall. The largest statue of Father Kino stands along the US-Mexican border in Tijuana, Baja, California.

There is much more, including the Kino Border Initiative, The Kino Heritage Society, ,Fundacion Kino, and the Kino Catechetical Institute.

On July 11, 2020, Pope Francis declared Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, a person of “heroic virtue” elevating him to the title of Venerable. Next stop–Beatification

copyright©Larry Peterson 2020


This Man viewed Religion with Contempt—This Woman was arrested as a Revolutionary

Together they Founded a Religious Order that would spread around the World

One of the Acts of Mercy—Feeding the Poor            commons.wikimedia.org

By Larry Peterson

On December 6, 1752, Florence Chasseloup presented her husband, Pierre Fournet, with their only son who they named Andre-Hubert. Andre had one sister. The infant Andre was baptized the very next day by his uncle, Father Antoine Fournet, in the local parish, located in Vienne, France.

Twenty-one years later, in Le Blanc, France, on July 5, 1773, a baby girl was born into the aristocratic, Bichier des Ages family. They named her Joan Elizabeth Lucy, and she was baptized the same day she was born. From then on, most people knew her as Elizabeth Bichier.

No one ever would have considered that these two unlikely people would connect in 1797, during the height of the French Revolution. Nor would anyone have imagined that they would join forces to found and inspire religious orders that would eventually serve people on four continents and in thirteen different nations.

As a boy, Andre-Hubert was what one might consider a pompous little brat. He acted self-contained and even harbored a disdain for religion. His mother fostered these feelings because she kept telling him she wanted him to become a priest. He resented her prodding because a priest was the last thing he ever intended to be. In fact, he was so determined to show his mom that he meant it, he ran away from home determined to join the military.

His mother found him and made him come home before he could enlist. She sought out the aid of her brother-in-law, who was a priest in a rural farming community. His name was Jean Fournet, and he had a profound influence on his nephew. So much so that Andrew was ordained to the priesthood in 1776. At his ordination, his mother wept with joy.

Three years earlier, about 60 kilometers away (37 miles),  a baby girl had been born into the aristocratic Bichier family. She was named Joan Elizabeth and baptized the same day. Her mom, Madame Bichier, was committed to teaching her children the tenets of the Catholic faith.  Even as a small child Elizabeth felt herself being drawn to a life of prayer.

The  French Revolution began on July 14, 1789, and French Catholics immediately fell victim to persecution. The Bichier estate was now under threat of seizure and Elizabeth and her mom moved to a tiny house in the local village. However, they were still harassed daily by the Revolutionary Surveillance Committee. They were continually being prodded to sign a new oath of loyalty to the Civil Constitution. They stood firm and refused—over and over. They were imprisoned, but their brother, who had sided with the revolutionaries, managed to have them freed. Elizabeth’s life was about to change.

Elizabeth, unable to receive the Holy Eucharist because of the new government’s anti-religious policy, felt terribly deprived. Toward the end of 1796, a former servant came to her and told her of a secret Mass being offered at a farm ten miles away. Elizabeth rode a donkey for more than three hours to reach the farm. After Mass, the priest, Father Andrew Fournet, began to hear confessions. Elizabeth was last in a very long line. Confessions lasted all night long, and when Elizabeth’s turn came to confess, the sun was rising.

She and Father Andrew had an immediate connection. Their spiritualities combined and the priest became Elizabeth’s spiritual director. He asked her to consider devoting her life to the sick, poor, aged and to also establish schools for children in the rural areas of their diocese. Even as a child, Elizabeth had consecrated herself to the Virgin Mary, and she immediately responded to Father Fournet’s ideas.

Father Fournet put Elizabeth in charge of a group of women who also were dedicated to Catholic education and the care of the poor and sick. Elizabeth then founded the order known as Daughter’s of the Holy Cross, Sisters of St. Andrew. The year was 1807. When she died in 1838, there were over 100 communities with hundreds of sisters working to help those in need. By the turn of the 20th century there were over 3100 sisters serving around the world. Today, the Daughter’s of the Holy Cross still has more than 600 sisters working on four continents in fourteen different countries helping others.

Father Andrew Fournet was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XI on June 4, 1933. Sister Joan Elizabeth Bichier des Ages was canonized a saint of June 6. 1947 by Pope Pius XII.

We ask both of these saints to pray for us.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

 


This kid from Iowa grew up to be a Bishop in Uganda, served in all four sessions of Second Vatican Council, and his cause for sainthood has been sent to Rome.

Servant of God Vincent McCauley              Congregation of Holy Cross

By Larry Peterson

Vincent Joseph McCauley was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on March 8, 1906. His dad, Charles, worked as an installer for AT&T and his mom stayed home taking care of the six kids of whom Vincent was the oldest.  Vincent’s parents were active and devout Catholics; dad was a member of the Knights of Columbus, and mom was active in the Rosary Altar Guild and parish prayer groups. The McCauley children grew up knowing what it meant to be Catholic.

During the fall of 1924, during his first semester at Creighton College, members of the Congregation of Holy Cross came to St. Francis Xavier Church to conduct a parish mission. Vincent, who was 18 at the time, had a life-changing experience. The mission sparked within him a call to the priesthood.

His family was stunned. He had never expressed an interest in a religious life. But he wrote to the vocation director that a calling to the priesthood “has been the aim of my life for many years. Trusting that God will it, my only desire now is a favorable reply from you.”

Vincent McCauley did, in fact, receive a “favorable reply” and on July 1, 1925, entered the novitiate. He professed his first vows one year later and took his perpetual vows on July 2, 1929. He then was sent off to Foreign Missionary training in Washington D.C. After completing his training there, he had one more stop to make. The date was  June 24, 1934; he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John Noll at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The Great Depression of the 1930s left its boot-heel on many a person in America. It even affected missionaries. Father Vincent was trained in missionary work, but the depression had left the Holy Cross Order short on funds. Instead of going overseas, Father Vincent was assigned to the faculty at the congregation’s seminary in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. He would remain here for the next two years.

In 1936 Father Vincent was sent to East Bengal to be the rector of a minor seminary. During his time there he learned much about indigenous people.  In 1944, because of poor health, he had to return to the United States. He would spend the next fourteen years working in Washington D.C. It was during this time that he began treatments at the Mayo Clinic for skin cancer, an affliction he had been battling most of his adult life.  But his experiences in Bengal had prepared him for the mission work that would come his way; serving in East Africa.

In early 1958, Father McCauley and Father Arnold Fell were sent to Uganda to check on establishing a community mission under the Holy Cross umbrella. Bishop Jean Ortiz of Mbarra, wanted the “White Fathers”  to establish a new diocese in West Uganda. McCauley wrote, “Unless something changes our impression, this is a great opportunity for Holy Cross.”

They submitted a very favorable report. The job was entrusted to Father McCauley. He arrived back in Uganda on November 4, 1958. It took only three years for Father McCauley to establish schools and churches in the region. The Holy Cross Order, under the guidance of the priest from Iowa, was about to open a new Catholic Diocese in Fort Portal, Uganda.

Having been the effective and inspiring guiding force in establishing the new Diocese of Fort Portal, Father Vincent was consecrated the first bishop of Fort Portal on May 18, 1961. Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston was the presider.

Bishop McCauley immediately set out to organize and promote the Catholic Church in East Africa, He was so successful at his work that he was invited to represent at the Second Vatican Council. His opinions on missionary work in Africa regarding finances, and forming catechesis and how to overcome conflict among different tribes in the area was highly regarded by the council. It was a challenge for sure because there were many cultures and nationalities mixed together.

The baseball playing priest from Iowa did all these things while having to endure over fifty surgeries for his chronic skin cancer. In 1976 he had open heart surgery, having a plastic aorta placed into his heart. Then in 1982, suffering from lung cancer, he agreed to another surgery. He died during the operation. The date was November 1, 1982; the Feast of All Saints. He would become a part of their team.

In 2006 Bishop Vincent J. McCauley was declared a Servant of God and his cause is now before the Congregation of Saints in Rome.

We ask Servant of God, Vincent J. McCauley to pray for us.

copyrigh©Larry Peterson 2019