Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Saint Claude De La Colombiere

When our thoughts turn to the devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus, two names spring forth, Saint Margaret Mary Alocque and Bl. Claude De La Colombiere, for it was through these two holy souls that our Lord wished to proclaim this August devotion.

Claude was born in the year 1641 in France to parents who were wealthy and held a high position in society, during his young years Claude was noted as being of a serious nature and took to studying philosophy at Lyon where he excelled. Claude also mixed well with his friends and took part in an active social life as he was a gifted student of rhetoric with a curious mind and longing to learn about life.

It us unknown when Claude first felt the calling to enter the Priesthood for he was not a man to confide his innermost thoughts, and tended instead to turn to the Lord in prayer in order to find his vocation. It is known that he struggled internally with the call to enter the Priesthood as it meant leaving his old life behind and embracing a more difficult and rigorous lifestyle.

In the end Claude obeyed the calling he felt within and entered the Jesuit Order at only 17 years of age, this was a big step for the young man to make, but Claude was never one to be moved by emotionalism, and instead relied on his common sense and his deep feelings towards the Church and where he felt God was calling him.

Claude completed his studies and was Ordained a Priest into the Society of Jesus in 1675, he then became superior at Paray-le-Monial, and it was here that he met Sister Margaret Mary, this meeting would change their lives forever as Claude became her spiritual director. It would be both Sister Margaret Mary and Father Claude who would spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as our Lord described Claude as His, "faithful and perfect friend." This devotion to our Lords Sacred Heart continues to this day.

Father Claude's life would take a dramatic turn when he was sent to England at the request of the Duchess of York, who was impressed by this Priest knowledge and Gift of wisdom. When Claude arrived in England things seemed to go smoothly enough and through his dedication and gift of rhetoric he quickly made friends and impressed many more with his obvious talents and holiness. Though not all were impressed with Father Claude, as some within the Court of St. James heard that Father Claude was drawing converts to the Catholic Faith, this threatened the power of the Church of England which had broken with Rome!

The tension and rumour mongering would take its toll on Father Claude's health until finally the English arrested this charismatic Priest, and held him in detention. This was not good for Father Claude's health as he was already having heart problems before his imprisonment. Though he spent only 3 weeks in a notoriously cruel prison the cold and wet conditions would have a detrimental affect on Father Claude's health which suffered greatly.

Fortunately through the intervention of King Louis XIV, Father Claude was released and banished to France, this almost broke the stout heart of this most devoted disciple of Jesus Sacred Heart. Is it not the kiss of Christ that a holy Priest such as Claude should have his own heart rent asunder at the calumny of others, for upon his return to France, Father Claude's health was in serious decline.

Though Claude struggled on it was not long before his health took a turn for the worse and this promoter of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, breathed his last.

Claude de la Colombiere died in 1682.

Saint Claude de la Colombiere was canonized in 1991 by Pope John Paul II

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.
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