Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Visit to Tomb of Blessed Frederic Jansoone and Trois Rivieres Churches

Chapel of St. Anthony, Trois Rivieres, in which is located the tomb of Blessed Frederic and the Jansoone Museum nearby

Today, during the retreat, we concelebrated Mass in the original chapel with the lovely statue of the Blessed Mother.

The official photo of our pilgrimage retreatant group was taken afterwards; my hope is that it will be featured in this space in the near future, when it is made available.










Church of Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Allegresses

After lunch, several of us made a pilgrimage to Trois Rivieres to see the two major churches--the Cathedral of Notre Dame de l'Assomption and the Church Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Allegresses (The Seven Joys of Our Lady)--both works of extraordinary beauty, which serve what formerly were five parish communities (the closed churches are those of Sainte Cecile, Saint-Francois-d'Assise and Saint Philippe), and to visit the Tomb and Museum devoted to Blessed Frederic Jansoone, OFM.

The Seven Joys of Our Lady (From a Franciscan Devotional Rosary with Seven Mysteries)





FREDERIC JANSOONE was born in Ghyvelde, considered to be in Flanders in some accounts, but in France in others, in 1838. His life took many interesting turns. His was not an ordinary nineteenth-century way of life.

Frederic was born of wealthy farm parents and he was the youngest of thirteen children. He was just nine when his father died, so the boy left school to help support his mother. He soon realized that he had a "knack" for selling. He enjoyed people. He liked meeting new people and he knew how to explain his products.

Frederic's mother died in 1861. It was then that the twenty-three-year-old reached into his heart in search of his own life's call. He realized that he was experiencing a strong desire to join the Franciscan order. After his seminary studies were finished, Frederic was ordained a Franciscan priest. He became a military chaplain for a time.

Then in 1876, he was sent to the Holy Land. Father Frederic preached the Gospel in the places made sacred by Jesus himself.

He used his skills to help various groups of Christians cooperate in the upkeep of two sacred churches. He built a church in Bethlehem. Blessed Frederic is also remembered for reviving an old custom of having pilgrims make the Stations of the Cross throughout the streets of Jerusalem.

Father Frederic's ministry in Canada began when he was transferred here in 1881. He was sent on a fundraising tour and founded the Commissariat of the Holy Land, now situated in offices at the Diocesan Centre in Ottawa.

His many talents served him well. His joyful spirit of self-giving made him much loved immediately. His sermons and talks were filled with interesting facts about the Holy Land. He looked into the faces and hearts of the people and prayed that they would grow in the richness of God's life. In 1888, he returned to Canada to stay and was to spend the rest of his life here.

Streetscape near the Ursuline Convent, Trois Rivieres

Blessed Father Frederic was well known for his work for the sanctuary at Cap de la Madeleine, which he did much to establish and where miraculous events took place.

On June 22, 1888 the statue of the Virgin was placed on the altar and the little church was dedicated to Mary's honour, becoming the "Shrine". At the same time, Fr. Frederic, a Franciscan friar, became the first pilgrimage director.

On this very night, kneeling in front of the altar, along with two other witnesses, he saw the miraculous statue open her eyes! An event that later on would be identified as the "Miracle of the Eyes".

Here, in French, is the account of what took place: Le 22 juin 1888, vers 19 heures, 3 hommes entrèrent prier dans la petite église nouvellement dédiée à la Vierge du Rosaire au sanctuaire de Notre-Dame du Cap, le curé Désilets, le père Frédéric et M. Pierre Lacroix. Pendant qu'ils priaient il se produisit un évènement que le Père Frédéric a lui-même raconté:

"La statue de la Vierge, qui a les yeux entièrement baissés, avait les yeux grandement ouverts; le regard de la Vierge était fixe; elle regardait devant elle, droit à sa hauteur. L'illusion était difficile : son visage se trouvait en pleine lumière par suite du soleil qui luisait à travers une fenêtre et éclairait parfaitement tout le sanctuaire. Ses yeux étaient noirs, bien formés et en pleine harmonie avec l'ensemble du visage. Le regard de la Vierge était celui d'une personne vivante; il avait une expression de sévérité, mêlée de tristesse. Ce prodige a duré approximativement de cinq à dix minutes."

When in Montreal, he lived in a small, humble room at St. Joseph's Friary. He died in Montreal on the 4th of August, 1916, and is buried in a tomb at the Church of Saint-Antoine in Trois Rivieres.

He was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988.

Trois Rivieres Cathedral, Mgr Martin Veillette, bishop

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