Sunday, March 6, 2011

Confirmations à la paroisse Saint Thomas d'Aquin - Arrival in Westport, County Mayo - Sainte Colette

Les confirmations des étudiants de l'école Lamoureux ont eu lieu dimanche, 27 février dans l'église St. Thomas d'Aquin. 

Voici quelques photos: 

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Arrival in Ireland

Jesuit colleague Laurence Murphy, spiritual director at Maynooth Seminary, picked me up at Dublin airport early yesterday afternoon and we drove across the country to Tuam, getting caught up on confreres, etc.  In Tuam the "Big Dig" is taking place, so many roads are impassable and many detours are in operation, so that even asking the locals for directions is problematic. Nonetheless, we reached the Archbishop's House, from which Diocesan Secretary Father Fintan Monahan drove me to St. Mary's Westport.

We had a lovely supper in the rectory and I got to meet the legendary Jesuit sociologist Father Micheal Mac Greil, who presented me with a copy of his book, "The Irish Language and the Irish People" (2009).

Then, Mass in the parish church, on the 16th anniversary of the inauguration of his ministry as Archbishop of Tuam by Most Reverend Michael Neary, DD.  The servers posed for a photo.

Later, at the Hotel Westport, I met members of the Diocesan Youth Council for an hour-long exchange on their experience of the church and recommendations they have for the future. Some photos:

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Sainte Colette - Saint Colette

I have gotten to know several persons named Colette, so I was struck by two web sites that presented material on her in French and English.

Voici quelques textes en anglais et en français qui décrivent cette sainte du jour (fête pas observée cette année parce que ça tombe le jour du Seigneur).


Vierge, Réformatrice des Clarisses (1380-1447)

Elle est née à Corbie, en Picardie. Ses parents se désolaient de ne pas avoir d'enfants. Ils prièrent saint Nicolas. Lorsqu'ils reçurent cette petite fille, ils lui donnèrent le nom du saint protecteur : Nicole, en diminutif familier Colette.

Orpheline à 18 ans, elle obtint du père Abbé d'un monastère voisin, la possibilité d'entrer chez les béguines d'Amiens malgré son âge. Elle n'y reste qu'un an jugeant leur vie trop douce. Même déception chez les bénédictines, puis chez les clarisses. Son père spirituel est franciscain et comprend son désir d'austérité. Il la fait entrer dans le Tiers-Ordre de Saint François comme recluse à Corbie.

Mais elle se sent appelée à plus de pauvreté encore et, pour cela, elle veut réformer le Second Ordre de saint François, les clarisses. C'est pourquoi elle obtient de rencontrer le pape Benoît XIII qui réside alors en Avignon. Ce pape était un "antipape d'Avignon " du Grand Schisme qui déchirait alors l'Occident. Mais son sens spirituel était réel et profond. Il reçoit la profession religieuse de sainte Colette dans la règle de Sainte Claire et la nomme abbesse de tous les monastères qu'elle sera amenée à fonder ou réformer. Cette décision sera confirmée par Innocent IV, le vrai pape de Rome.

Colette vient alors en Franche-Comté et réforme en premier lieu le monastère de Besançon puis bien d'autres en Savoie, Artois, Allemagne et Belgique. Elle mourra à Gand et son corps sera, par la suite, transporté à Poligny dans le Jura (

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The nun praised by Henry VIII as a ‘diligent bee’

St Colette, whose feast day is March 6 (displaced by Sunday this year), believed the most direct path to heaven was that of suffering patiently endured.

Colette (1381-1447) was the daughter of a carpenter who felt herself called to restore the Poor Clares to the rigour which had originally been prescribed by St Francis and St Clare.

The most direct path to heaven, Colette believed, was that of suffering patiently endured. Her inspiration lay in those most challenging words from the New Testament: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Her complete submission to this injunction gave her immense strength in overcoming early disappointments. At the same time, though, her spiritual exaltation was allied a strong practical streak. Her reputation for raising the dead did not hinder her from collecting royal and aristocratic patronesses.

Colette eventually succeeded so well in her reforming mission that her reputation spread beyond her native France.

In 1513 Henry VIII of England, then in his palmy Catholic days, compared her to “a diligent bee that gathers exquisite honey from the precious flowers of the most rare virtues”, and petitioned Pope Leo X that she should be canonized. This notion would eventually be fulfilled in 1807.

Nicolette Boylet, as Colette was christened, was born in Picardy. Her early attraction to religion may have connected with her father’s work at the abbey of Corbie.

At all events, after both parents died in 1398 Colette entered the Third Order of St Francis. In 1402 she began to live as a hermit, walled up in cell alongside Corbie parish church.

Her isolation, however, was disturbed by terrifying visions of the world being swept into the abyss of hell. And then she saw St Francis, kneeling before God and asking that she, Colette, should reform his order. At first she shrank back in alarm, both from the call and from her own presumption in countenancing it.

These doubts were conquered and, almost immediately, through the good offices of the sister of Clement VII, the Avignon anti-pope, Colette was granted an interview with Benedict XIII, Clement’s successor.

Benedict encouraged her, inducting her as a Poor Clare and appointing her as superior of any convent she would found or reform.

Such authority, conferred upon an unknown girl, naturally created resistance. Not until 1410, at Besançon, did Colette begin to succeed in her vocation. She would go on to found 17 new convents, in Flanders and Savoy as well as in France, besides reforming several existing ones.

Colette preached the gospel of austerity with irresistible charm, though without compromising her view that all evil stemmed from disobedience. Among those she was able to select as abbesses of her convents were princesses from the Bourbon house of Naples.

She died at Ghent. During the French Revolution her remains were taken to Poligny in Savoy (Saint of the Week

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