Friday, July 13, 2012

Le roi Saint Henri / Saint Henry, the King - A Visit to Waupoos Farm

Henri II, surnommé le Pieux, fut roi de Bavière en 972, roi de Germanie en 1002, et chef du Saint Empire Romain de 1014 à 1024. Il fit serment à Benoît VIII, qui l’avait sacré, « de lui garder à lui et à ses successeurs la fidélité en toutes choses ».

Il mit ses soins et son application à étendre la religion, en relevant les églises détruites, et en fondant des monastères qu’il enrichit de ses largesses. Retenu au Mont-Cassin par une grave maladie, il en fut guéri d’une manière miraculeuse, grâce à l’intercession de saint Benoît. Voulant être prêt à la venue du divin Maître, il rentra d’Italie par la France, se fit agréger à la Communauté de Cluny, et sollicita son admission à l’abbaye bénédictine de Saint-Vanne de Verdun.

L’abbé le reçut, mais lui ordonna aussitôt, au nom de l’obéissance religieuse, de remonter sur le trône impérial. Il eut tellement à cœur la loi de Dieu qu’il garda une absolue virginité dans le mariage. Aussi résolut-il, d’accord avec sa sainte épouse Cunégonde, de faire de Jésus-Christ leur héritier. Il fonda dans ce dessein l’évêché de Bamberg, auquel il laissa tous ses biens. Il fut inhumé dans cette église en 1024.

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O God, whose abundant grace prepared Saint Henry to be raised by you in a wonderful way from the cares of earthly rule to heavenly realms, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that amid the uncertainties of this world we may hasten towards you with minds made pure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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The name Waupoos is a native word for "rabbit", derived from the shape of Waupoos Island (near Picton, ON), where the Oblates of Mary Immaculate had a summer camp for many years.  The nature of the camp evolved over time until the late Father Fred McGee transferred it to the south end of Ottawa (not far from Ottawa International Airport). 

There, over time and with the help of volunteers, summer camp houses were built on an old farm property and made available for inner city or families of modest means who could not otherwise afford to have holidays in a beautiful setting of nature.

During the summer and at holiday times special programs are held and regularly, on Saturday afternoons, an anticipated Sunday Eucharist is celebrated outdoors, if the weather is suitable, or in the chapel on the grounds. 

I had been invited on several occasions to visit Waupoos Family Farm: Vacations for Families in Need, but was unable to do so until last Saturday afternoon.  Arriving around three o'clock, I joined the residents who were completing the first week of camping (weeks run from Monday afternoons until Sundays at noon) for a hayride with the children, stopping for a treat at the lolipop tree.

After visiting with the animals on site (chickens, lambs, ducks and pigs), I celebrated Mass with the community and then took part in the pot luck supper. 

A cake had been prepared for the occasion of my visit and a ceremonial cutting of the cake took place.  A wonderful time was had by all.  More info on Waupoos at; photos courtesy of Robert Du Broy.


  1. Oh dear Archbishop... ceramic vessels?? Of course not your doing but, well...

  2. You must have studied the photos really thoroughly to notice that!

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