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What’s new with our saints?

06/04/2010: General House

As postulator I must admit that, each time I study the case of one of our Marist saints and it is given me to know him intimately, it is the heart, first of all, that is touched. In the heart are born feelings of admiration, gratitude, an urge towards imitation, and the verification that sanctity is much more common than is thought. The desire, too, that our Brother martyrs or confessors should be known by the family, Brothers and lay Marists: it would gain in apostolic and spiritual strength.

There will appear soon a booklet on the group of martyrs from the Boxer period in China, June to August 1900. This cause is very special and truly in keeping with what Christians want today. Of the 850 martyrs of this cause, the vast majority are lay people: men, women, children, ordinary peasant and working people. This group of martyrs presents the case of the people of God faithful to the Lord even to the shedding of blood. There are, of course, also priests and religious among them: three Lazarist Fathers, four Marist Brothers, a dozen Chinese Sisters. But the mass is made up of fathers and mothers, grandmothers, of entire families slaughtered simply for refusing to offer incense to the traditional idols. It is the people of God who showed itself strong and faithful in persecution.

This publication is an exception, the office of the postulator having now the policy of not publishing in book form, but of putting the documents on internet. On our site you can find a lot of information on Brs. François, Alfano, Basilio, our martyrs of China, Spain, Africa… The last documents posted there are Our Models of Marist Sanctity (information on each of our causes), and Brother Crisanto and his 67 companions martyrs. You can find plenty of information and celebrations on this page under the heading Brothers: Our Marist Saints. It is a whole mine of information, particularly useful for Brothers working in the field of formation.

I return to the question posed at the beginning. Of all our causes, the one I feel ripest for beatification is that of Brother François. It does not stop sending signals of this. So let us not hesitate to confide our sick to him and to ask him to make our own Marist apostolic lives strong, generous, and bold.

Presenting the group of martyrs of Brother Crisanto, killed in Spain during the persecution of 1936-1939, I would say that they are very close to beatification. As martyrs, it is true, they do not need any miracle. Their cause has been waiting for nine years to be studied by the theologians and cardinals and bishops. The average period of waiting is from 12 to 15 years. It is reasonable to expect them beatified around the years 2015-2017. It would be a beatification for the second centenary of our foundation.

The causes of Br. Basilio in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Br. Henri Vergès in Algiers, Algeria, also remain very much alive. They are two Marist Brothers very present to our affective memory. They are close to us, lived among us, shaped their sanctity in the historical context which is ours. They tell us that holiness is for today.

Of all the work of the postulation, the most important is helping ourselves to take some more steps towards sanctity, or simply, to place the Lord and the concern « to make him known and loved » more firmly at the centre of our lives.

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