January 2020 - District Superior's Letter
Mothers of Priests
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Let me begin by wishing you all a Happy and Holy New Year and Paradise at the end of your days!
God willing, our district will see one of its young men receive the grace of priesthood next June 29th in Ecône, Switzerland. Let us continue to pray for him to make this a reality. One more priest! Thank God, this is a real miracle in our time! But... just one more priest this year, the only fruit of our great district? Help us, O God! And with only four other Canadian seminarians at the moment who are either in Switzerland or in the United States, there is a severe shortage...
How is it that our families, our chapels do not produce more vocations? Everyone wants priests, the Mass, the sacraments, sermons and catechisms, but we forget too much that for the seed to bear fruit, as the Gospel tells us, we need good soil. There are too many stones and thorns that stifle this call of a vocation in the souls of our young people. There will always be an abundance of calls to the vocation, “many are called!” because God is rich in mercy, and He knows that we need His grace and the sacraments. But too easily we forget the price of a vocation and the fragility of this silent call which needs a framework, a warm greenhouse to grow and bear fruit.
Beginning with the Popes, everyone agrees, there is no doubt that to perpetuate the Church of God and the priesthood of Christ, we need families that are Christian enough to keep the seeds of vocations entrusted to it, and families that are large enough to perpetuate the priestly race. Times have not changed: the family remains the first cell of the Church. And at the heart of the family is the heart of the mother. “The family is a parish in which the mother is the parish priest,” St. Ambrose used to say. The proverb goes on to say that women make and tear down houses. This is true in all fields of activity and on all fronts: social, educational, nursing, missionary.
Participation in the creative act continues for every mother far beyond the gift of her flesh and blood. Throughout her life, the mother carries the soul of her child, kneads it with her thoughts, invigorates it with her example, supports it with her prayer, and leads it towards the heights of renunciation and self-giving. The soul of the mother is a priestly soul, because it is, like the priest, in a perpetual state of offering and sacrifice. It will be God transposed to its own,with the worship of this divine will, the love of the Church, providing a Christian atmosphere of prayer, sacrifice, joy and constant generosity in the home.
In addition to the family task of a mother who has a real desire to see vocations blossom in her home, there is also an educational task. The gestation of souls, like that of bodies, is not exempt from the law of giving birth in pain. It is therefore necessary to create around the child a priestly, religious climate. Working to clear his mind, to tame his heart, to form his will, are so many delicate problems where strangers abound.
Don Bosco, that great connoisseur of youth, insisted very much on putting young people in the habit of living in the presence of God, a condition of the interior life, always listening to the voice of one’s guardian angel, to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. It is the art of the mother to know how to open the ears of the heart of her children.
In forming the child's intelligence, it is necessary to know how to present God to them as a Father to whom it is sweet to please, who lives in us through grace and the sacraments. To know Him better in order to love Him more and to devote ourselves even more to His service, that is our glory!
The formation of the heart of the little one who may one day be a priest is infinitely delicate. Forming him to be gentle like the Sacred Heart, to know how to forgive his brothers and sisters (and to understand why it is necessary to do so), to know how to discern the true from the false, the good from the bad, how important it is when it comes to choosing friends and in the absorbing world of screens! Neither should we neglect the social virtues, charity for the sick and the poor, like a Mr. Martin who encouraged his little Therese to give a few pennies to a beggar.
However, in order to avoid building a beautiful future on sand, it is necessary above all to form the will, to give character to the child, which is more and more difficult in this world of selfishness, of pagan, sensual and artificial life that surrounds us. A vocation cannot be cultivated in an environment where there is too much luxury, well-being and ease. It is not enough to preserve the child, but it is necessary to train him to conquer himself. Too many games, especially electronic games, not enough discipline, not enough effort, not enough opportunities to make sacrifices, are the thorns that can stifle the germ of a vocation. Just as a continual spirit of criticism of priests, of their sermons and activities, is deadly for a little soul who begins to aspire to the total gift of self. Beware of table and car discussions in front of the children!
The service of Mass, youth movements such as the Eucharistic Crusade, Catholic Scouting and the like, but especially the choice of a good school, are of the utmost importance in assisting parents in the preparation of a vocation.
These well understood general principles also shed light on the words of the Angel and of Our Lady at Fatima who encouraged the three little children so much to make sacrifices; it was also a profound way to educate them, to form their character. Would that our Christian mothers had the humility and wisdom to imitate the One whose mission was to educate Wisdom Incarnate!
May God keep you all in His grace in this New Year!
Father Daniel Couture
France, Italy and Ecône, 18 June – 3 July 2020: directed by Father Jules Bélisle. Visit of some shrines on the way to the ordinations at the seminary of Ecône. Cost $3510. The person to contact is Ms Jacinthe Bélisle: [email protected]
Lourdes and Ecône: Oct-Nov.2020 Two groups from Canada will join the FSSPX international pilgrimage next fall.
The Montreal group (Oct. 23- Nov. 3), led by Father Couture, will also visit: Rocamadour, La Sainte-Baume (Saint Mary Magdalene), Le Laus and Annecy (Saint François de Sales and Saint Jeanne de Chantal) on their way to Ecône. Cost: $3300. The person to contact is Ms Jacinthe Bélisle: [email protected]
The Toronto group (Oct. 23- Nov. 2), led by Father Boulet, will visit other shrines between Lourdes and Ecône: Avignon, La Salette and Ars. Contact person: Frank Kasmara [email protected]