Thought for the Day – 11 September – The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr for Christ
Nothing happens by chance. Neither life, nor death, nor vocation. JOHN GABRIEL PERBOYRE was born in Montgesty, near Cahors, in southern France, on 6 January 1802 into a family which gave three missionaries of St Vincent and two Daughters of Charity to the Church. Such an environment exuded faith, simple and healthy values and the sense of life as gift.
The one who “calls by name” seemed to ignore him as a teenager. The call came to his younger brother Louis for entrance into the seminary. John Gabriel was asked to accompany his younger brother for a time, while waiting for him to get adjusted to the surroundings. John Gabriel’s presence at the seminary, then, happened by chance and he should have left quickly. But chance revealed to the astonished eyes of the young man unexpected horizons: that in the seminary he had found his path.
So many saints seem to have lived centuries ago. Jean-Gabriel is far more recent and we can identify better with his life and circumstances. His life and death speak to us of living the faith in our own times and places. It is said we mock Christ again by the timidity of our witness but John Gabriel had one passion: “Christ and the proclamation of his Gospel. That loyalty to this passion that he possessed, has been equated with the lowly and the condemned but the Church can now solemnly proclaim his glory in the choir of the saints in heaven.” … St Pope John Paul II, Homily of Canonisation, 2 June 1996, Vatican City, Rome
St John Gabriel Perboyre, pray for us!