Posted in MARIAN DEVOTIONS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 22 January – Blessed William Joseph Chaminade SM (1761-1850)

Saint of the Day – 22 January – Blessed William Joseph Chaminade SM (1761-1850) Priest and Founder of the Society of Mary, usually called the Marianists, in 1817, Reformer, evangeliser, teacher, missionary.   The Marianist Family’s other three branches—the married and single men and women of the Marianist Lay Communities, the consecrated laywomen of the Alliance Mariale and the Religious Sisters known as the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.   Born on 8 April 1761 at Perigeux, France and died on 22 January 1850 of natural causes in Bordeaux, France.   Patronages – the Marianists, Marian sodalities.220px-G.-J._bl Chaminade_(Joseph_Vabre,_1954)

Bl. William Joseph Chaminade (he took the name Joseph as his Confirmation name and preferred it) was born in Périgueux, France, in 1761.   He was the 14th child of a deeply Christian family – besides William Joseph, three of his brothers were priests.   In 1771 he entered the minor seminary of Mussidan and four years later made private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.   He was ordained a priest in 1785.

In 1790 after the outbreak of the French Revolution, he moved to Bordeaux, where he spent most of his life.   In 1791 he refused to take the oath of the so-called Civil Constitution of the Clergy and clandestinely exercised his priestly ministry, putting his life in constant danger.   At this time he came to know the Ven. Marie-Thérèse Charlotte de Lamourous (1754-1836), who was one of his closest collaborators and whom he later helped to found the Miséricorde in Bordeaux to aid fallen women.   In 1795 he was given the delicate task of receiving back into the Diocese, priests who, having taken the constitutional oath, wanted to make their peace with the Church.   He facilitated the reconciliation of some 50 priests.bl william joseph Chaminadeportrait

In 1797, during the reign of the Directorate, he was forced to emigrate to Zaragoza, Spain, where he lived for three years.   Near the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar, he forged his Marian-apostolic convictions and was inspired to found a family of religious and laity dedicated to Mary.   In November 1800 he returned to Bordeaux and re-founded the old Marian Sodality on a new basis.

He made every effort to give his sodalists solid religious formation and directed them towards precise apostolic objectives, encouraging them to offer, to an indifferent and de-Christianised society, “the spectacle of a people of saints.”    This sodality would be the basis of his untiring evangelising activity, aimed at the re-Christianisation of France.bl chaminade_aspel[1]

During these years he was named Apostolic Administrator for the reorganisation of the Diocese of Bazas.   In 1801 he received the title of Missionary Apostolic from the Holy See.   It was the official confirmation of his insights into the Church in this new era.

Fr Chaminade viewed his own ministry and that of the Marian Sodalities as a permanent mission directed towards formation in the faith, using new methods and working in close alliance with Mary.bl william joseph chaminade art

The Sodality of Bordeaux spread to other cities of the region and throughout France through groups that asked for affiliation because they wished to follow Fr Chaminade’s inspiration and methods.   He fostered some groups of young men and women who, desiring greater dedication, made private vows and dedicated themselves to the apostolate of the Sodality without leaving their secular work.

In 1816, together with the Ven. Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon (1789-1828), he founded at Agen the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and the following year, at Bordeaux, the Society of Mary.   His first members, who would later be called Marianists, were members of the Marian Sodalities, men and women who wished to respond to the Lord with a more radical commitment, an extension of their baptismal consecration and of their devotion to the Virgin Mary.bl william joseph artwork

The two institutes developed rapidly in France and in 1839 received the decretum laudis from Pope Gregory XVI.   Since teaching was a primary need at that time, both institutes of Marianists, dedicated themselves to primary and secondary schools and to trade schools  . They taught in order to educate and form their pupils in the faith.   Fr Chaminade also conceived an ambitious project to establish a network of teachers’ schools for Christian education.   Some of these schools were founded by sisters and brothers but the 1830 Revolution made their continuation impossible.

During these years Fr Chaminade gave priority to drafting the Constitutions and wrote important circulars on consecration-covenant with Mary and on Marianist religious life. The Society of Mary continued to grow in France, then in Switzerland (1839) and the United States of America (1849).bl william joseph chaminade black and white

After 1836 the Daughters of Mary established a number of rural schools in south-western France for the education and advancement of women.

The last 10 years of his life were a time of severe trial – health problems, financial difficulties, the departure of some disciples, misunderstandings and distrust, obstacles to the exercise of his mission as founder.   He faced these difficulties with great confidence in Mary, faithful to his conscience and to the Church, filled with faith and charity.   He died peacefully in Bordeaux, surrounded by many of his sons, on 22 January 1850. … Vatican.va

Since his death, his orders and apostolates have spread throughout the world and have consistently been sources of evangelisation and conformity to the Catholic Faith.  Blessed William was Beatified by St Pope John Paul II on 3 September 2000, after the confirmation of miracles due to his intercession.bl william joseph chaminade icon

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Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.

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