Posted in MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, MIRACLES, REDEMPTORISTS CSSR, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Nostra Signora dell’Immacolata Concezione / Our Lady of the Conception, Naples, Italy (1618) and Memorials of the Saints – 9 December

Nostra Signora dell’Immacolata Concezione / Our Lady of the Conception, Naples, Italy (1618) – 9 December:

The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of the Conception, at Naples, so called because, in the year 1618, the Viceroy, with all his Court and the soldiery of Naples, made a vow, in the Church of Our Lady the Great, to believe and defend the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin.

Pedro Tellez-Giron, 3rd Duke of Osuna, was the Viceroy of Naples under King Philip III of Spain. He was a Spanish nobleman born in 1574 and married in 1594. He joined the army of the Archduke of Austria as a mere private but his ability and courage, must have been considerable, as he was soon placed in command of two cavalry companies. He fought in several battles and was seriously wounded on two occasions before being made the Viceroy of Sicily in 1610.
When he took this new position as Viceroy, the Spanish had not a single galley on the island that was seaworthy. It was necessary to remedy that problem at once, as Sicily was vulnerable to Barbary pirates as well as potential attacks of the fleet of the Ottoman Empire. Within two years he was no longer in a weak position, and as he had 8 galleys and several other ships in the new navy, he used them to attack Ottoman territory.
In the summer of 1613 his fleet encountered a larger Ottoman fleet under the command of Sinari Pasha. The encounter lasted three hours and became known as the Battle of Cape Corvo. Sinari Pasha was captured, and Mahamet, Bey of Alexandria and son of Muezzinzade Ali Pasho, Commander of the Ottoman fleet at the battle of LepanTo, was also captured.
In 1616 Pedro Tellez-Giron was promoted to Viceroy of Naples and it was during this time, that the now Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece ,made his vow to defend what would later become a Dogma of the Catholic Faith, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This doctrine was not actually formally proclaimed by the Church until the Blessed Pope Pius IX formally proclaimed it, on 8 December 1854, in the Papal Bull, Ineffabilis Deus. The Napule have a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin of the Immaculate Conception as manifested by this immense “Guglia” Column or Spire proudly displayed in Naples.

St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548) Visionary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Layman. (Optional Memorial)
St Juan Diego:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/saint-of-the-day-9-december-st-juan-diego-cuauhtlatoatzin-1474-1548/

And About the Tilma:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/st-juan-diegos-tilma-9-december-2/

St Adam Scotus
Bl Agustín García Calvo *
Bl Antonio Martín Hernández *
St Auditor of Saint-Nectaire
St Balda of Jouarre
St Bernhard Mariea Silvestrelli
St Budoc of Brittany
Bl Carmen Rodríguez Banazal *
St Caesar of Korone
St Cephas
Bl Clara Isabella Fornari
St Cyprian of Perigueux
Bl Dolores Broseta Bonet *
Bl Estefanía Irisarri Irigaray *
St Ethelgiva of Shaftesbury
St Gorgonia
Bl Isidora Izquierdo García *
Bl José Ferrer Esteve *
Bl José Giménez López *
Bl Josefa Laborra Goyeneche *
Bl Josep Lluís Carrera Comas *
St Julian of Apamea
Bl Julián Rodríguez Sánchez *

St Leocadia of Toledo (Died c 304) Virgin Martyr. Hearing of the Martyrdom of St Eulalia, she prayed that God would not prolong her exile but unite her speedily with her beloved Lord in His glory.
Her Life and Death:

https://anastpaul.com/2020/12/09/saint-of-the-day-9-december-saint-leocadia-of-toledo-died-c-304-virgin-martyr/

Blessed Liborius Wagner (1593-1631) Priest and Martyr, Confessor, Teacher.
His Life and Death:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/09/saint-of-the-day-9-december-blessed-liborius-wagner-1593-1631-priest-and-martyr/

Bl María Pilar Nalda Franco *
St Michaela Andrusikiewicz
St Nectarius of Auvergne

St Peter Fourier CRSA (1565-1640) “The Good Father of Mattaincourt,” Priest, Founder, Reformer, Confessor, Ascetic, Theologian, Teacher, Preacher, Apostle of Prayer, Penance and Charity, Marian devotee. Together with the Blessed Alix Le Clerc, in 1597, Fourier founded the Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of St Augustine, who were committed to the free education of children, taking a fourth vow to that goal.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/09/saint-of-the-day-9-december-st-peter-fourier-c-r-s-a-1565-1640/

St Proculus of Verona
Bl Recaredo de Los Ríos Fabregat *
St Syrus of Pavia (1st Century) Bishop
St Valeria of Limoges
St Wulfric of Holme

Blessed Mercedarian Fathers – (10 beati): The memorial of ten Mercedarian friars who were especially celebrated for their holiness.
• Arnaldo de Querol • Berengario Pic • Bernardo de Collotorto • Domenico de Ripparia • Giovanni de Mora • Guglielmo Pagesi • Lorenzo da Lorca • Pietro Serra • Raimondo Binezes • Sancio de Vaillo

Martyred Salesians of Valencia – (5 beati)
Martyrs of North Africa – (4 saints): Twenty-four Christians murdered together in North Africa for their faith. The only details to survive are four of their names – Bassian, Peter, Primitivus and Successus.

Martyrs of Paterna – (7 beati)
Martyrs of Samosata – (7 saints): Seven martyrs crucified in 297 in Samosata (an area of modern Turkey) for refusing to perform a pagan rite in celebration of the victory of Emperor Maximian over the Persians. They are – Abibus, Hipparchus, James, Lollian, Paragnus, Philotheus and Romanus. They were crucified in 297 in Samosata (an area in modern Turkey).

Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War – (13 beati):
• Blessed Agustín García Calvo
• Blessed Antonio Martín Hernández
• Blessed Carmen Rodríguez Banazal
• Blessed Dolores Broseta Bonet
• Blessed Estefanía Irisarri Irigaray
• Blessed Isidora Izquierdo García
• Blessed José Ferrer Esteve
• Blessed José Giménez López
• Blessed Josefa Laborra Goyeneche
• Blessed Josep Lluís Carrera Comas
• Blessed Julián Rodríguez Sánchez
• Blessed María Pilar Nalda Franco
• Blessed Recaredo de Los Ríos Fabregat

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 9 December

St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548) (Optional Memorial)

St Juan Diego:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/saint-of-the-day-9-december-st-juan-diego-cuauhtlatoatzin-1474-1548/

And About the Tilma:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/st-juan-diegos-tilma-9-december-2/

St Adam Scotus
Bl Agustín García Calvo *
Bl Antonio Martín Hernández *
St Auditor of Saint-Nectaire
St Balda of Jouarre
St Bernhard Mariea Silvestrelli
St Budoc of Brittany
Bl Carmen Rodríguez Banazal *
St Caesar of Korone
St Cephas
Bl Clara Isabella Fornari
St Cyprian of Perigueux
Bl Dolores Broseta Bonet *
Bl Estefanía Irisarri Irigaray *
St Ethelgiva of Shaftesbury
St Gorgonia
Bl Isidora Izquierdo García *
Bl José Ferrer Esteve *
Bl José Giménez López *
Bl Josefa Laborra Goyeneche *
Bl Josep Lluís Carrera Comas *
St Julian of Apamea
Bl Julián Rodríguez Sánchez *
St Leocadia of Toledo (Died c 304) Virgin Martyr
Blessed Liborius Wagner (1593-1631) Priest and Martyr
His Life and Death:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/09/saint-of-the-day-9-december-blessed-liborius-wagner-1593-1631-priest-and-martyr/
Bl María Pilar Nalda Franco *
St Michaela Andrusikiewicz
St Nectarius of Auvergne

St Peter Fourier CRSA (1565-1640)
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/09/saint-of-the-day-9-december-st-peter-fourier-c-r-s-a-1565-1640/

St Proculus of Verona
Bl Recaredo de Los Ríos Fabregat *
St Syrus of Pavia
St Valeria of Limoges
St Wulfric of Holme

Blessed Mercedarian Fathers – (10 beati): The memorial of ten Mercedarian friars who were especially celebrated for their holiness.
• Arnaldo de Querol • Berengario Pic • Bernardo de Collotorto • Domenico de Ripparia • Giovanni de Mora • Guglielmo Pagesi • Lorenzo da Lorca • Pietro Serra • Raimondo Binezes • Sancio de Vaillo

Martyred Salesians of Valencia – (5 beati)
Martyrs of North Africa – (4 saints): Twenty-four Christians murdered together in North Africa for their faith. The only details to survive are four of their names – Bassian, Peter, Primitivus and Successus.

Martyrs of Paterna – (7 beati)
Martyrs of Samosata – (7 saints): Seven martyrs crucified in 297 in Samosata (an area of modern Turkey) for refusing to perform a pagan rite in celebration of the victory of Emperor Maximian over the Persians. They are – Abibus, Hipparchus, James, Lollian, Paragnus, Philotheus and Romanus. They were crucified in 297 in Samosata (an area in modern Turkey).

Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War – (13 beati):
• Blessed Agustín García Calvo
• Blessed Antonio Martín Hernández
• Blessed Carmen Rodríguez Banazal
• Blessed Dolores Broseta Bonet
• Blessed Estefanía Irisarri Irigaray
• Blessed Isidora Izquierdo García
• Blessed José Ferrer Esteve
• Blessed José Giménez López
• Blessed Josefa Laborra Goyeneche
• Blessed Josep Lluís Carrera Comas
• Blessed Julián Rodríguez Sánchez
• Blessed María Pilar Nalda Franco
• Blessed Recaredo de Los Ríos Fabregat

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 9 January – Blessed Alix le Clerc/Teresa of Jesus CND (1576-1622)

Saint of the Day – 9 January – Blessed Alix le Clerc/Teresa of Jesus CND (1576-1622) known as Mother Alix -Religious, Teacher, Apostle of the Poor and Founder of the Canonesses of St Augustine of the Congregation of Our Lady (French: Notre-Dame), a religious order founded to provide education to girls, especially those living in poverty.   They opened Schools of Our Lady throughout Europe.   Offshoots of this order brought its mission and spirit around the globe.bl alix le clerc.jpg

Alix (the local form of Alice) Le Clerc was born into a wealthy family in Remiremont in the independent Duchy of Lorraine, part of the Holy Roman Empire.   She was a vivacious girl who loved music and dancing.   She would spend her evenings partying with her young friends.   When she was about 18, her family moved to Mattaincourt, a manufacturing centre.

Conversion:
Three years later, a sudden illness confined her to her bed.   While there, her only reading material was a devotional book.   From the reading and reflection, while recuperating from her illness, Le Clerc began to feel the need for a change in her life.   She approached the Parish Priest of the town, Dom Peter Fourier, with whom she shared this growing conviction.   She was considering the religious life but that none of the religious orders appealed to her.

A vision of Our Lady answered her questioning and gave her the direction she sought, as she felt called to care for the daughters of the poor of the region, who had little or no access to education.   Supported in this by Fr Fourier (1565–1640), who himself had seen the desperate need for this among the rural populace of his parish, Alix resolved to commit her life to this goal.   She was joined in this enterprise by four of her friends, with whom she established a community where they could follow lives of simplicity, prayer and respecting the presence of God in each girl whom they would receive for instruction.

Foundress:
On Christmas Day 1597, Alix and her companions made private vows in the parish church to Fr Fourier.   The small community opened their first school the following July in Poussay, where they offered free education to the girls of the duchy.   Expansion of their work developed quickly, with communities being opened in Mattaincourt (1599), Saint-Mihiel (1602), Nancy (1603), Pont-à-Mousson (1604), Verdun and Saint-Nicolas-de-Port (1605).   All the schools took the name of Notre-Dame.

Alix established herself in Nancy, capital of the duchy and devoted herself to the care of the girls who came to the schools of the new congregation.   At the same time, working through major obstacles, she and Fourier developed constitutions for the new congregation through which the communities could be legally recognised by the Church and the State.bl alix le clerc mosaic.jpg

The vision Le Clerc and Fourier had was one in which schools would give a free education to all, poor and rich and all girls would be welcome, regardless of whether they were Catholic or Protestant.   Additionally, the other needs of their locales would be answered, with visits to the sick and poor.   They encountered resistance to this open form of life from the hierarchy, who did not look favourably on their teaching outside a cloister.   In consultation with the first Sisters, especially Le Clerc, the final form of the constitutions which Fourier wrote took an innovative answer to this, by allowing two ways of life to those women who wished to follow the goals of the congregation.   In keeping with ancient practice, each community would be autonomous, subject to the local bishop and would each have to seek this formal recognition on its own, from the local religious authorities.   The houses were to be of two forms, all following the Rule of St Augustine, as well as the constitutions:

“Convents whose members who would take public vows (canonesses) and would observe full monastic enclosure, wearing the habit of the congregation.
Convents whose members would take private vows (Daughters/Sisters of the congregation) and would be free to leave the convent, with the approval of the Superiors of the house for any legitimate purpose, such as going to Confession, participating in Mass when unable to do so in the convent, or participating in works of charity.   They would not wear the religious habit of the Congregation but instead one developed for that community.”
The first approval for the Constitutions came on 6 March 1617 from the Bishop of Toul, in whose territory Nancy then lay, as a result of which that became the first monastery of the congregation.   Le Clerc and the members of that community professed public vows on 2 December 1618, at which time she took the religious name of Teresa of Jesus, after the great Carmelite foundress.   Immediately following the ceremony, Fourier met with the assembled Superiors of the various houses and distributed copies of the approved constitutions, for their study and observance.   Shortly after that, the canonesses of Nancy held their first formal elections and Sr Teresa of Jesus was elected the prioress of the community.

st peter fourier.jpg
St Peter Fourier

Sr Teresa of Jesus oversaw the development of the congregation as the various houses, each in their own turn, became formally recognised.   For the rest of her life, she led the development of the spiritual and practical aspects of the lives of the canonesses in the various monasteries.   She would visit each new community, to instill in them the spirit of their founding, saying to them, “May God be your only love!” Que Dieu soit votre amour entier!  reflecting the deep spiritual life she maintained in the midst of her responsibilities in the congregation.431px- bl Alix_Le_Clerc_3

Death and veneration:
Sr Teresa of Jesus died on 9 January 1622 at the convent in Nancy.   She was buried in the cemetery of the convent in a lead coffin.

The cause for her Canonisation was begun in the latter part of the century but proceeded slowly.   The monastery in Nancy was destroyed during the upheavals of the French Revolution and the traces of the grave were lost.   With the re-establishment of Catholic institutions in France in the early 19th-century, the cause was taken up again but faced the difficulty of there being no remains, normally required during the process.   Various efforts were made by a number of priests to find Le Clerc’s remains in the precincts of the former cloister of the monastery over the next century, without success.

Despite this obstacle, the Holy See decided to proceed with the Beatification of Mother Teresa of Jesus.   This was celebrated by Pope Pius XII on 4 May 1947.

Finding her remains:
Not long after this declaration of her holiness by the Church, in 1950 a group of young students in Nancy was exploring the basement of a building in the city and found a lead coffin buried nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) below the ground.

By 1960, the remains were conclusively identified as those of Blessed Alix and were placed for veneration in the chapel of the Notre Dame School of the city.   A special chapel was eventually built for the remains in the cathedral and they were transferred there on 14 October 2007, where they are available for veneration by the public.

Legacy:
The congregation spread throughout France, into which the duchy was forcibly absorbed in the 1630s.   Within thirty years of Le Clerc’s death, the monastery which had been established in Troyes was instrumental in the extension of her vision to the New World. Through a connection with the governor of Fort Ville-Marie in the colony of New France, the canonesses had offered to go there to educate its children but the governor felt, that the colony was unable to support a cloistered community of teachers at that stage of its development.   Instead, they recruited St Marguerite Bourgeoys, the president of a sodality attached to the community, to bring this service to the colony.   She went there in 1653 and within five years her work there led to the founding of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal, an unenclosed institute of religious sisters with the same goal of free education for the poor.   Today, they have 1,150 Sisters serving worldwide.

The congregation had also spread to other regions of Europe by the time it faced a century of upheaval, starting with the French Revolution, which closed many of their houses.   In central Europe, communities were scattered, moving back and forth between Germany (founded in 1640) and Bohemia.   Out of this chaos, Theresa Gerhardinger, a former student of the suppressed monastery in Stadtamhof, came to found the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1833.   It currently has 3,500 members working in over 30 countries around the world.

At the time of St Peter Fourier’s Canonisation in 1897 by Pope Leo XIII, thirty convents of the congregation still functioned in Europe.   Over the next decades, the congregation expanded to South America, Africa and Asia and they now serve in 43 nations.   Their mission has expanded to include work for human rights, such as the protection of the rights of migrants and the promotion of justice for developing nations.   The General Chapter of 2008 formally recognised the many groups of alumni and associates of the congregation which had sprung up around the world as full partners in the heritage of St Fourier and Blessed Alix Le Clerc.AlixPierre.gif

Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception +2019 – 9 December and Memorials of the Saints

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception +2019

https://anastpaul.com/2017/12/08/the-feast-of-the-immaculate-conception-solemnity-8-december/

https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/08/8-december-the-solemnity-of-the-immaculate-conception/

St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548) (Optional Memorial)

About beloved St Juan Diego:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/saint-of-the-day-9-december-st-juan-diego-cuauhtlatoatzin-1474-1548/

And About the Tilma:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/st-juan-diegos-tilma-9-december-2/

St Adam Scotus
Bl Agustín García Calvo *
Bl Antonio Martín Hernández *
St Auditor of Saint-Nectaire
St Balda of Jouarre
St Bernhard Mariea Silvestrelli
St Budoc of Brittany
Bl Carmen Rodríguez Banazal *
St Caesar of Korone
St Cephas
Bl Clara Isabella Fornari
St Cyprian of Perigueux
Bl Dolores Broseta Bonet *
Bl Estefanía Irisarri Irigaray *
St Ethelgiva of Shaftesbury
St Gorgonia
Bl Isidora Izquierdo García *
Bl José Ferrer Esteve *
Bl José Giménez López *
Bl Josefa Laborra Goyeneche *
Bl Josep Lluís Carrera Comas *
St Julian of Apamea
Bl Julián Rodríguez Sánchez *
St Leocadia of Toledo
Blessed Liborius Wagner (1593-1631) Priest and Martyr
Bl María Pilar Nalda Franco *
St Michaela Andrusikiewicz
St Nectarius of Auvergne

St Peter Fourier CRSA (1565-1640)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/09/saint-of-the-day-9-december-st-peter-fourier-c-r-s-a-1565-1640/

St Proculus of Verona
Bl Recaredo de Los Ríos Fabregat *
St Syrus of Pavia
St Valeria of Limoges
St Wulfric of Holme

Blessed Mercedarian Fathers – (10 beati): The memorial of ten Mercedarian friars who were especially celebrated for their holiness.
• Arnaldo de Querol • Berengario Pic • Bernardo de Collotorto • Domenico de Ripparia • Giovanni de Mora • Guglielmo Pagesi • Lorenzo da Lorca • Pietro Serra • Raimondo Binezes • Sancio de Vaillo

Martyred Salesians of Valencia – (5 beati)
Martyrs of North Africa – (4 saints): Twenty-four Christians murdered together in North Africa for their faith. The only details to survive are four of their names – Bassian, Peter, Primitivus and Successus.

Martyrs of Paterna – (7 beati)
Martyrs of Samosata – (7 saints): Seven martyrs crucified in 297 in Samosata (an area of modern Turkey) for refusing to perform a pagan rite in celebration of the victory of Emperor Maximian over the Persians. They are – Abibus, Hipparchus, James, Lollian, Paragnus, Philotheus and Romanus. They were crucified in 297 in Samosata (an area in modern Turkey).

Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War – (13 beati):
• Blessed Agustín García Calvo
• Blessed Antonio Martín Hernández
• Blessed Carmen Rodríguez Banazal
• Blessed Dolores Broseta Bonet
• Blessed Estefanía Irisarri Irigaray
• Blessed Isidora Izquierdo García
• Blessed José Ferrer Esteve
• Blessed José Giménez López
• Blessed Josefa Laborra Goyeneche
• Blessed Josep Lluís Carrera Comas
• Blessed Julián Rodríguez Sánchez
• Blessed María Pilar Nalda Franco
• Blessed Recaredo de Los Ríos Fabregat

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 9 December – St Peter Fourier C.R.S.A. (1565-1640)

Saint of the Day – 9 December – St Peter Fourier C.R.S.A. (1565-1640) Priest, Founder, Reformer, Confessor, Theologian, Teacher, Preacher, Apostle of Prayer, Penance and Charity, Marian devotee  – “the Good Father of Mattaincourt” “le bon pere de Mattaincourt” – born Pierre Fourier and died on 9 December 1640 at Gray, Haute-Saone (modern France) of natural causes.

ST Pierre_Fourier_09061

Peter Fourier was born at Mirecourt, Lorraine, on 30 November 1565.   At fifteen he was sent to the University of Pont-à-Mousson.   His piety and learning led many noble families to ask him to educate their sons.   He became a Canon Regular in the Abbey of Chaumousey and was ordained in 1589.   By order of his abbot he returned to the university and became proficient in patristic theolog – he knew the “Summa Theologica” of St Thomas by heart.

Before saying his first Mass he passed several months of retreat in the exercises of prayer, penance and tears.   He was then sent to complete his theological studies at the university of Pont-au-Mousson, also in Lorraine.   There Father Jean Fourier, a relative who was Rector of that University, directed him admirably.   His progress in virtue and the sacred sciences placed him high in the opinion of the Cardinal of Lorraine and Bishop of Metz, who desired to have him in his diocese;  he offered him a parish where his talents would bring him advancement.   But the young priest, wishing to flee all honours, declined, to return to his Abbey.Saint-Peter-Fourier-1

After his return to his canonical community, however, he was subjected to two years of hostility and abuse by his fellow canons, even by some accounts a case of attempted poisoning.   He chose not to confront his abbot with the situation and accepted this persecution patiently.   The care of local parishes in that region of France was routinely entrusted to the many abbeys and priories of canons.   In 1597, when his abbot was assigning him a post, Fourier passed over two prestigious options and accepted the post of vicar of the parish of Mattaincourt in order to combat the indifference to religion widespread in the town, and to counter nascent Calvinism in the area. He went on to spend the next twenty years of his life serving its people.

To this end, Fourier instituted two major reforms that showed his intelligence and concern for his flock.   The first of these was to improve the financial lives of his community by setting up a community bank, from which the townspeople could borrow without interest.   His motto in serving the parish was ‘to feed only one person, was to to be of use to all.’  His second innovation was in his preaching style, where he employed dialogues with small groups of his parishioners to explain better their Catholic faith to them.   He had his pupils engage in dialectics on Sundays on the various virtues and vices in practice by the congregation.   This style proved immensely successful.

Fourier led an extremely ascetic way of life while serving the people of his parish. He would spend much of the night in prayer.   He refused the services of a housekeeper, even when his own stepmother offered to provide his care.   His severe self-denial enabled him to direct much of the income of the parish to the needy of the town.   He himself would often spend the night nursing the sick of the town.

541px-SaintPierreFourier
18th-century statue in the former Abbey Church of Moyenmoutier, Vosges, France

The success of Fourier’s pastorate in inspiring his flock to a greater fidelity to the faith was brought to the attention of the local bishops of the region.   They prevailed upon him to go about to different parishes to preach to the people.   He did so and, as a result of seeing the situation of the populace throughout the region, he was struck by the depths of their ignorance and superstition.

Together with the Blessed Alix Le Clerc, in 1597, Fourier founded the Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of St Augustine, who were committed to the free education of children, taking a fourth vow to that goal.   Soon there were six schools run by his spiritual daughters.   He played an active role in their education, being credited with the invention of the blackboard and its use in the classroom, as well as the division of students into classes of a similar level of instruction.   By the time of his death, the number of schools run by the canonesses had grown to forty.   They went on to spread throughout France, Germany and England.

st peter fourier 497px-Coulaures_église_vitrail_(8)
Stained glass window depicting St Peter Fourier, C.R.S.A., with the white sarozium of a canon regular
Church of Saint Martin, Coulaures, Dordogne, France

Fourier’s vision also extended to the life of his own Order.   He sought to revive a spirit of fervour and discipline in the communities of the canons regular.   In 1621 the Bishop of Toul, Jean des Porcellets, chose him to organise the canonical communities in his diocese. He, therefore, entrusted the ancient Abbey of St Remy in that city to Fourier and six companions, where they could lead the way of life he envisioned.   Within four years, eight houses of the Order had embraced his reform.   In 1625 they were formed into a new congregation of all the priories of canons in the duchy.   To reinforce the reform, any canons who wished to join had to undergo a new novitiate and profession of vows. Otherwise they could retire with a pension from the canonical life.   On 11 February 1628 they were officially named the Congregation of Our Saviour by the Holy See.st peter fourier

The method of reform established by Fourier served as a model for the reform of the canons regular in the Kingdom of France, where, with the support of Cardinal Rochefoucauld, the Congregation of France was established with these same conditions. In 1625, Fourier was charged with preaching to the people of the Principality of Salm-Salm, which had embraced Calvinism.   Within six months his gentle persuasion and efforts were rewarded with the re-establishment of Catholicism in the realm.

Fourier himself was elected as Abbot General of the congregation in 1632.   He hoped to guide his fellow canons to caring for children, as the canonesses were doing.   This vision never took root among the men, however.

After the invasion by the Kingdom of France of the Duchy of Lorraine in 1632 under Cardinal Richelieu, Fourier refused to swear an oath of loyalty to King Louis XIII of France.   Thus he and his community were forced to flee their monastery in 1636, taking refuge in the town of Gray in the neighbouring County of Burgundy.   Fourier and the canons with him were occupied in that city nursing plague victims.   It was there that he died on 9 December 1640.

His spiritual sons, his spiritual daughters, the good people of Gray in Bourgogne, who had welcomed him and whom he had served admirably during an epidemic of the pestilence, all wanted the honour of possessing his mortal remains.   But so did also the parish of Mattaincourt. To the reformed Order of Saint Augustine this privilege was granted officially but the pious women of Mattaincourt, blocking the church door, would not permit the Canons to resume their journey with the coffin, after they had stopped in his former parish for a day or so.   His heart had already been left to the parish of Gray.

St Peter spread everywhere devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. More than two centuries before the Miraculous Medal in 1830 and the proclamation of the dogma in 1854, he saw to the distribution of large quantities of a medal he had struck, on which were engraved the words – “Mary was conceived without sin.”st-peter-fourier

Miracles abounded at his tomb, as they did during his lifetime, by his prayers.   He was Beatified by Pope Benedict XIII in 1730 and Canonised by Pope Leo XIII in 1897.   St Peter Fourier is honoured by a statue of him in St Peter’s Basilica among the founders of religious orders.

The vision of Fourier was exported to Canada in 1654 by St Marguerite Bourgeoys CND (1620-1700), who was the president of a sodality of volunteers associated with the work of the cloistered canonesses.   Moving to New France at the invitation of its governor, she became one of the early founders of the new colony.   There she established the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal, which was the first to provide education to the children of the colonists, as well as to the Native American children.   Her work has been highly successful both there and in the United States of America.