Ordinary Time: October 3rd
Friday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, virgin; Bl. Columba Marmion, abbot (Ire); St. Gerard of Brogne, abbot (Hist)
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus. Her feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on October 1.Historically it is the feast of St. Gerard of Brogne who was born in the county of Namur. He trained for the army, as a page of the count of Namur he was sent on a special mission to the French court. He stayed in France and joined the Benedictines of St. Denis. After some eleven years he was ordained priest, and left for Belgium in order to found a new abbey on his own estate of Brogne. He was its abbot for twenty-two years and during that period was instrumental in introducing St. Benedict's Rule into numerous houses in Flanders, Lorraine and Champagne. He was noted for his engaging sweetness of temper.
Blessed Columba Marmion, Abbot Bl. Columba Marmion was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 1 April 1858 to an Irish father (William Marmion) and a French mother (Herminie Cordier). Given the name Joseph Aloysius at birth, he entered the Dublin diocesan seminary in 1874 and completed his theological studies at the College of the Propagation of the Faith in Rome. He was ordained a priest at St Agatha of the Goths on 16 June 1881.He dreamed of becoming a missionary monk in Australia, but was won over by the liturgical atmosphere of the newly founded Abbey of Maredsous in Belgium, which he visited on his return to Ireland in 1881. His Bishop asked him to wait and appointed him curate in Dundrum, then professor at the major seminary in Clonliffe (1882-86). As the chaplain at a convent of Redemptorist nuns and at a women's prison, he learned to guide souls, to hear confessions, to counsel and to help the dying.In 1886 he received his Bishop's permission to become a monk. He voluntarily renounced a promising ecclesiastical career and was welcomed at Maredsous by Abbot Placidus Wolter. His novitiate, under the iron rule of Dom Benoît D'Hondt and among a group of young novices (when he was almost 30), proved all the more difficult because he had to change habits, culture and language. But saying that he had entered the monastery to learn obedience, he let himself be moulded by monastic discipline, community life and choral prayer until his solemn profession on 10 February 1891.He received his first "obedience" or mission when he was assigned to the small group of monks sent to found the Abbey of Mont César in Louvain. Although it distressed him, he gave his all to it for the sake of obedience. There he was entrusted with the task of Prior beside Abbot de Kerchove, and served as spiritual director and professor to all the young monks studying philosophy or theology in Louvain.He started to devote more time to preaching retreats in Belgium and in the United Kingdom, and gave spiritual direction to many communities, particularly those of Carmelite nuns. He become the confessor of Mons. Joseph Mercier, the future Cardinal, and the two formed a lasting friendship.During this period, Maredsous Abbey was governed by Dom Hildebrand de Hemptinne, its second Abbot, who in 1893 would become, at the request of Leo XIII, the first Primate of the Benedictine Confederation. His frequent stays in Rome required that he be replaced as Abbot of Maredsous, and it is Dom Columba Marmion who was elected the third Abbot of Maredsous on 28 September 1909, receiving the abbatial blessing on 3 October. He was placed at the head of a community of more than 100 monks, with a humanities college, a trade school and a farm to run. He also had to maintain a well-established reputation for research on the sources of the faith and to continue editing various publications, including the Revue Bénédictine.His ongoing care of the community did not stop Dom Marmion from preaching retreats or giving regular spiritual direction. He was asked to help the Anglican monks of Caldey when they wished to convert to Catholicism. His greatest ordeal was the First World War. His decision to send the young monks to Ireland so that they could complete their education in peace led to additional work, dangerous trips and many anxieties. It also caused misunderstandings and conflicts between the two generations within this community shaken by the war. German lay brothers, who had been present since the monastery's foundation by Beuron Abbey, had to be sent home (despite the Benedictine vow of stability) at the outbreak of hostilities. After the war was over, a small group of monks was urgently dispatched to the Monastery of the Dormition in Jerusalem to replace the German monks expelled by the British authorities. Finally, the Belgian monasteries were separated from the Beuron Congregation, and in 1920 the Belgian Congregation of the Annunciation was set up with Maredsous, Mont César and St André of Zevenkerken.His sole comfort during this period was preaching and giving spiritual direction. His secretary, Dom Raymond Thibaut, prepared his spiritual conferences for publication: Christ the Life of the Soul (1917), Christ in His Mysteries (1919) and Christ the Ideal of the Monk (1922). He was already considered an outstanding Abbot (Queen Elisabeth of Belgium consulted with him at length) and a great spiritual author.He died during a flu epidemic on 30 January 1923.Excerpted from the Vatican Website
St. Gerard of Brogne
St. Gerard entered this world blessed with the advantages of noble birth and a naturally pleasing disposition which made him universally liked, yet he saw through the emptiness of a worldly life. Upon returning from a hunting trip one day, he retreated to a chapel, where he sighed, "How happy are they who have no other obligation but to praise the Lord night and day, and who live always in His presence." St. Gerard had a vision in which St. Peter asked him to bring the relics of St. Eugenius to Brogne, Belgium. Upon completing this task, St. Gerard entered into religious life at the monastery of Saint-Denis, where he was later elevated to the priesthood. After founding an abbey of monks on his own estate at Brogne, the Saint set up a cell for himself near the church so he could live a life of reclusion. He was not allowed to remain a recluse for long though. God soon called him to reform the abbey of St. Ghislain, where the monks would expose the relics of their founder in exchange for money. Due to his success there St. Gerard was later given the commission to reform all the abbeys in Flanders. For nearly twenty years, he labored for their reformation by the Rule of St. Benedict. Toward the end of his life, St. Gerard made one last general visit to each of the monasteries under his direction, then retired to his cell at Brogne to prepare for his death.
St. Théodore Guérin
St. Theodore (Anne Therese) Guerin was born Oct. 2, 1798, in the village of Etables, France. Her devotion to God and to the Roman Catholic Church began when she was a young child. She was allowed to receive her First Communion at the age of 10 and, at that time, told the parish priest that someday she would be a nun.