Post by Elizabeth on May 15, 2019 2:52:15 GMT
Saint Michael Garicoits
Saint Michael Garicoits was born in 1797 on a small farm in the south of France, near the town of Ibarre, not far from Lourdes and from Betharram, an ancient pilgrimage site. Later the mother house of the Congregation which he founded, the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Betharram, was established at that site.
He was ordained a priest at Bayonne in 1823, and spent two years as Assistant in the parish of Cambo, where he established the devotion and confraternity of the Sacred Heart. He was summoned to the Major Seminary of Betharram to serve as a professor of philosophy and theology in 1825, and he became Superior there in 1831.
In 1832 he made a retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, which strengthened in him his desire to found a new Society of Priests, a desire confirmed by his superiors' approbation. He had been greatly impressed by the poverty he had seen practiced by a holy Foundress of a Congregation of Sisters, herself compared to Saint Teresa of Avila, who during her lifetime saw 99 houses of her Congregation established in several countries. Saint Michael desired the same practice of poverty for his priests, as he had seen instituted under the direction of Saint Elizabeth Bichier des Ages, who founded the Daughters of the Cross, or Sisters of Saint Andrew. Saint Elizabeth was, by a singular disposition of Providence, later canonized the same day as Saint Michael. Both Saints taught the importance of the interior life as the unique and irreplaceable source of any serious apostolate.
In his early efforts as founder, the fervent priest was faced with the opposition of his bishop, who desired that the new Institute be placed more specifically under diocesan authority than under that of its religious Superiors. Saint Michael, devoted to the Will of God, the point of departure to attain sanctity, remained in submission for long years. In 1875, after a wholly supernatural intervention which occurred in the nearby Convent of Pau through the intermediary of the Arab Carmelite, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, the Institute as he conceived it was approved in Rome under Leo XIII. This occurred after the holy Founder had already been called to his reward in 1863.
Miracles by the dozens had followed his death, and the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Betharram spread in the lands of South America, as well as in France, England and Italy, where they direct teaching activities.
At the canonization, Pius XII exhorted the religious of the Institute of the Sacred Heart and the Daughters of the Cross, present at the canonization of their respective Founders, to maintain the primitive spirit of their Congregations, saying: Be deaf to the temptation to sacrifice your religious life and personal sanctification to the apostolate. That would be similar to gathering beautiful flowers from a tree to form a bouquet, and afterwards wanting to find fruit on barren branches.
In the beginning of the fourth century, great levies of troops were made throughout Egypt for the service of the Roman emperor. Among the recruits was Pachomius, a young pagan, then in his twenty-first year. On their way down the Nile the recruits disembarked at a village near the Thebaid, whose inhabitants gave the strangers food and money. Marveling at this kindness, Pachomius inquired who they were; he was told they were Christians, who hoped for remuneration only in the life to come. He then prayed God to make the truths of that wondrous faith known to him, and promised in exchange to devote his life to His service.
When he was discharged, he went to a Christian village in the Thebaid, where there was a church; he joined the group of catechumens, was instructed and baptized. Desiring to consecrate his life to God, he sought out Palemon, an aged solitary, to learn from him the paths to perfection, and with great joy embraced the most severe austerities. Their food was bread and water, once a day in summer, and once every two days in winter; sometimes they added herbs, but mixed ashes with them. They slept only one hour each night, and this short repose Pachomius took while sitting upright without support.
Three times God revealed to him that he was to found a religious order at Tabenna. An Angel then gave him a rule of life for a monastery which would require fewer corporal austerities, to accommodate persons whose fear of those practices prevented them from adopting religious life. Trusting in God, he built a monastery, although he had no disciples; but vast multitudes soon flocked to him, and he trained them in perfect detachment from creatures and from self.
Pachomius opposed vanity and vainglory in all its manifestations. One day one of the monks, by dint of great exertions, contrived to make two mats instead of the one which was the usual daily task, and set them both out in front of his cell, that Pachomius might see how diligent he had been. But the Saint, perceiving the motive which had prompted his act, said, This brother has taken a great deal of pains, from morning till night, only to give his work to the devil. Then, to cure him of his delusion, Pachomius imposed on him as a penance to keep to his cell for five months, under a very severe regime.
The visions and miracles of the Saint were innumerable, and he read all hearts. His holy death occurred in 348.