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Oblates of St. Francis de Sales Founder Beatified
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Saturday, September 29, 2012
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TROYES, France (CNS) — Cardinal Angel Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, presided over the Sept. 22 beatification of French Father Louis Brisson, founder of the Oblates and the Oblates Sisters of St. Francis de Sales.

Some 2,500 people, including a dozen bishops and more than 200 priests, filled the Troyes Cathedral in France for the beatification Mass. Hundreds more watched the ceremony from the cathedral steps.

Father Brisson was ordained a priest of the Troyes Diocese in 1840. The order he founded is known today as the DeSales Oblates.

Addressing French-speaking pilgrims at Castel Gandolfo the next day, Pope Benedict XVI said, "Yesterday, I was spiritually united in the joy of the faithful of the Diocese of Troyes gathered for the beatification of Father Louis Brisson."

The pope encouraged Catholics to follow the example of Blessed Brisson. "He used to say, 'I need God; it is a hunger which devours me.' Like him, learn to hunger for God and constantly turn to him with confidence."

Cardinal Amato told Vatican Radio that Father Brisson's life and mission were marked by his familiarity with the teaching of St. Francis de Sales and by his concern for young people.

In the mid-1800s, Troyes was a bustling city of factories, a mix of wealth and squalor. As a young priest, Father Brisson began workshops and opened hostels for young workers. Rather quickly, he founded the religious orders for women and for men, launching congregations that continue to run schools, colleges and parishes.

When France adopted a strict church-state separation law in 1905, religious schools were closed and many priests and nuns were expelled from France.

Cardinal Amato said Father Brisson reacted with "strength and perseverance in doing good. During those years of affliction, his great serenity and his unlimited faith in divine providence shone through. He died piously Feb. 2, 1908, the feast of the Purification of Mary, at the age of 91."

"That same day," the cardinal said, "his house, the furniture and even the bed upon which he died were put up for auction."

Before beatification, the Vatican must recognize a miracle obtained through the intercession of the candidate. In Father Brisson's case, it involved the 1953 healing of an Ecuadoran boy, Carlos Luis Penaherrera, whose foot was crushed under a tractor wheel. Although doctors feared for his life and told his parents he would never walk without a limp, within a month his foot healed completely. Penaherrera went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and now lives in Ecuador.

Father Brisson's feast day will be Oct. 12.


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