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A sounding of Marcellin’s sanctity

 

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Ten years on from the Canonization (III)

07/04/2009: General House

Much of what is said in this reflection points to the fact that a canonization is an opportunity for sounding the sanctity of the person canonized, in our case, Saint Marcellin Champagnat. By means of the saint’s life we are told what strong bonds can be woven between God and man. A canonization offers us a practical lesson in sanctity, but with feelings of love and of pride, for the saint here is our Founder, our Father. It is a joyful lesson.

Let us also mention that John Paul II was the pope of numerous canonizations, more than 400, and of beatifications, more than 1800. He wanted to tell us that sanctity is possible, that the saints live among us, that the Spirit of the Lord is at work and often successfully.

And also that the saints are likeable persons. Benedict XVI, in one of his audiences, said that « the saints are like stained glass windows seen from inside when the sun penetrates in all its splendour. » A very similar definition is that which a young man has openly applied to the saint : « A saint is someone who allows the light to shine through » (Fr. Gabriel Bolduc, Ensemble, 3 juin 1999).

During the thanksgiving Mass on 19 April 1999, Benito recalled how Marcellin viewed the saints : « A saint… is like an open book in which the learned as well as the ignorant can read all that they have to do to come to salvation ». And the Superior General continued : « It comes back to us, Marists of the entire world, to contemplate this model in order to incarnate his spirit and make his charism present. ».

Br. Laurent Potvin reminds us of another view of Father Champagnat about saints : « What is a saint ? Marcellin, asked this question one day by his Brothers, replied : « A saint is a light and a sun ; he lights up and invigorates all those around him ! »… The example of Marcellin Champagnat enlightens us and warms our hearts. We are convinced : a saint is indeed a human light. ( Ensemble 8 juin 99).

On 18 April 1999, in the cathedral of Nairobi, the apostolic nuncio, His Excellency Monseigneur Giovanni Tonucci, surprised the young Brothers of M.I.C and the friends who had come to rejoice with us : « In his life, Marcellin was distinguished by two characteristics : strong hands and a tender heart. Yes, hands strong and calloused, accustomed to manual work… Marcellin did not hesitate to involve himself and his young Brothers in the building of the Hermitage and in all the maintenance work necessary for the buildings, tools, grounds... But this went in hand with a tender heart, towards his Brothers with whom he lived, first of all, and then towards all who came to him. Champagnat was demanding, but he tempered his demands with the kindness of his heart, his joyful character, his serenity in judging others, his promptness in welcoming those who might have gone astray. He knew how to be understanding.».

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Br. Giovanni Bigotto

Marcellin is present
The event of the Canonization

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