Friday, 15 February 2013

St Claude de la Colombière - Patron Saint of SPES

St Claude de la Colombière (2nd February 1641 – 15th February 1682)
Faithful Servant and Perfect Friend of the Sacred Heart
Feast Day: 15th February

St Claude de la Colombière was born at Saint Symphorien-d’Ozen, Diocese of Lyons in France.  He entered the Society of Jesus at Avignon in 1659 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1669.  After ordination he was sent to be the spiritual director to the sisters at the Monastery of the Visitation in Paray-le-Monial, a surprisingly lowly appointment for one of noble background and so highly educated.  God’s Providence was soon apparent, however as Sister (later Saint) Margaret Mary Alacoque began to have revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Fr Claude soon recongnised as authentic. 

In 1676 he was sent to England to be chaplain to the Duchess of York, wife of the future James II.  Open about his Catholicism, he ministered to those who wanted to receive the Faith at court, and amongst the ordinary Catholics of London, who were otherwise deprived of a priest.  Staying in contact with Sister Margaret Mary by letter, he zealously spread the revelations given to her, making the streets around here the first place in  the world to hear the message of the Sacred Heart.

Eventually his evangelisation became too bold and he was imprisoned and sentenced to death.  By the personal intervention of Louis XIV of France this was commuted to exile.  His health never recovered and he died two years later at Paray-le-Morial.
He was beatified in 1929 and canonised by Pope John Paul II on 31st May 1992.

For his zeal in spreading the Gospel in the face of adversity, for his relationship to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and for his connection with the streets around St Patrick’s he was chosen as a patron of St Patrick’s Evangelisation School.

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