17 November 2020
17 Nov 2020

Our “Witnesses” of holiness (I)

Causes of beatification and canonization in the SCJ Congregation: Fr. Léon Dehon and Fr. André Prévot.

by  Ramón Domínguez Fraile, scj

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In the Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et exsultate”, on the call to holiness in the world, Pope Francis states that: “The Holy Spirit bestows holiness in abundance among God’s holy and faithful people, for «it has pleased God to make men and women holy and to save them, not as individuals without any bond between them, but rather as a people who might acknowledge him in truth and serve him in holiness» [LG 9]” (Gaudete et exsultate, 6).

It is true that holiness flourishes and matures in every nation, people, language… wherever you least expect it. Holiness therefore belongs to us all, to each one of us. We are all called to be saints. But in this journey towards holiness there are people, men and women who help us to focus our lives on God, who urge us to be holy. They are our guides and mediators. They are our WITNESSES.

“We are inspired to act by the example of all those priests, religious, and laity who devote themselves to proclamation and to serving others with great fidelity, often at the risk of their lives and certainly at the cost of their comfort. Their testimony reminds us that, more than bureaucrats and functionaries, the Church needs passionate missionaries, enthusiastic about sharing true life. The saints surprise us, they confound us, because by their lives they urge us to abandon a dull and dreary mediocrity” (Gaudete et exsultate, 138).

In our Congregation there are “examples” that we must imitate. Models and intercessors are proposed to us to imitate their path to holiness. We have illustrated their lives, to get to know them better and adopt them as “our witnesses”.

We invite you not only to know their life, through brief biographical profiles, but above all to feel them as our protectors and to pray to God through them. Every day we invoke these models of ours to inspire us to follow the living and Risen Lord who continues to be among us. 

Our first guides in the Congregation: Fr. Léon Dehon and Fr. André Prévot

In this issue we will approach two witness figures from the very beginning of our Congregation. Obviously they are our Founder, John Leo Dehon and the great Novice Master, of whom Fr. Dehon himself said, was a saint: André Léon Prévot.

The Venerable Servant of God Leo Dehon: “Passionately preach the love of God”

Leo Dehon was born in La Capelle (France) on March 14, 1843. At the age of 21, he earned a degree in civil law in Paris, but his vocation was not to be a lawyer.

Later, and against his father’s plans, he went to Rome to study Theology. He was ordained a priest in the Basilica of St. John Lateran on December 19, 1868. He was a direct witness of the First Vatican Council, in which he participated as a stenographer.

He returned to the Diocese of Soissons, in San Quentin. Here he saw the social and religious needs of the city and launched several initiatives: the Society of St. Joseph, St. John’s College and a magazine. In this way, he intended to deal with the social concerns around him.

In 1878 he founded the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJ). He dedicated the rest of his life and all his efforts to it.

He died on  August 12, 1925 in Brussels. In his spiritual testament he left a great gift: “I leave you the most wonderful treasure. The Heart of Jesus”.

Prayer for graces

Almighty and Eternal God,
in your saints you always work wonderful things,
let your faithful servant Leo Dehon,
radiate examples of virtue and zeal.
He worked so hard for the salvation of youth,
and studied so much to spread devotion to the Divine Heart of Jesus.
May he be raised to the honor of the altar;
and by his intercession, and solely for your glory,
grant me the grace,
which I ardently desire. Amen.

The Servant of God André Léon Prévot: “The measure of charity must overflow”

Fr. André Prévot was born in Le Teil (France) on November 9, 1840. In 1885 he entered the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He was a Novice Master, then Provincial Superior and Assistant General.

Throughout his religious life he consecrated himself to the love of the Heart of Jesus and to reparation. He practiced mortification; he loved the interior life and continuous prayer and was animated by an ardent zeal for the salvation of souls. His union with God was habitual and he had great devotion to the Eucharist and to Mary. Self-denial and austerity of life harmonized with charity, patience, gentleness and goodness. His books transfused all of his spiritual, humble, serene and confident features.

He died in Brugelette (Belgium) onNovember 26,  1913.

Prayer of graces

Divine Heart of Jesus, we adore you and love you
as the source of all grace and holiness.
Where a ray of your love rests,
the most beautiful virtues flourish.
Thus you loved Father André Prévot.
Introducing him to the mysteries of your pierced Heart,
you gave him humility, a victim spirit,
and filial tenderness for Mary Most Holy.
Above all you inflamed his heart with divine love
and you made it beat to the rhythm of a charity that surpasses every measure.
Therefore we pray to you, O Divine Heart of Jesus,
to glorify your faithful Servant and to arouse in us a longing for holiness.
Guide us through the difficult paths of virtue,
especially of humility and mortification,
and, through his intercession,
grant us and our loved ones the gift of peace,
the grace that we ask of you…
and the final perseverance in your Heart. Amen.

I want to finish with the most important part. We must not only get to know our mediators and witnesses before God. I invite you to pray through their intercession. May they be of help on our journey, that through them we too may attain holiness.

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