|Written by Servant Maria||0 Comments|
A few weeks ago I went to Marytown in Libertyville, IL to the Institute on Religious Life Meeting. While I was there, Marytown was holding a used book sale. I found many wonderful books and among them was a book written in the 1930’s about a priest named Father Adophe Petit, S. J. It was his picture and the joy you can see on his face that caught my attention.
Adolphe was orphaned at a early age and began his young life as the apprentice of a piano maker. Being filled with faith and devotion, he would go to church and often light a candle and pray by Our Lady’s statue. He desired to be a priest, but did not think it possible because he was so poor. A holy woman who also prayed in the same place noticed the devout young lad and asked him if he desired anything. He shared with her his great longing to be a priest. She, knowing the rector of the Jesuit school, spoke with him and they took Adolphe and educated him without charge. He applied himself to his studies and excelled (even more remarkable because he had a sketchy educational background up till then.) He became a Jesuit priest and eventually became famous in Belgium (I forgot to tell you that is where he was from!) for giving retreats to thousands over his long life of 92 years. He lived a very holy life and it was on this day…May 3 exactly 100 years ago today, in 1914, that he went to his eternal reward.
His life story is one of deep prayer and great faith and holy simplicity. His cause was introduced in the 1930’s and he was proclaimed Venerable in 1966 (as Bishop Baraga was recently), but, alas, interest in his cause completely disappeared (which is not surprising to me knowing the spiritual state of Belgium, where euthanasia is commonplace). Therefore the cause for his canonization was closed in 1992.
But the cause is not closed with me and I hope to reprint the old book about him, or maybe write a simple one myself (though I find my book writing time rather limited!) I also found an old book from Fr. Petit translated into English of the instructions of one of his retreats. I think it has some sound advice that people could use today. These projects will probably be off in the future since I’m working on Elisabeth Leseur’s works this year. (She, too, died 100 years ago this May, but on May 3)
Let us ask Fr. Petit to pray for us that we may respond generously to God as he did and bring light and joy those to all around us.