Rome, 27th February 2018
Dear Confrères, Lay Spiritans and all members of the Spiritan family,
Fraternal greetings from the General House in Rome.
On the occasion of Blessed Daniel Brottier’s feast, I am writing to the whole Spiritan family because this is a special moment for the Congregation.
On the 2nd of October 2016 I was appointed Postulator General to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints at the Vatican. In view of that, I had to do a course organised by this dicastery and on the 24th of January 2018 I completed the final part of the course. In the meantime I have been in contact with the Congregation for the Cause of Saints following up the five files presented on our founders and other confrères: Blessed Daniel Brottier, Blessed Jacques Laval, Venerable Fr. Libermann and the two Servants of God Fr. Claude François Poullart des Places and bishop Joseph Shanahan. In this letter I would like to update you on the present situation and propose some important aspects which might help us to go forward on these cases so that they achieve their goal: the beatification and canonisation of our founders and confrères.
Where are we regarding these five causes?
Claude-François Poullart des Places:
The file on our founder was officially presented to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints on 16th November 2005. On the 17th November 2005 an official request for the opening of the process was made in Rome. On the 24th May 2008, the Congregation for the Cause of Saints replied positively to the opening of the process in Rome. But the file still needs to comply with the legal norms set by the Congregation. At the moment, Fr. Yves-Marie Fradet is re-working the file so that it can be sent to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints. This does not mean the whole file has to be re-done but that it has to be completed according to the criteria of the dicastery. Probably by June 2018 we will be able to re-submit it to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints.
Venerable Fr. Francis Mary-Paul Libermann:
Concerning the cause of Venerable Fr. Francis Mary-Paul Libermann, we are waiting for a miracle. Once one has been identified, we will begin the necessary legal process.
Blessed Jacques Désiré Laval:
One miracle will be enough for the canonisation of our confrère Blessed Jacques Désiré Laval. To help us achieve this, the General Council has appointed Fr. Bernard Hym, of the Spiritan Group of Mauritius, to be the Vice Postulator for the island of Mauritius. Fr. Hym, who has spent many years in Mauritius, is a specialist on the “Fr. Laval file”. The legal process cannot be opened until we have a miracle from Blessed Fr. Laval.
Blessed Daniel Brottier:
The cause of our confrère Blessed Daniel Brottier is going forward a little. Three possible miracles are being studied, of which one is more promising than the other two. This refers to a “miracle” which took place in the diocese of Luçon in France, in the Vendée. The commission of enquiry has been set up and on the forthcoming 28th February (feast of Blessed Daniel Brottier) it’s first solemn meeting will take place. Mass will be celebrated before the meeting. Fr. Yves-Marie Fradet will be present. Let us all pray that, on his very feast day, this miracle through the intercession of Blessed Daniel Brottier will be approved at the diocesan level.
Bishop Joseph Shanahan
His file has not yet arrived in Rome. The Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary are in charge of it.
“Reputation for Holiness”: new e-mail address
It is important and necessary for a cause to go forward, that the reputation for holiness of a Servant of God or a ‘Beatus’ is solid, that is to say, “it must be stable, continuous in nature, accepted by worthy people and widely spread among a significant number of the people of God”. (Sanctorum Mater, Title II –Art.7 §2). In the case of our founders and confrères, this reputation for holiness is already established, but it needs to be more widely spread among the people of God. The reputation for holiness must have been continuous in their lifetimes and be seen to expand more among the people of God. The stronger it is the better, in order to advance the cause of our founders and confreres.
Here are some ideas, which are already known, to help you to spread the reputation for holiness of our founders and confrères.
- Web site: there are already websites in our different circumscriptions which highlight the life and spirituality of our founders and confrères. I draw your attention to the need to be very specific concerning who has been prayed to in order to obtain a possible miracle for presentation. This is very important!
- Have presentations at our various meetings on the life and spirituality of our founders. The retreats we have are very important for this as well as the novenas sent out by the General Council.
- Print pictures/make videos/compose music/recommend our founders and confreres to young people, choirs and other groups.
- Pray together for the healing of a sick person (for example, the whole Congregation prayed through the intercession of Fr. Libermann for the healing of Fr. Sabença)
- The General Council can appoint a Vice-Postulator for the cause of Spiritan saints in our different circumscriptions. If there already exists such a person in your circumscription, please send me their name and e.mail address.
- Next year, for the month of prayer for the mission of the Church organised by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, it would be good to highlight the witness of different confreres who have devoted their lives to the mission.
It is clear that the Postulator alone cannot help the causes of our confreres to progress. We need to work together and support each other to realise any special graces obtained through the intercession of our founders and confreres. To this end an e.mail address has been created: firstname.lastname@example.org Do not hesitate to write to me!
I wish to thank you all in advance for the work you already do so that our ‘Beati’ and Servants of God are raised to the altars. I wish all of you a very happy feast of Blessed Daniel Brottier and a grace-filled Lenten season.
Orlando Zanovelli – General Postulator