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St Claude de la Colombiere

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Of French nobility, Claude felt a call to religious life from an early age. Educated at Jesuit college in Lyons, France, he became a priest. He taught humanities at Avignon. He preached against Jansenism, advocating dedication to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He became a Jesuit in 1659 and was spiritual director to Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque during the revelation to her of The Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Visitation Convent Chapel in Paray-le-Monial, in the heart of France.

Later appointed Chaplain to Mary Beatrice d'Este, the Duchess of York, wife of the king's brother, at the court of Charles II, he converted many Protestants through the example of his holy life. Due to rumours of "Popish" plots against the king and fear of the re-establishment of Catholicism in England, Claude was imprisoned and accused of being part of the Titus Oates Plot. It was only by the efforts of Louis XIV, who had recommended him for the assignment, that he was not martyred. Banished from England, his health was ruined by prison. He returned to Paray to die. The day after his death in 1682, Saint Margaret received supernatural assurance that Claude de la Colombière needed no prayers, as he was in heaven already.

Claude de la Colombière is considered a "dry" martyr, having suffered every abuse for the faith, but death. His bones are preserved to this day in a glass case in the beautiful 'La Colombière' Church in Paray-le-Monial.

 Biographical details:

Born:             2 February 1641 at Grenoble, France
Died:            15 February 1682 at Paray-le-Monial of hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
Beatified:     16 June 1929 by Pope Pius XI
Canonized:  31 May 1992 by Pope John Paul II in Rome

 

To Jesus My Friend

By Claude de la Colombière, S.J.

JESUS! You are my true Friend, my only Friend. You take a part in all my misfortunes; You take them on Yourself; You know how to change them into blessings; You listen to me with the greatest kindness when I relate my troubles to You, and You have always balm to pour on my wounds.

I find You at all times; I find You everywhere, You never go away: if I have to change my dwelling, I find You there wherever I go. You are never weary of listening to me, You are never tired of doing me good. I am certain of being beloved by You, if I love You; my goods are nothing to You, and by bestowing Yours on me, You never grow poor; however miserable I may be, no one nobler or cleverer or even holier can come between You and me, and deprive me of Your friendship; and death, which tears us away from all other friends, will unite me forever to You. All the humiliations attached to old age, or to the loss of honour, will never detach You from me; on the contrary, I shall never enjoy You more fully, and You will never be closer to me than when everything seems to conspire against me to overwhelm me and to cast me down. You bear with all my faults with extreme patience, and even my want of fidelity and my ingratitude do not wound You to such a degree as to make You unwilling to receive me when I return to You. O Jesus, grant that I may die praising You, that I may die loving You, that I may die for the love of you. Amen.

 The Return to London