The Center for Spiritan Studies - Duquesne University
MOMENTS IN THE SPIRITAN STORY Fr. Bernard A. Kelly, C.S.Sp., Director Tracy Torisky, Office Assistant III Center for Spiritan Studies Duquesne University Claude Franois Poullart des Places At the end of the 17th century, there was a rich young man in Rennes, France. When Jesus challenged him, he didnt walk away.
(Mark. 10;22) His name was Claude Franois Poullart des Places Hope for the Poor His well-off parents wanted him to become a lawyer, but he chose to become a priest to help the poor.
Their need came home to him especially when he visited the hospital of St Yves in Rennes Today only the Chapel of St Yves remains. Collge Louis le Grand, Paris He had studied with the Jesuits in Rennes. Then he
went to a Jesuit college in Paris: Collge Louis le Grand. Now the poor who got his attention were clerical students struggling to have something to eat and a place to From being for to being with He began at first to
sponsor one poor student, then a few, while still staying with the Jesuits. Then he made a full commitment, by burning his boats and going to live across the street ( rue St Jacques) with the struggling students. Mary blesses the generosity of the young. On Pentecost
Sunday, 1703, as Claude and his young companions gathered around the statue of Notre Dame de la Bonne Dlivrance in the Church of St. Etienne des Grs, Paris , the Spiritan story began. Notre Dame de la Bonne Dlivrance (Our Lady of Rescue) Dead at thirty, remembered 300 years later.
Claude died 6 years later on 2 October 1709, but the movement to be at the service of the poor gathered strength during the 18th century. Claude and his friend, Grignon de Montfort, worked together and were both devoted to Mary. The Madonna in Sorrow by Sassoferrato
Fr Charles Besnard, third superior general of the Montfortists described (around the middle of the 18th century) the young scholastics gathered in the Holy Ghost Seminary . Their preference is for missionary work, whether it be in foreign lands or at home Fr Charles Besnard continues They volunteer to go and live in areas that are the poorest and most neglected, for which it is difficult to find workers. Whether it is a question of
being sent off to a remote area in the country or being consigned to the oblivion of hospital work; whether it is teaching in a High School, a Seminary, or directing a poor community; travelling to the outposts of the kingdom or staying put but living simply; even if it is a question of crossing the seas and going to the end of the earth to win a person for Christ, their motto remains: We are ready to do Your will; ecce ego, mitte me. (Is. 6, 8) their preference is for missionary work. Towards the end of the century, the Spiritans undertook missionary
assignments overseas: St. Pierre et Miquelon, Guyane Franaise. islands just South of Newfoundland (Canada) Population in 2011: 5,888 The Spiritan Mother House At the time of the French Revolution, the Spiritans were dispersed and their property confiscated. In the 1820s, there
were only 3 members, but they had retrieved their Paris house and were preparing priests for the French colonies. Staircase at 30 rue Lhomond, Paris. Another Missionary pioneer. In 1848, the Spiritans were still struggling to
survive, when they merged with another missionary group: the Society of the Holy Heart of Mary, which was under the leadership of Francis Libermann. Following a dream Libermann was a convert Jew from Alsace, son of the rabbi of Saverne.
Together with two crole seminarians, he had begun a missionary society in 1841. The The Dreamers: Not afraid of adventure. Africa was the main dedication of these missionaries, but in
1845, 3 priests and 2 brothers were members of a group that went to Australia to work with Bishop Brady, bishop of Perth. Quantas had not yet come upon the scene! Rapt attention in difficult conditions In 1848, when the
Libermann group joined the venerable congregation of the Holy Spirit (the Spiritans, founded in 1703), a new era of missionary activity began. Signs and Shapes of Growth. By the end of the 19th century, there were Spiritan
provinces across Europe, the largest ones being in France, Ireland and Holland. People and places. The 20th century was marked by spectacular growth of the Church, especially in Africa. Photo: Pentecte sur le monde
A church taking shape in Kenya Lord let me see again. (Luke 18,41) In Europe and North America, there was an emphasis on the apostolate of education. Spiritan schools were at the service of the Gospel and a seedbed of future missionaries.
Photo: Pentecte sur le monde Eucharist at Duquesne University, USA Renewal of energy from an annual gathering. By the end of the century, the most vibrant experiences of the church were to be found in the Southern hemisphere, especially in Africa
and South America. Photo: Pentecte sur le monde A gathering of Spiritan priests and brothers in Brazil, 2004 The wind blows where it chooses (John 3,8) Spiritan missionaries now went in new directions: to Papua New Guinea, to Australia again,
to Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, to Paraguay and to Bolivia. Photo: Pentecte sur le monde Holy Spirit Parish, Hsinchu, Taiwan Go teach all nations (Mt; 28,19) Very many Spiritan vocations today are Africans. The vital centre of gravity of
the congregation has moved to the Southern hemisphere. Photo: Pentecte sur le monde Wind in our sails The most important Spiritan assembly, its General Chapter, a major moment of assessment and
renewal, takes place every 8 years. It will next take place in July 2012 in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Photo: Pentecte sur le monde Offshore Bagamoyo
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