21 September 2012

Blessed Louis Brisson: Beatification 22. Sept. 2012

Rev. Louis Brisson

Tomorrow the Oblates of St Francis de Sales as well as the Oblate Sisters of St Francis de Sales and the Visitation Sisters celebrate the beatification of Father Louis Brisson, the co-founder of the first two groups and chaplain to the third. (Lest we forget how influential women religious have been in such situations we should note that it was through the influence of the Mother Superior at the Visitation monastery that Father Brisson eventually began both the Oblates and Oblate Sisters. Mother Mary de Sales Chappui prevailed on Fr Brisson to undertake the projects but it took decades of discussions and three miraculous interventions before he established the community of priests which St Francis de Sales had intended to found centuries before.)

The St Francis de Sales' Cross
Father Louis was an amazingly faithful, creative, and inventive man. For him faith and science were two sides of the same coin. A priest, educator, and scientist, he created an astronomical clock which is still working today; it is considered to be so accurate that NASA scientists have studied it. Those describing the ticking of the clock describe it as a great heartbeat which reflects the heartbeat of God within his creation. Thus, the St Francis de Sales' cross is a cross with clock gears inside it. St Francis de Sales wrote a meditation on the dynamic between the temporal and the eternal and found in the temporal continuing evidence of God's creative handiwork.

St Francis de Sales statue

The beatification ceremony will be in Troyes, France where the Oblate Sisters have a house and where Fr Brisson's remains are located; my pastor along with a group of Oblates from the US are attending.

Today's readings remind us that it takes the development of real character to be called a Christian. We are fortunate to have men like Louis Brisson to remind us what this means.