Friday, May 6, 2011
May 6 -- Feast of Francis de Montmerency Laval
The coat of arms at right belongs to Laval University (Allons-y, Rouge-et-Or), named for today's patron saint. Third son of an aristocratic soldier, Francis was educated by the Jesuits and appointed to a parish canon position following his father's death so that his salary could support his family. Natural talent helped him rise in the clerical ranks, but his career was repeatedly interrupted by his need to assist with family management. He became the vicar apostolic of Tongkin, Indochina (Vietnam) but was prevented from traveling to Asia by family needs. He resigned the post, but was eventually appointed to manage the growing congregation in Quebec City. Still a colonial frontier town in 1658, Bishop Francis restored the shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre, built the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and founded both a monastery and a public school system. He also forbade trading alcohol to Native Americans and excommunicated those who broke that rule.
He tried to retire in 1684, but fires in 1701 and 1705 led him to oversee the rebuilding of Quebec City. He was venerated in 1960 and beatified in 1980. The Rouge-et-Or are still waiting for the full canonization.
It is also the feast of St. John at the Latin Gate. St. John the Apostle was arrested in Ephesus and brought to Rome for execution. They set up a pot of oil in which to boil him, but he was unscathed. For the effrontery of not dying, he was exiled to Patmos, where he recorded his extraordinary apocalyptic Revelation.
Posted by Tom Major at 4:00 AM