November 20, 2015
Fr. Leo John Dehon: founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart
The death of the righteous is precious to God, says the psalmist [Psalm 116:15]. We have seen this clearly on Calvary. The convict became righteous by his penitence and received the promise of paradise from our Lord. He is very righteous: he regrets his sins and he humbles himself. “We,” he says, “have deserved our punishment.” He reprimands his companion, who blasphemes. He says to him, “Do you have no fear of God?” [Luke 23:39-43]. He witnesses to the holiness of our Lord and he invokes our Lord. May we die in these dispositions! “He who dies in the fear of God will have a sweet and blessed death” [Sirach 1:13].
Let us always be ready. The righteous are never surprised. If we are united habitually to our Lord, death will come without disturbing us. We will see it come with joy, as St. Paul says, “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain” [Philippians 1:21]. Let us apply ourselves to the works that are entrusted to us, and the awareness of accomplishment will give us confidence at the moment of death. Do not our works follow us before the throne of God? [Revelation 14:13].
Have we not also a guarantee of immortality in Holy Communion if we receive it worthily? “The one who eats this bread will live forever” [John 6:58]. Devotion to Mary and St. Joseph also assures us of their help at the time of death. Above all, let us be faithful to our consecration to the Sacred Heart. Let us fulfill our obligations well. Let us live for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for his service, for his love, and for his consolation.
Ah! How sweet to die after having a constant devotion to the Heart of him who must judge us! For this, I renew all my resolutions of love and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In advance, I accept death, which is due me a thousand times, as a sacrifice of reparation, of expiation, and of love.
Leo John Dehon, SCJ, The Year with the Sacred Heart, “The Death of the Righteous,” Second Introductory Meditation for the Month of July
Oblation: the daily practice of offering oneself to God
“Death in the Sacred Heart is a happy one,” writes Fr. Dehon to his spiritual sons in 1912. “All our dead have offered their lives for the reign of the Sacred Heart, for reparation, for the Society, and for the sanctification of consecrated souls, so dear to our Lord. Many of these edifying lives and deaths deserve to be recorded so that we can remember them.” And so this year, on November 26, SCJ Memorial Day, we remember the deceased SCJs from the first foundations in Canada and the United States up until 1978:
1930 Br. Franҫois Berger, SCJ
1934 Fr. Joseph Huet, SCJ
1935 Fr. Matthias Fohrman, SCJ
1939 Fra. Theophane Prenderville, SCJ
1940 Fr. Edmond Gaborit, SCJ
1941 Fr. Henry Hogebach, SCJ
1941 Br. Fidelis Mueller, SCJ
1945 Fr. Richard Seibel, SCJ
1946 Fr. Francis Baumeister, SCJ
1947 Fr. Francis Schneider, SCJ
1949 Fr. John Cochet, SCJ
1950 Fra. Theodore Piotrowski, SCJ
1951 Fr. Aloysius Gallagher, SCJ
1952 Br. Francis Thomas, SCJ
1952 Fr. Anthony Nabity, SCJ
1956 Br. Joseph Bélanger, SCJ
1956 Fr. John Van Buuren, SCJ
1957 Fr. John Emonts, SCJ
1957 Fr. Dennis Law, SCJ
1958 Fr. Charles Keilmann, SCJ
1961 Fr. Francis Mattingly, SCJ
1963 Fr. Aloysius Lubowiecki, SCJ
1965 Fr. Patrick Meyer, SCJ
1968 Fr. Stephen Hogya, SCJ
1968 Fr. John Flanagan, SCJ
1969 Fr. Joseph Speyer, SCJ
1969 Fr. Daniel Duuring, SCJ
1969 Fr. Theodore Schoemaker, SCJ
1969 Fr. Francis Reuser, SCJ
1970 Fr. Michael Noonan, SCJ
1970 Fr. Bernard Rotermann, SCJ
1971 Mr. Walter Hagerty [Honorary]
1971 Fr. Richard Kiefer, SCJ
1972 Fr. Patrick O’Neill, SCJ
1973 Fr. Rudolph Hould, SCJ
1974 Fr. Gisbert Beck, SCJ
1975 Fr. Angelico Koller, SCJ
1975 Fr. Bernard Ros, SCJ
1975 Br. Aloysius Beuers, SCJ
1976 Fr. Cornelius Aarden, SCJ
1976 Fr. Luke Brickel, SCJ
1976 Mr. Joseph Rooney [Honorary]
1976 Fr. Antoine Ooms, SCJ
1976 Fr. Jean Walters, SCJ
1976 Br. Matthias Schafer, SCJ
1976 Fr. Leo Hermans, SCJ
1977 Br. Gregory Meyer, SCJ
1977 Fr. Arthur Houle, SCJ
1977 Fr. Léo Weusten, SCJ
1977 Mr. Thomas O’Brien [Honorary]
1977 Fr. Joseph Murphy, SCJ
1977 Fr. Gerard Wubbels, SCJ
1977 Fr. Charles Talsky, SCJ
1978 Fr. Guillaume Berkers, SCJ
1978 Fr. Phillip Robenalt, SCJ
Lived and Shared: contemporary expressions of Dehonian Spirituality
The strength of an institution, such as a Religious Community, is based on and evaluated by its foundation. Its continued effectiveness, its contribution to the Church in the present time is a result of the faith, the courage, and commitment to its founding principles. This is true of the United States Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
There are very few of the present membership of the Province who knew the 39 members who died up to the end of 1978. I knew all but eight. These died before I became associated with and a member of the US Province in 1946. I had heard of those eight and of their contributions to the first years of the community in the United States.
Those that I knew, beginning with Fr. Aloysius Gallagher, who died in December 1951, set a tone and spirit that is still very much alive today in the present membership, very much alive in those of us who make up the upper third age group of the membership. The middle third know our stories of the pioneer and first US members—the founders or initiators of what became the ministries of the Province beginning in the late 40’s and early 50’s.
These pioneers are credited with the seminary programs in Hales Corners, Donaldson, Lenox, Honesdale, Great Barrington, and Victorville. Sad to say, only Hales Corners remains. The early names to be remembered: Charles Keilmann, Angelico Koller, Bernard Rotterman, Richard Keifer, Aloysius Beuers. They laid the foundations and are well remembered by the present elders of the Province.
South Dakota claims the pioneers: John Emonts, Charles Keilmann, Francis Mattingly, Joseph Speyer, Patrick O’Neill, Matthias Schafer. The early Mississippi missionaries: John Flanagan, Steve Hogya, Gregory Bezy.
These are the first generation US Province members who died before the end of 1978. In the minds of us who remember them they are recalled with admiration for their religious fidelity and courageous work in the ministry. They are truly the foundation stones on which we built. They are the first builders, the cornerstones. Hopefully, we have learned from them and continue to appreciate the legacy they left us.
There are others from those pioneer years who lives extended into the late 80’s who should be recalled and remembered as well, but that is for someone else to tell of their contributions and accomplishments.
Charles Yost, SCJ
Prayer: hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve
In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayer all deceased SCJs from around the world. The following prayer is adapted from the “Service for Deceased Confreres” in the Prayer Book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart
God of life eternal,
through baptism into Christ’s death
and vows of love and oblation,
our deceased brothers offered their lives
in our Congregation
for the work of the Gospel.
As we remember them,
we entrust them to your mercy.
Pardon their failures
and grant that the memory of their dedicated service
continues to proclaim the reconciling presence
of Christ in the world.
We make this prayer
in the name of the Heart of Jesus.
Each week reflections and prayers based in the Dehonian charism are published on the Dehonian Spirituality page of the U.S. Province website of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. This is an email version of that update.
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