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Birth: 1878

Death: 1903

As a youth, Joseph-Marie Cassant, of Casseneuil, France, was hampered in his school studies by a very poor memory. Because of this difficulty, Joseph's ardent desire to become a priest seemed unattainable, but his parish priest encouraged him to consider entering the Trappist Order, recognizing in the young man a contemplative disposition. At the age of sixteen, Joseph entered the Trappist monastery of Sainte-Marie du Desert near Toulouse. The novice master, Father Andre Mallet, took Joseph under his wing, telling him, "Only trust, and I will help you to love Jesus!" Father Andre patiently supported the insecure novice, who was plagued with the fear that Father Andre would give up helping him. Gifted with child-like simplicity, Joseph overcame his intellectual deficiencies, passing his examinations after suffering repeated humiliations from an impatient theology professor. Joseph was ordained a Trappist priest on October 12, 1902. Soon afterward, he was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis. Resigned to his fate, he observed, "When I can no longer celebrate Mass, Jesus can take me from this world." He died on June 17, 1903.

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