Manliness and Fortitude: Venerable Emmanuel d'Alzon
five hundred priests to the secular clergy alone, in addition to those who joined religious orders. The following years saw him active in three journalistic efforts. The first venture was the Christian Education Review, which had as its purpose to unshackle Catholic education from the tyranny of the Liberal state.
The second, begun in 1877, was a weekly magazine called Le Pelerin (The Pilgrim), chronicling their extensive apostolate of organizing penitential pilgrimages across France, especially to Lourdes. Third, early in 1880 the fledgling congregation began publishing a daily newspaper, La Croix ("The Cross"). The name and the crucifix colophon on each issue were a reaction to the contemporary anti-religious atmosphere of France, where the use of crucifixes in classrooms and even on gravestones was forbidden.
The paper, which still exists, was begun as a work to defend the rights of the Church, especially in the field of education. Until his health failed, Father Emmanuel had a column in each of this paper's daily issues. Both Le Pelerin and La Croix were under the capable editorship of Father Vincent de Paul Bailly, a man who lived the Assumptionist ideal beautifully and whose cause for beatification is pending.
La Croix's fight for the liberty of the Church was an uphill battle, one that exhausted the last months of the venerable founder's life. Fr. d'Alzon could see that his congregation would soon be expelled from France. He therefore began making preparations to disperse his religious to Spain and England. The year was 1880, his last in this vale of tears, yet it still witnessed his tending to the spiritual formation of his novices, feverishly working in the apostolate of the press, and fighting like mad for the future of his congregation. On November 21, Fr. d'Alzon went to his reward, surrounded by his brethren, and dying in the most edifying of dispositions. At the time of his death, the Assumptionists had some eighty five perpetually professed members.
"The Triple Love"
Part of the Assumptionist vocabulary of devotion is the "Triple Love," an idea the founder first heard from his spiritual daughter, Blessed Marie-Eugenie of Jesus, the foundress of the Religious of the Assumption. The Triple Love is the love of Our Lord and all that He loves - first Our Lady, then the Church. "The spirit of our Congregation," he says, "can be expressed very briefly as: love of Our Lord, of the Blessed Virgin, His Mother, and of the Church, His Bride."
Here is Fr. d'Alzon on the love of Our Lady: "If Mary is my model, she is also my mother, for she adopted me on Calvary, at the foot of the Cross. She accepted me as her child, when, so to speak, she was still drenched with the blood of Jesus which was poured forth for me. And in spite of the revulsion she must have had for me, since it was for my sins that her Son died. From now on I am her child. . What a debt of tenderness and gratitude do I not owe her?"
His love for the Church was based on the Scriptural doctrine that all Jesus did was for the Church and that, by the will of God, the Church is the conduit through which His children receive supernatural life. He saw the antithesis of the Church in "The Revolution" (with a capital "R"), a personification of all those elements that oppose the Church, as embodied in the Masonic French Revolution.
Regarding the Church and the Revolution, Venerable Emmanuel said this: "Everything has been done for the elect, who subsist only in the Church. We love the Church because she holds all the treasures of the supernatural order which were entrusted to her by her Heavenly Spouse and which the Revolution hates.." "The Church," he says in another place, "is what is dearest to God, for God can love nothing more than he loves his Church. The more I will see the Church being persecuted, the dearer she will be to me. Her humiliations will bring me sorrow, to be sure, but at the same time they will be the strongest motive to surround her, on earth and as my weakness allows, with all possible glory."
Father d'Alzon, besides being an edifying model of charity, was also a sterling exemplar of a virtue very much needed today: fortitude. The man exuded Christian manliness. Look at his picture: that determined face was not just a pose. Christian courage was a subject he both lived and ...
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An online journal edited by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Benedict Center, New Hampshire.
Keywords: Venerable Emmanuel d'Alzon, Blessed Marie-Eugenie of Jesus, Brother Andre Marie
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