Dehonian Spirituality includes a monthly reflection and prayer based in the spirituality of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians).
Reflections from Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart
Recalling his seminary experience in Rome, Fr. Dehon explains, “I have retained the best and most edifying memories of my classmates. There were six of us in philosophy from the Roman Seminary. Bernard from Cambrai, Tallec from Vannes, and Guilhen from Montpellier had been here already. The first two had been Pontifical Zouaves. Perreau from Chambery and Rivoire from Roanne had made their law studies with me in Paris. Perreau was a doctor and very gentle, a disciple of St. Francis de Sales. I had seen him receive Holy Communion often at St. Sulpice. He was ready for heaven. He died soon after his ordination to the priesthood. He was a good friend, a counselor, and one in whom I confided; one of the beautiful souls I have known. The others became religious: Tallec and Guilhen are Jesuits, Rivoire is a Capuchin, and Bernard is with the Holy Ghost Fathers.
“I had excellent relations also with several students in theology of that year. M. de Brenteniѐre and Poiblanc of Dijon came from good families and were very edifying. Bishop Pie of Poitiers had sent us Dorvan and the Pineau brothers. The latter had studied law and medicine. Both had suffered from their parents’ opposition to their vocation. The younger one became a Capuchin. We had two very distinguished Canadians: Bégin who became bishop and coadjutor to the archbishop of Québec. I became attached to him. He was very friendly and highly intelligent. Paquet became rector of the University in Québec. Caelo represented South America. He had studied at St. Sulpice and became superior of the Seminary in Para, Brazil.
“These were the ones I knew best. From what they became, you can judge their value in piety and studies. Such an environment was very encouraging and very edifying for me. I thank the Lord for this.”
Returning to Rome after vacation,Dehon remembers, “I found my good companions of last year, some of whom were intimate friends such as Perreau, Dugas, Le Tallec, Rivoire, Bretenniѐre, and Poiblanc. There were many new students. One of them, Desaire, became a close friend who shared my views and plans. I had great sympathy for Lucas, a pious Breton, who died a few months later, like Louis [Aloysius] de Gonzaga. I remained at his bedside the night before he died. His faith, resignation, and desire for heaven profoundly impressed me. This seminary provided good and healthy relationships.”
Toward the end of his life, Fr. Dehon confides, “I am conversing with all my friends in my prayers, meditations, and during Adoration: my devout mother, my saintly directors: Fr. Dehaene, Fr. Prével, Fr. Freyd, Fr. Modeste; our holy Sisters: Sr. Marie of Jesus, the Chѐre Mѐre, Mother Véronique; my relatives and friends, and my spiritual sons: Fr. André, Fr. Rasset, Fr. Guillaume, Fr. Modeste.”
In the last year of his life, Fr. Dehon notes the passing of Marquis Renéde la Tour du Pin. “He honored me with his friendship, and he received me in his home. He worked very often with me to spread Christian social ideas. This death reminds me of the beautiful friendships that Divine Providence had bestowed on me. Most of them are already in heaven. I am confident that they are praying for me.”
In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayers your good friends, especially those whom you may have taken for granted over the years. You may find helpful the following prayer, which Fr. Dehon wrote to conclude his meditation on the friendship of the Heart of Jesus.
our divine Friend,
I thank you for your tenderness.
I wish to respond to it
by an ardent desire for perfection
and by constant union with you.