In 2004 the General Administration established November 26 as “SCJ Memorial Day,” a time of remembrance for members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart who gave their lives as martyrs. It was on November 26, 1964, that Bishop Joseph Wittebols, along with six other SCJs, were martyred in Congo. They were among 28 members of the community who were killed during the country’s Simba Revolution. In total, there are 49 SCJ martyrs.
The day of remembrance has evolved into a more general moment for giving thanks for all of the SCJs who have died -who have devoted their lives to the congregation, and in particular, the Dehonian charism.
This year, the congregation remembers in a special way another SCJ who died on November 26: Fr. André Prévot. Born in 1840 in southern France, he died in 1878. Fr. André was ordained a priest for the diocese of Aix, in southern France, but with his ordination soon came a desire for religious life. In 1885 he professed his first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart and then became the SCJs’ first novice master. In a letter dated March 21, 1923, Fr. Leo John Dehon wrote that “Father Prévot was more the founder of our Congregation than I was.”
During Fr. André’s 22 years as novice master, approximately 600 men moved through the novitiate, most of whom professed their first vows and lived the rest of their lives as SCJs. Fr. André also served as the first Provincial Superior of what was then the Western Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, and in 1913 he was named assistant general superior alongside Fr. Dehon.
Click here to read more about Fr. André Prévot on the congregational website, where there is also a prayer service for Dehonian Remembrance Day.
Click here to read a 2014 article in Dehoniana about Fr. Dehon and Fr. Prevot written by Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ.
Let the Priests of the Sacred Heart pray for your loved ones and intentions.