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Emmanuel d'Alzon
Signs of God N. 20 PDF Print E-mail

Signs_of_God_-No20

Word from the Postulator

A total gift of self to God! What justifies the presence of this theme when treating the cause of Fr. d’Alzon’s beatification? During the meeting of the International Secretariat for the Postulation, held in Rome from May 17-19, 2016, the first of the proposed objectives was to know and make known the Servant of God. And one of the concrete means identified to achieve this goal consisted in spreading the thought and teachings found in his writings. This brings us back to the conviction that Venerable Fr. Emmanuel d’Alzon is a sign of holiness for us, and that he continues to speak to us still today as a man of faith, and to teach us by his personal witness and by his multifaceted apostolic action.

So we are speaking here of an important aspect of the Christian life and the consecrated life since it touches upon the quality and depth of our commitment to follow Christ. Fr. d’Alzon is raising the question, therefore, of the meaning of our total gift to Christ in our consecration to the religious life, a question that is also shared by all Christians by virtue of their baptism. We thought it would make sense in this issue to recall what he says to us about the profound meaning of the total gift of self to God, understood as an ongoing process of the experience of the Christian life and of the consecrated life.

Rev. Julio Navarro Román, A.A.

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Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2017 15:54
 
Signs of God N. 19 PDF Print E-mail

Signs of God N. 19

A Word of the Postulator

We noted in previous issues of Signs of God how, for Fr. d’Alzon, the virtue of mercy is, first and foremost, an attitude of the heart that every Christian, who truly believes in the generous and gratuitous mercy of God, is called to imitate himself : Be merciful as your Father is merciful (Lk 6:36). But mercy also has an apostolic dimension, rooted in charity and in the love of one’s neighbor (Parable of the Good Samaritan). We find the best example of mercy in the attitudes of Jesus himself.

In Fr. d’Alzon, mercy is often translated by “compassion”, especially when it refers to the poor, to those neglected and scorned by society, to those exploited by ‘big money’. So it is that Fr. d’Alzon would make use of lessons drawn from the Fathers of the Church, as we will see in certain of his texts.

The cause of the beatification and canonization of Fr. d’Alzon is making its way. There are many people who are requesting his intercession and informing us that they obtained graces and favors after having had recourse to him in prayer. Twentyfive years ago, on December 21, 1991, Pope John-Paul II proclaimed him Venerable, recognizing that our founder had led a life of holiness and practiced, in a remarkable fashion, the virtues of the Christian life. We hope that the Lord will soon grant us the grace of his beatification.

Rev. Julio Navarro Román, A.A.

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Last Updated on Friday, 30 September 2016 09:47
 
Signs of God N. 18 PDF Print E-mail

Signs_of_God_-No18

A Word of the Postulator

For Fr. d’Alzon, mercy is a virtue that every Christian must cultivate. It flows from charity and is an essential aspect of any apostolic work. One is struck by the great sensitivity that Fr. d’Alzon had for « social work » or the « worker question », from the very first years of his priesthood till the end of his life. The works that he founded or took control of in the diocese of Nîmes are countless: adult education classes for the poor, youth shelters, orphanages, alternative detention centers for juvenile delinquents, workers’ circles, soldiers’ circles, an association for the distribution of Catholic literature, parish libraries, home visits to the poor, foundation of a women’s congregation for domestic workers (The Work of St. Martha), a center for liturgical vestments, the Association of the Ladies of Mercy, etc. He established the Association of Our Lady of Salvation to foster all kinds of social outreach efforts. Among them he included pilgrimages. His first disciples understood perfectly well the spirit that was to permeate these efforts and the importance of this ministry for the Church and the society of their time. Great was the admiration that Fr. d’Alzon had for the ministry founded by Fr. Etienne Pernet, the Little Sisters of the Assumption, and their apostolate among working families. In this newsletter we will cite several extracts from Fr. d’Alzon’s works. « Go and preach the gospel to the poor »!

Rev. Julio Navarro Román, A.A.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 May 2016 14:05
 
Signs of God N. 16 PDF Print E-mail

Signs of God N. 16

A Word of the Postulator

Saints are not born saints. Holiness is, first and foremost, a grace that comes from God; nevertheless, at the same time, it requires a generous response on the part of the Christian who pursues the ideal of becoming a saint. For Fr. d’Alzon, the ultimate goal of his own life was certainly, and always, holiness. And to get there, he had to overcome a lot of obstacles in his way. One of these, he admits again and again, was pride. It was part of his temperament, which, in his own words, he described as “mocking, irritable, proud, and scornful.” And he suffered from it. That is why humility would be one of the virtues he worked hardest to acquire. He recommended it as something essential to his religious and to those who came to him for spiritual direction: “Of all the virtues, humility is surely the most indispensable.” True humility is born of faith, because it places us face to face with God: “God is everything; I am nothing” in relation to him. Humility “arises when we compare who God is to who we are”. Humility leads us to enter into the deepest recesses of our being and to see ourselves as we are with all our weaknesses and problems. Finally, humility facilitates relations with others marked by respect, service, obedience, and love.

Fr. Julio Navarro Román, A.A.

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Last Updated on Monday, 30 November 2015 17:32
 
Signs of God N. 15 PDF Print E-mail

Signs of God N. 15

A Word of the Postulator

For Fr. d’Alzon, obedience as well as humility finds its origin in faith. The most perfect model of obedience is Jesus himself, the Son of God, born of a woman, who became man among us so as to carry out the plans of God his Father. That is why obedience, for our founder, is not simply an ascetical virtue, destined solely for one’s personal sanctification, but is, above all, an apostolic virtue. In the following way the current Rule of Life of the Assumptionists translates these words of Fr. d’Alzon: « Lived in faith and prayer, obedience opens our hearts to God and to all human beings. Gradually, it transforms our tendency to dominate into a desire to serve and to promote the good of others. It reveals our faith and our availability to the will of the Father. It is thus a sign of the Kingdom » (#43). For Fr. d’Alzon, obedience also translated into absolute loyalty and fidelity to the Church, especially to the teachings, guidelines, and decisions of the Pope: « Religious will have absolute and filial obedience first and foremost to Our Holy Father the Pope… » (First Constitutions of 1855, Book I, ch. 10). Let us also not forget that Fr. d’Alzon was himself an energetic and charismatic superior, whom we would describe today as a true leader; he had the knack of forming men and women to be full of creativity, initiative, faith, and generous commitment in their ministry. Not only did he know how to respect their personal gifts, but he also opened them to broad, new horizons where they could exercise their apostolic passion: Étienne Pernet, François Picard, Marie Correnson, Victorin Galabert, Vincent de Paul Bailly, etc.

Fr. Julio Navarro Román, A.A.

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Last Updated on Friday, 18 September 2015 23:30
 
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