Founder’s Novena May 2020
We will pray this novena from the height of the Easter Season, a memorial of the New Life to which we are all called, asking then for the Coming of the Holy Spirit, the giver of that New Life, and feeling sent by the Risen One to announce that New Life to the whole world. Great liturgical times lived in historical times no less challenging and under the appearance of death, isolation, and economic and social collapse. We will ask Brother Gabriel to help us pray at this juncture, remembering his words, his life, and the passion he put at the service of the New Life that Jesus, the Christ, offers us so that the Kingdom may continue to show the signs of his presence in history.
The texts are letters or parts of letters written by Brother Gabriel or Brother Amadeus.
09-09-1855 . To Mr. Dr. Boroz, Mayor of Belley
Cholera is threatening the city; even though the purpose of our society is mainly teaching, I place the Brothers at your disposal, Mr. Mayor, for the service of the sick.
Please accept with my offer the expression of the very respectful sentiments with which I have the honor to be, Mister Mayor, your most humble and most attentive servant.
Prayer (for every day)
God our Father, who through the action of your Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, we ask you that, following Venerable Brother Gabriel, we may be like him, missionaries of that New Life in our world, plagued today by a pandemic that puts us in the face of death, isolation and the poverty of millions of brothers and sisters. May we, together with the whole Sa-Fa Family, know how to live and share the joy of the Gospel.
We ask you, Father, for the glorification of your Servant, Venerable Brother Gabriel Taborin, granting us through his intercession the grace we ask for … (you can mention the persons for whom you wish to pray). We ask this insistently through our Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN.
To His Excellency Mgr Irenee Depéry, Bishop of Gap (Hautes-Alpes)
The cholera pandemic in your Episcopal town must have disturbed you, for the heart of a Bishop, like Your Excellency’s, grieves at the scourges that threaten your people. We accompany you with our vows and prayers on your journey to the Holy City, as I told you in the letter I had the honor to address to you before your departure, but we have doubled them when we learned that cholera has reached Gap. I was very much afraid that the epidemic would pass through the doors of the Bishop’s Palace and attack its inhabitants, especially its worthy Head, but thanks be to God, it did not. The Immaculate Virgin, whom you are going to solemnly crown, did not allow your Excellency, the most devout of her followers, be infected; that is why your faithful and friends did not feel that sadness.
To Monsignor Cretin, Bishop of Saint-Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Monsignor Chalandon, our dear Bishop, greets you affectionately; he has preached several pastoral retreats. The one in Bourg will begin next week. There is nothing new in these lands that deserves your Excellency’s attention. Cholera appeared in Seyssel, France, where it wreaked havoc. We have some casualties of this epidemic in Belley, three were buried today; this worries me because a Father of Mercy from Paris is going to preach the retreat that will begin on the 16th of this month, the same one who will preach the retreat of the ecclesiastics of Bourg.
To Bro. Cyril, Director of the Brothers of the Holy Family in Saint-Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
… Cholera has broken out in the country; it has made disasters in Seyssel-France; in ten days, about sixty people have died, three died yesterday and four today in Belley; this makes me uneasy about the retreat. If I fall because of this scourge, know that before I die, I recommend perseverance in your vocation, to live united and as good religious, in a state of grace and humility. In short, it will be what God wants, but do not forget me in your prayers, nor the other Brothers who are praying for you and me in particular.
To the widow of Mr. Roussel, Hospice de la Maternité, Clemont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme)
…let us rejoice because your son has a clear disposition for religious life. Seeing him so well-motivated, I thought I was responding to his wishes, by admitting him to take the religious habit and to the first vows. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, September 22, at eight o’clock in the morning; if you can come, I will be happy to see you. However, I will not hide from you that cholera has reached Belley and has begun to make victims. In Seyssel, near Belley, eighty people have already died in eight days. Pray that the scourge will not strike during the meeting of the Brothers.
Peter liked your letter very much; he thanks you sincerely and embraces you.
Please accept, Madam, my affectionate greetings.
To Sister Arnoux at the Beaune Orphanage (Côte d’Or)
… With the amount of work I have now for the Brothers who are arriving, I cannot leave not even for a minute to explain to you quickly the networks, which make up the object of this painful letter, that I would like with all my heart not to address to you. This poor Brother has no humility at all; he did not ask for forgiveness or show any repentance. This indicates too well what his intentions are!
Please recommend the success of our retreat to your community and pray that cholera will not take hold of our house.
I remain, with respect, your most humble servant.
To His Excellency Mgr Billiet, Archbishop of Chambéry (Savoy)
… I would like to accompany the Brother, but it is impossible for me; in these days of interviews I have no spare moment, I have hardly been able to steal a minute to write these lines, and even now, I am in bed; I thought at first an attack of cholera.
We are happy with the Brother; I dare to hope, Mgr, that our society will have a good priest in him, and you will not regret having given him the holy orders. I am very grateful to you, Monsignor, for this goodness…
I hope that the retreat will produce great fruits of salvation this year since the exercises are being followed with great piety. It is thanks to God’s goodness and to the two great preachers, Father Molliard, religious of the Misericorde of Paris and of cholera that has already caused victims in this city. Thank God, it did not physically enter the novitiate.
To Fr. Béraud, Parish Priest of Blanzy (Saône-et-Loire)
Our Reverend Father Superior cannot answer your letter since he is exhausted by tiredness and cholera. He asked me to write to you and tell you that he would be pleased to see you in Belley, even though it is in his mind to accompany the Brothers to St-Vallier.
You say, dear Father, that the Brothers will go there only on November 11; it would bother us if they had to wait until then. Our superior would like to accompany them around the 10th of next month, could it not be like this? Our Superior also asks if you have verified that the three Brothers in St-Vallier and the two in Sanvignes will have the basic salary. He also wants you to tell him clearly whether you want Bro. Humbert to return to Blanzy or not and if he will continue teaching.
Please accept the expression of the very respectful sentiments with which I have the honor to be, Father, your humble and attentive servant.
Brother Amadeus, Vice-Superior.
To Fr. Berrod, Parish Priest of Dortan (Ain)
Our Reverend Father Superior cannot answer your letter because he is exhausted. Cholera has forced him to stay in bed for two days; he is better now.
He asks me to answer your letter, and to tell you that he will try not to send Bro. Arsenius to you, as you wish; he will find a way to make the change you requested.
The Brothers cannot arrive on Saturday, that is, tomorrow, since tomorrow the retreat ends with the feast of the Holy Family; they can leave only on Tuesday….
Brother Amadeus, Vice-Superior.