Liturgical feast of
Blessed Frederic Janssoone,
On August 5, 2014
on the theme of return to the Gospel,
the source of our Christian faith (2013)
- 1Cor 1, 18-25 : Folly of the cross
- Luke 9, 1-6 : Nothing on the road
Make ourselves poor like the Lord Jesus
Father Frederic Janssoone made himself a pilgrim on the roads, poor and without money, to announce the Gospel. He was Franciscan, son of Francis of Assisi, who gave priority to a spirituality of the incarnation. Throughout his life he celebrated living poverty by imitating God who descended onto earth in Jesus, and went to the lowest human condition. He made himself close to the poor and as such returned to the Gospel. The new Pope Francis speaks to us of a return to simplicity and a Church of the poor.
We can never say enough how, for Good Father Frederic, the proximity to the poor was important. He welcomed them to his abode, he visited them, he listened to them and restored hope in them. All that is still possible in our daily lives.
Poor like the Virgin Mary
Having lived in the Holy Land for 12 years and having received pilgrims at the Tomb of Jesus, he made them taste the enchantment and privilege of being at these very places where Jesus and his most holy Mother lived. It is this same experience of grace and marvel that he wanted to instill in his pilgrims at the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Cap from the outset.
In 1888, 125 years ago this year, was the foundation of the Sanctuary and the miracle of the eyes. During 14 years, he made them relive this wonder by speaking with vigor and passion about the land of Jesus, by making them sing and cry with emotion. He brought certain groups by train and boat to Ste. Anne-de-Beaupre and the Oratory of St. Joseph to his friend Brother Andre.
A believer, hiker and pilgrim
Accustomed to pilgrimages on foot in the Holy Land, he made his pilgrims walk, for the body is very important in the faith experience. The pilgrimage is an affirmation of the importance of the body, which in turn gives conviction to the heart and the spirit. Pilgrims set out under the breath of the holy Spirit, and walks for God. In addition to affirming the fundamental human condition of “pilgrims and strangers in this world” walking toward the celestial Kingdom, the pilgrim puts himself in contact with a profound desire, something which calls and attracts him. Along the way, he is hot, he is hungry, he is thirsty, and even before arriving to the end of his journey of faith, he has the experience of being refreshed, quenched, satisfied by a travel companion, as on the road to Emmaus or Compostella.
The wonder of the night after a day of prayer
At the Sanctuary of Cap de la Madeleine, we celebrated the miracle of the eyes, which took place before three witnesses on June 22, 1888 with Bl. Frederic. During 10 minutes, this miraculous statue was animated, and opened her eyes looking toward Trois-Rivieres, that is toward the Canadian West. The blessed had prophesied that very day that the little Marian shrine would become a national pilgrimage site.
On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of this event, would we be too audacious to ask of Bl. Frederic, a renewal of the miracle of the eyes in the presence of a crowd of pilgrims? In any event, it is not too much to ask Bl. Frederic that all of Canada open its eyes to discover the love of this tender Mother and her Son, Jesus.
It’s a fact that since 1888, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Cap has become the pilgrimage site most frequented by the faithful of Canada and the United States. We are very fortunate to have in our country a great international pilgrimage site dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and several other minor sites dedicated to the Mother of God. Furthermore, we can offer to all of North America, pilgrimages to privileged members of the Holy Family in a radius of 300 km (Mary, Anne, Joseph).
Msgr. de Laval and the founders of New France, with their Holy Family Associations, dreamed of a colony where all of their members would live in the most complete harmony like the holy family. Let us joyfully celebrate Bl. Frederic and all his work to make us love, pray and meet Jesus of Nazareth and His most Holy Mother.