CANADA-UNITED STATESDeath of the former “Sacristan General”
For 35 years, Brother Jean-Paul BEAUDET faithfully and quietly saw to it that everything necessary for the celebration of liturgies at the General House was ready, not only in the main chapel but also in several smaller chapels. He came to be known by many Oblates as the “Sacristan General.” On February 2, 2012, he entered eternity in time to celebrate the Presentation of the Lord with some of the many Oblates he had known and served in Rome. He had returned to his native Canada in December of 2006 and spent his last days with the Oblate community in Richelieu.
In 1950, two years after his first vows, he joined a team of Canadian Brothers who would help maintain the new General House via Aurelia, 290. He had a respite from the traffic of Rome from 1965 until 1971 when he served at the Oblate “Procure” in Paris. He dealt with the traffic in Paris on a motor scooter. Returning to the General House in 1971, he took over the role of “Sacristan General.” In that role, he took pride in the fact that he was the only keeper of the key to the reliquary where the relic of the Founder’s heart is kept.
Outside of the sacristy, he served the community in many other quiet ways. And the General House usually had a supply of maple syrup in the refectory since visitors from Canada knew that this was something greatly enjoyed by Brother Baudet.
Brother Jean-Paul Baudet was one of a long list of Oblates whose generous hearts led them to be missionaries, not on a dog sled in the Arctic nor a river boat in Asia or Africa, but in quiet service to the entire Congregation at its administrative center.
It was with great regret that the Province of Notre-Dame-du-Cap learned, on January 10, that it had just lost a much esteemed confrere in Ottawa, Fr. Laurent ROY, age 87. For ten years, he lived at Maison Deschâtelets where he had retired after 22 years as a missionary in Chile and 27 years at the service of the General Administration in Rome.
Born in Quebec in 1924, Laurent Roy studied at the diocesan Minor Seminary, one of the most prestigious high schools in the city, when, after careful discernment, he applied for entry into the novitiate of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1945. He said that he had been attracted by both the missions and community life. After two years of philosophy at St. Joseph Scholasticate in Ottawa, in 1948, he was called to the International Scholasticate in Rome to join the post-war community and study theology at the Athenaeum Angelicum. He made his perpetual oblation on July 16, 1949, at the summer house in Roviano, where he was ordained a priest on July 8, 1951.
Having joined the Oblates to respond to a call to the foreign missions, Laurent was part of a group of Canadians who were chosen at the beginning of the 50’s for a new mission in Chile. Soon, he became superior of the Oblate Minor Seminary in Antofagasta (1956-58); then, superior of the Inter-American Scholasticate in Santiago (1958-68); and then, provincial superior of Chile (1968-1974). At the end of his term, since he was known for his vast knowledge, his concern for order and his gift of writing, Laurent was called back to Rome to be Secretary General of the Congregation (1974-1986). In particular, he collaborated in the preparation of the unanticipated General Chapter of 1974. So many meetings in Rome and beyond, so many letters, reports, translations as a result of his talent, his knowledge of languages and his great availability! The works of Fr. Roy have always been known for their precision and their presentation.
When he had completed this mandate, the General House would not, however, be deprived of his services and of his much appreciated fraternal presence. Laurent accepted therefore to continue, for another 15 years, his exceptional service to the government of the Congregation as administrative assistant to the General Council. Finally, in spite of his failing health, before returning to Canada, he wanted to celebrate his 50 years of priesthood and experience the Holy Year which celebrated the passage into a new Millennium.
Laurent spent much of his retirement as a volunteer at the Deschâtelets Archives, revising texts that they submitted to his careful and expert attention, in particular articles to be published in the journal, Vie Oblate Life. He is remembered for his vast knowledge, his openness to the Church and to the world, nurtured in great part by his life experiences, first in Chile and then in Rome, and by the contacts and travel required by his service. An avid reader, he kept an ongoing interest in religious and political issues. Close to his heart was the Church, in its past history and its present day, as well as a desire to understand better how the world of our day was evolving. Finally, he relished those works that were known for their literary quality, as a way of improving the quality of his own writing and to enrich his conversations.
At the beginning of January, Laurent had taken from the library a recent book entitled: “I believe in the resurrection of the body;” they found this book on his bedside stand after his death. Now he is contemplating forever the God of his deep faith and of his hope. Faithful servant, honorable, generous, beloved: may he repose in joy and peace, assured of the gratitude and fond memories of the Congregation. (Alexandre TACHE)
In response to
an article about the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Oblates
in Lesotho, Fr. Jack LAU, director of the Galilee Centre in Arnprior, Canada,
sent news of a new icon of the great apostle of Lesotho, Blessed Joseph Gerard.
The iconographer is an Oblate Associate, Suzanne Manchevsky.
She explains the process and the nature of this icon: “The process of designing and creating an icon begins and ends with prayer. Through prayer, readings of Scripture and reference materials and contemplation, the iconographer seeks to enter into relationship with the subject, to walk with them, to be in communion with them and to “get to know and love them” and pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire an essential, visual summary of their life, story, and faith.
“The icon depicts Father Gerard as a young missionary in Southern Africa. He wears his black cassock, the distinctive Oblate crucifix and wire-rimmed glasses. His dark eyes gaze directly and unwaveringly at the viewer. His ears are exaggerated denoting one who listens for God’s voice. Physically, he is strong and sturdy and with very powerful hands for doing the Lord’s work. A prayerful and holy man, his left hand holds his prayer book close to his heart. His right hand is extended to the viewer, even protruding into the border and cradled in his palm is a single Protea, the national flower of South Africa. The flower represents a baptized soul, offered in love to the Father and perhaps will challenge viewers to ponder our own offerings and witness.”