AFRICA-MADAGASCARClosing of Joseph Gerard Centenary
The Oblates of Lesotho recently closed a year-long celebration of the centenary of the death of Blessed Joseph Gerard. For the occasion, Archbishop Gerard LEROTHOLI of Maseru wrote about the apostle to Basotho.
The year 2015 marks the end of
the centenary of the death of Blessed Joseph Gerard, the Oblate apostle to
Basotho. As we celebrate the end of his centenary, we need to reflect on his
legacy, as a person, a religious, a missionary, and apostle. He has left us a
legacy of holiness and simplicity of life. He embodies Oblate religious values
and the founder’s charism. He epitomises the best-version-of-being an Oblate
Missionary. Indeed, he was a godly person and a man of prayer. He was fully
committed to his vows of Obedience, Chastity and Poverty. He proved to be a
dedicated missionary. He was an apostle in the true sense of "the one sent.” He
was sent to Lesotho and never went back to his native country (France). He died
in this country in 1914. The best-version-of-an Oblate missionary is to aspire
for holiness. "They must strive to be saints...They must wholly renounce
themselves, striving solely for the glory of God, the good of the Church, and
the growth and salvation of souls,” (Preface). Blessed Gerard made holiness his
top-priority. The secret of his holiness was his humility and spirit of prayer.
Holiness is the essential purpose and the goal of being Christian.
We are all called to lead holy lives, every man and every woman, regardless of age, state of life, or culture. The call to holiness is for everyone. Blessed Gerard is a living example of a saintly life amongst the Basotho, whom he loved dearly. He is a living witness of the value of holiness. He teaches us by his life that holiness is achievable and still makes sense. It is an authentic way of living for God. God still calls human beings to aspire for holiness. Blessed Gerard makes leading a holy life ordinary and simple. He accepted the will of God without any reserve. He allowed God to use him for his Church. The saintly life of Blessed Joseph Gerard speaks to us volumes about holiness, humility and prayer. We should be encouraged by the benefits people derive from making their intercessions to God through Blessed Gerard. May we join our voices in prayer to ask that "the sanctity of Blessed Gerard be acknowledged and recognized by the whole world and may his name be written in the canon of the saints of the Church.” (MAOBLATA A LESOTHO, July 2015)