Ven. P. D. Marcellin Theeuwes O. Cart., the 72nd successor of St. Bruno has passed away…

Stat Crux Dum Voltitus Orbis

Dom Marcellin Theeuwes O. Cart., the 72nd successor of St. Bruno, has passed away. He died after a long illness on January 2 at the southern French Charterhouse of Méounes-lès-Montrieux.

Our Lord and heavenly Father, Marcellin is gone now from this earthly dwelling and has left behind those who mourn his absence.  Grant that we may hold his memory dear, never bitter for what we have lost nor in regret for the past, but always in hope of the eternal Kingdom where you will bring us together again.  Through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.

Jacobus Johannes Maria Theeuwes, known by family and friends Jac, was born on 12 May 1936 in Gilze-Rijen, between Breda and Tilburg in the Netherlands, he was the youngest son. He had six older brothers.

From a very early age, Jac felt a monastic vocation. He made contact with the then flourishing Cistercian Abbey Marienkroon. This monastery had a good reputation and a great attraction for young men in those years. Jac Theeuwes devoted himself in Marienkroon theological studies. In this monastic atmosphere he became attentive through spiritual reading both on the Carthusian order and on its deep spirituality. He felt the call to live in a deeper solitude. The way of life of the Carthusians seemed to correspond to his calling.

Jac decided to become a Carthusian and enters on December 7, 1961 in the Charterhouse Selignac (Department Ain, France). He was ordained a priest on June 25, 1966; On December 8 of the same year he makes his solemn profession and received the religious name Marcellin. The monks of his monastery recognised his many talents and he soon became procurator in Selignac.

On June 11, 1973 Dom Marcellin was sent in the same function in the southern French Charterhouse Mougères. This monastery, located in the middle of the Languedoc vineyards, would be vacated and transferred to another religious order. Dom Marcellin was responsible for ensuring a smooth retreat in November 1977, as well as a good transition of the monastery to the community of the Sisters of the Monastic Family of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin and of Saint Bruno.

dom marcellino
Dom Marcellin (center) in 2002 during the inauguration of the statue of Saint Bruno at the Grand Logis (Monastery of La Grande Chartreuse).

After completing this discipline he returned to the Order on 17 November 1977 as a procurator in the Charterhouse of Montrieux in the Department of Var. The monks of this Charterhouse elected him as their prior on April 27, 1983.

When the Carthusian Prior General Dom André Poisson (1923-2005) stepped down from this position in 1997 as Prior of La Grande Chartreuse, the Carthusians elected Dom Marcellin, who was esteemed throughout the Order, as their new Prior entrusted to the order of the Prior of the Great Charterhouse and the Reverendus Pater, the Prior General of the Carthusian Order.

During his time as Prior various important decisions were made. Some Charterhouses had to be closed. There were new male monasteries in Argentina, Brazil and Korea; in Asia they also opened a women’s charterhouse. More opportunities were increasingly created for the nuns, comparable to that of the monks, to live in individual houses, so allowing them greater solitude.

For health reasons, Dom Marcellin Theeuwes resigned in September 2012 from his posts and asked for mercy, to acceptance of his resignation. It was granted to him – by the Order but also by the Holy See.

His last years he spent again in the Charterhouse Montrieux, where he served his brothers as Prior. He died on 2 January 2019 after a long illness.

Requiescat In Pace et Amore

Algerian martyrs bear witness

Below you will find the complete text of the homily of Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and Special Envoy of the Holy Father, as pronounced during the celebration of the beatification of the 19 martyrs of Algeria at the Shrine of Our Lady of Santa Cruz d’Oran:

Dear brothers and sisters !

The passage of Apocalypse (Rev. 7:9-17), proclaimed in the second reading, introduces us to the “immense crowd” (v.9) of those who have already reached the goal of eternal salvation towards which we are all on the road: the kingdom of hope, the kingdom of those who see God as He is. The Apostle John in his vision rich in symbols sees them standing in front of the throne of God, “dressed in white robes”, the colour of divine light and paschal glory. But the whiteness of the robes is obtained by plunging them into the red blood of Christ: these elect have experienced the “great trial; they have washed their robes, they have whitened them with the blood of the Lamb “(v.14). The splendour is reached through the crucible of suffering, of self-giving, of the cross. By participating in the passion and death of Jesus, the king of martyrs, we reach the light: per crucem ad lucem (by the cross to the light) says the ancient Christian saying. In this way “what remains to suffer from the trials of Christ in my own flesh, I fulfil it for his body which is the Church” (Col 1:24) underlines St. Paul.

Those saved hold in their hands a palm, which in the Old Testament is the sign of triumph and acclamation; the suffering, the rigorous engagement of the testimony, the renunciation of oneself do not lead to death but introduce into the glory; they do not produce failure but life and happiness. The scene of the Apocalypse then shows the mighty chorus of saints singing with a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and the Lamb” (Rev 7:10).

The text of the Apocalypse has thus traced to us the portrait of the blessed and the saint: it belongs only to God, it appears in every point of the earth and at every period of history, it lives with fidelity even in the ordeal In traversing the way of the cross, he reaches the glorious goal of eternity, where he will live forever in joy, in song, in glory, in that infinite whirlwind of light and peace, which is God.

In the immense crowd of those who have reached a fate of glory, the Church wants to call today by name 19 new Blessed, killed between 1994 and 1996 in different places and times but in the same restless context. On this earth, here in Algeria, they announced the Lord’s unconditional love for the poor and the outcast, testifying to their belonging to Christ and the Church to the point of martyrdom. It is beautiful to think now that they are among those who have gone through “the great trial and have washed their robes and have bleached them with the blood of the Lamb” (verse 14). Coming from eight different Institutes, our brothers and sisters lived in this country where they performed various missions; they were strong and persevering in their service of the Gospel and the people, despite the threatening climate of violence and oppression that surrounded them. Reading their biographies we are struck by the fact that everyone, well aware of the risk they run, courageously decided to stay on the spot until the end; in them has developed a strong spirituality of martyrdom rooted in the prospect of sacrificing themselves and offering their lives for a society of reconciliation and peace.

Blessed Pierre Claverie and his 18 companions and companions martyrs carry on them the salvific seal of the Redemption of Christ. By inscribing their names in the book of the saved and blessed, the Church wishes to recognise the exemplarity of their virtuous life, the heroism of the death of these extraordinary peacemakers and witnesses of fraternity, and at the same time , to pay the highest homage to Jesus, Redeemer of man. In Christ, the Church desires to worship the living God: since the glory of God is the man who receives from him the fullness of life.

This fullness of life, the Virgin Mary – whose Immaculate Conception we are celebrating today – has experienced it in an incomparable way, when the Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she had found favour with God and that by the action of the Holy Spirit she would conceive of Jesus, the Son of the Most High. “Rejoice, full of grace: the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). We too, today, contemplating these new Blessed, are invited to overcome all narrow-mindedness and to rejoice, because in them we see the mystery of the eternal sanctity of God shine forth; holiness which is offered to us through a new actualisation of the Gospel by our martyrs who witnessed it until the shedding of blood. We remember them as faithful followers of Christ who loved poverty, who were sensitive to suffering and caring for the abandoned, who took part in the anguish and affliction of their brethren. These heroic witnesses to the love of Jesus have gone to the very root of the experience that man has of his own limits: humiliation, tears, persecution.

They fully complied with the sacrifice of Christ who, according to the prophet Isaiah, identified himself with the suffering Servant of the Lord; he who, as we have heard in the first reading, offering himself “as a sacrifice of reparation, […] as a result of his torments, will see the light and justify the multitudes” (Is 53:10b.-11). This happens precisely by the Cross, since in the death of Jesus God has definitely become close to humanity and man has become fully conscious of his dignity and elevation. By their death as martyrs, the new Blessed also entered into the light of God, and from above they watch over the persons whom they have served and loved, praying unceasingly for all, even for those who have them. struck. They continue this prophetic mission of mercy and forgiveness, which they have witnessed during their earthly life. May their example inspire in all the desire to promote what Pope Francis has defined as “the culture of mercy that gives birth to a true revolution” (Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera, 20 Nov. 2016). By welcoming the dynamic of forgiveness, admirably experienced by the new Blessed, we hope that Algeria can definitely overcome this terrible period of violence and misery and we pray for it!

The tragic death of Blessed Peter Claverie and his 18 companions and companions martyrs is a seed fallen in the ground in difficult times, fertilised by suffering that will bring fruits of reconciliation and justice. This is our mission as Christians: to sow every day the seeds of evangelical peace, to enjoy the fruits of justice. By this beatification we would say to Algeria as a whole only this: the Church wants nothing more than to serve the Algerian people, testifying to her love for all.

In all parts of the world, Christians are motivated by the desire to contribute concretely to build a bright future of hope through the wisdom of peace, to build a society based on mutual respect, collaboration, and love. Such a society can be fully realised if everyone strives to develop the pedagogy of forgiveness, if necessary also in this country.

The Christian community in this country is spreading small but significant seeds of peace. Through this Beatification, she can feel comforted in her presence in Algeria; by these 19 martyrs, strengthen her belief that her precious presence near this people is justified by the desire to be a light and sign of the love of God for the whole population.

The luminous witness of these Blessed is a living and close example for all. Their life and their death is a direct call to all of us Christians, and especially to you, brothers or sisters in religious life, to be faithful at all costs to your own vocation, serving the Gospel and the Church in a lifetime. true fraternity, perseverance and witness to the radical choice of God.

I can not end without expressing deep gratitude to the religious congregations to which our brothers belonged as well as to their natural families who have suffered so much from their loss, but who now can rejoice with the whole Church to know them blessed in heaven. We are all comforted by the certainty that our martyred brothers and sisters, by their sacrifice, by their constant intercession and by their protection, will produce on this earth abundant fruits of goodness and fraternal sharing.

For this we address them and say: Blessed Peter Claverie and his companions and companions martyrs, pray for us!

[Original text: French]

OBITUARY: Dr. James Lester Hogg (Mar. 10, 1931 – † Nov. 18, 2018) aged 87

It is with great sorrow that we announce that the father of the Carthusian studies Professor James Lester Hogg completed his labours and joined the Lord on November 18, 2018.

He was founding director of the University of Salzburg Press, having published, in excess of 550 books in his “Salzburg Studies in English Literature” series between 1971 and 1998. One branch of his publishing programme was devoted to republishing books by British poets neglected by mainstream publishers. Between 1994 and 2000 he also co-edited the The Poet’s Voice magazine .

Between 1971 and 1996 James taught at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Salzburg. His many academic publications comprise such diverse fields of studies as contemporary British literature, Elizabethan literature, Romantic poetry and Restoration drama. James also distinguished himself as a worldwide ‘cognoscente’ and historian of the Carthusian Order of which he had been a member, he took the habit as Fr. Aelred at the Chartreuse de Selignac on June 23, 1961; Professed in June 24, 1964 and sent to Farneta on November 22, 1965.  He left the Order on June 24, 1968.

In the “Analecta Cartusiana” series, founded by him in 1970, he had edited and published in excess of 300 volumes.

His work in the field of Carthusian studies brought him two gold medals in 2006, one from the Federal State of Lower Austria and one from the Bishop of St. Pölten. The same year the President of France, Jacques Chirac, nominated him as a Grand Officer of the Légion d’honneur for his decisive contribution to the recovery of the Carthusian memory.  In 2007 Queen Elizabeth II officially acknowledged his great services to academic research. In December 2009 the Vatican made him a Knight of the Order of St. Sylvester. 

A good friend, academic advisor and donor to St. Mary’s Hermitage and our library, having provided us a vast collection of research material on Carthusian History & Liturgy.  Always available to give research advice even when Ill. Fr. Ugo-Maria last heard from James last October when he sent James the latest transcript on Carthusian Liturgy for comment; James been in and out of hospital for some time and said that he would be going back to hospital.

A part of his life from the 70s onwards was dedicated to the documentary, historical, artistic and historiographical collation for the Carthusian Order, founded near Grenoble by Saint Bruno the Carthusian in 1084; a work which was condensed in the publishing of approximately 350 miscellaneous and monographic issues from all the Charterhouses particularly in Europe.

James actively participated in the “Congrés Internacional sobre les Cartoixes Valencianes (El Puig de Santa Maria, Altura and Serra, April 2003), and was one of the signatories of the ‘Manifesto Asociacion Cultural Cartuja Valldecrist‘ (Altura, January 2004), visiting the foundation of Cánava Valley for the last time in 2008. He was interviewed in Saó magazine, nº 308 (2006), on the occasion of the monograph ‘Les cartoixes valencianes: el silencio de la memòria’ and collaborated in the series’ Les cartoixes valencianes’ (13 chapters) for RTVV, broadcast in 2007.

Among the works published from Salzburg include those dedicated to the houses of Portaceli (Serra, Valencia), Valldecrist (Altura, Castellón), Aracristi (El Puig de Santa Maria, Valencia) and Viaceli (Orihuela, Alicante) – in addition to the female foundation of Benifassà (Castellón) -, as well as some of its most important inhabitants, such as Bonifacio Ferrer, Francisco de Aranda, Francisco Maresme, Juan de Nea, Juan Bautista Civera, Joaquín Alfaura, Juan Bautista Giner, etc.

Two of his last works in the Central European collection brought to light this year are dedicated to the Valencian Carthusian, Fray Bonifacio Ferrer (1350-†1417) brother of St. Vincent Ferrer, coinciding with the VI centenary of his death: his monograph (nº 336) and the collected minutes of the presentations of the seminar that were dedicated last April in Valencia, Altura and Segorbe (No. 338).

Some of the most distinguished historians of  the Valencian Carthusians, such as Francisco Fuster Serra, Josep-Marí Gómez i Lozano, Josep-Vicent Ferre Domínguez, Miguel Ángel Catalá Gorgues, Estefania Ferrer del Río or Albert Ferrer Orts among others, as well as the Cultural Association Cartuja de Valldecrist, of Altura (which paid him an emotional tribute in the autumn of 2008) want to express their condolences, as well as to remember at this moment an essentially good man determined to restore the silent memories of the Charterhouse.

A Requiem Mass was held for James (Frá Aelred) Hogg this morning at St. Mary’s Hermitage by Fr. Ugo-Maria, entrusting James to God’s love,  the salvific value of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

Requiescat in pace James.

The solemn feast of the Most Precious Blood of the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sunday July 1, 2018.

The Blood of Christ is precious because it is Christ’s own great ransom paid for the redemption of mankind. In this belief, as there was to be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, the “Incarnate Word” not only offered his life for the salvation of the world, but he offered to give up his life by a bloody death, and to hang bloodless, soulless and dead upon the Cross for the salvation of humanity. Jesus is said to have given his life – his blood – for the sake of all humanity, atoning for every form of human sin. The Precious Blood is a call to repentance and restitution.

Today at St. Mary’s Hermitage, the Hermits of Saint Bruno  commemorate the Most Precious Blood of the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.   It is an adoration, a gratitude and love, directed to Him whose heart poured out its life-blood for our redemption.  Whether in its deep cistern, or in its unfailing out-flow, we honour and venerate the price of our freedom and our life. 

What else is the blessed Heart of Jesus but the wonderful cup which transmuted the food of earth, not merely into the nourishment of one body, and the life-stream of one person, but into the quickening support of millions, into the circulation of unity through the entire Church of ages, into the ransom beyond price of all mankind, into the golden flood, which flowing ever from the foot of the Lamb, waters and fertilises heaven and earth, becomes the river of life to one, the stream of grace to the other. 

Paschal lamb
The Sacrificial Lamb.

For what, again, is the adorable Heart of Jesus but the fountain of Paradise, from what source does the river spring that divides into four branches, carrying refreshment, healing, and life to every region, and to every race?  One is a basin of cleansing and regenerating water, washing away all sin and stain; another is a bath that restores or increases strength and vigour to those who have to wrestle and fight for God; the third is a rich flow of consecrating unction like the one that streamed from the head of Aaron; while the last and best is the refreshing torrent of delights, at which saints drink with renewed bliss, and forgiven sinners with strengthening relish. 

All these streams of salvation, however different their immediate action, are nevertheless one in source and substance.  For what is it that washes away our stains but “the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from every sin?”  How did the oil of unction come by its power to strengthen and to consecrate, but from those first instalments of our deliverance, which flowed upon the root of the olive, trickling from the pores of our prostrate Lord, like an enriching dew that saturates their fruit.  If not direct from the divine Heart, in full warm outpouring, flowing forth the tide of a spiritual cornucopia, water for our purification, unction for our consecration, and the chalice of salvation.  Hence the eucharistic “wine springing forth virgins,” (Zach. 9:17) the sap of the true vine, of which we are the branches, the balsam of soothing and healing virtue which issued, from His body, to the very hem of our Lord’s outer garment, but now rushes out through the open gash, that reaches to the very core of that celestial plant. 

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, that which is good, which is holy, whatever is perfect upon earth has come to us from, and through, and by the most precious Blood of our divine Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  This, from the beginning, was in several different ways, and more copiously representing to us than anything else in the New Testament; though its excellence is revealed by the contrast in which it stands with its types.  It was to be innocently shed like Abel’s, that it might be shown to plead better and more powerfully than it for mercy, not for vengeance.  It was poured out in sacrifice, that it might be proved vastly superior to the blood of oxen and of goats, which had no power to cleanse the soul. (Hebrews 9:13)  Finally, the paschal lamb, the noblest type of our redemption, by the anointing with its blood of the door posts of the Israelites, warned away the destroying angel, and made Pharaoh relax his grasp on God’s chosen people, and subsequently freed them; only to be a harbinger of how the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world would baffle and defeat the prince of darkness and of eternal death, and force the oppressor of earth and hell to let His own people go free, to offer sacrifice even in this wilderness.

And how was this?  The posts of the gate which alone leads to immortal life, the cross under which all must bend the knee who desire to enter into Paradise, are richly streaked, and more than that, thickly painted with the Blood of “our sacrificed Pasch”, more terrible to His enemies than the brightest flash of Heaven’s lightning.  And so, when we partake of the Divine Mysteries, the edge of our mouths, our lips are dyed with the same rich drops that fell so abundantly on Calvary. 

Precious-Blood-JesusWith what devotion, then, should we not commemorate this shedding of our Saviour’s precious Blood, at the very mention of which the Church makes her ministers bend their knees, in awe and adoration of a mystery so pro found and yet so sweet, so fearful and yet so tender.  As the more deep and terrible is the gulf that opens beneath us, the more we feel drawn towards it, and tempted to plunge into it, so is this abyss of wonderful and unfathomable goodness, awful to contemplate, yet inviting our love to dive into it fearlessly, and taste unsatisfied of its delights. 

To think that God should have taken flesh, the very body of man, with all its inferiority of nature but wonders of construction, purely so that He could die, and that He should have blood to shed, for man’s ransom, salvation, and nourishment; to contemplate by what traumatic and burdensome ways this outpouring should have to be made, by what stripes, lashes, wounds, gashes, piercing and perforation of every part of that three times holy Body, to the tearing in two of its divine Heart; to meditate on the formidable truth that God, the Father who loved Him with an infinite affection, should have been pleased, appeased, soothed and turned to love from just anger by this tremendous atonement, baffles and sets at nought all our estimates, all our reasonings on the eternal and infinite ways of a divine imposition.  Still how bright this depth, how richly illuminated by every tender tone of love! How meekness and gentleness, mercy and forgivingness, impartiality and self-sacrifice, bounty and liberty, affectionateness and familiarity, parental fondness and brotherly caress play through the abyss, as profound and as measureless, and as incomprehensible as itself!  How unsearchable are the ways of God’s love, as much as those of His power! Who has been His counsellor but Himself the infinite goodness urging on the infinite energy of the Divine in all things. 

Yet what multiplies beyond the bounds of a limited conception the immensity of this love is, that it is individual and singular. “the whole to all, no less the whole to each.”  Every drop of blood, so unreservedly poured out on Golgotha, was gathered into one cup, the whole contents of which every soul is allowed to drink and make its own.  The full price was paid for each: the value of each soul is the equivalent of the entire ransom.  The treasure is not divided and paid out in single coins, but the entire sum is lavishly given to each profusely.  Who can penetrate to the depths of this almighty mercy; yet who can restrain themselves to love it and do his utmost to be worthy of it! 

 

As a consequence, my brothers and sisters in Christ, when we put before you the claims of little ones — little by age or by being of little significance — we are accustomed to lay our principal stress on this one motive, that their souls have been thought worthy of His precious life-blood, by Jesus Christ, their and our Redeemer. When especially we call on you to exercise the highest act of spiritual charity, to save their souls rather than sustain their bodies, the plea comes home with tenfold urgency.  Will you not agree and assist to the utmost in saving the souls which He so dearly secured, and loved beyond His own precious life? July Month-of-the-Precious-Blood

To this appeal no one can say, no: it is impossible.  Similarly, then, especially, is our pleading the day that you hear these words.  It is only by multiplying the means of religious education that thousands of your poor children can be ensured that salvation which Jesus Christ purchased for them.  The society to which you are asked to contribute has this for its sole and universal object.  It seeks, like the charity of our Lord and Saviour, to embrace all and each, to extend its beneficial effects throughout the whole country, and to reach the smallest and most neglected child with individual assistance. 

God will reward you, and give you of His abundance, through the redemption which is by Christ Jesus.  Amen. 

Continue reading “The solemn feast of the Most Precious Blood of the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sunday July 1, 2018.”