On Sunday in the French town of Besançon, near the border of Switzerland, the Church recognized the sanctity of one of our Dominican brothers, Fr. Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. As a young Dominican, Père Lataste (as he is known in France) studied at the old Dominican priory of St. Maximin in Provence. There he developed a great devotion to St. Mary Magdalene, whose relics are nearby. This devotion served him well when he was asked preach a spiritual retreat at a prison for women. Initially, he approached this assignment with great skepticism. As he would later admit, “I entered with considerable embarrassment, persuaded that the undertaking would prove futiles.” But in his devotion to St. Mary Magdalene–the woman from who seven demons were cast out (Lk 8:1-3)–he saw the possibility of repentance and conversion. This was the nucleus of a new idea–a community of women who turned away from their former life and embraced a new life in total union with Christ. So, Père Lataste founded a new community, the community of Bethany. This community would come to be known as the Dominican Sisters of Bethany, who have spread throughout the world and even to the United States. To read more about the life of Père Lataste, see the most recent issue of the electronic newsletter of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic (Third Order). In 2011, the Holy Father approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of this Servant of God. This culminated in the beatification Mass celebrated this past Sunday. This marks the first Dominican friar beatified from France since refounding of the Dominicans in France by Fr. Lacordaire in the nineteenth century. The preacher of the Mass was the current Master of the Dominican Order, Fr. Bruno Cadore, the former provincial of the Province of France. We join in the celebration of our brothers in France in thanksgiving for this holy intercessor and model of Dominican life. And we pray for the intercession of Bl. Jean-Joseph Lataste, OP, for the entire Order of Preachers, praying the prayer of dedication to Jesus Christ that he himself wrote:
O my Jesus, I want to love You.Give Yourself to me and grant that I may give myself to You. Make me one with You. May my will be Yours. Unite me to you so that I may live only in and for You. Grant that I may spend for You, all that I have received from You, keeping nothing for myself. May I die to all for You and bring others to you. O my Jesus, many others.
A video of the Mass (in French) can be seen below. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zx7eWoEK1w]