Appeared in Summer 1992, Vol. XVIII, No. 2

The following reflection springs from an event which took place during Christendom College’s study abroad program entitled “Christendom in Rome.”

The morning of May 31st was a cool one in Rome. It was the joyous feast of the Visitation. This was to be a particularly special day in Rome, for today John Paul II was to solemnly declare Claude de la Colombiere a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

Claude was a brilliant 17th century Jesuit who had acted as a tutor to the children of Colbert who served, at the time, as Louis XIV’s minister of finance. Despite his mental acumen and the fact that he was a magnificent homilist, Fr. Claude was sent by his Jesuit superiors to the tiny town of Paray-le-Monial on February 2, 1675. Many at the time thought this to be a waste of such a promising young Jesuit. Providence thought otherwise, for the wisdom of God is not the wisdom of men. A simple but extraordinarily holy nun lived in the Visitation Convent at Paray and Our Lord had promised to send to her one to be her director: a man of great judgment and sanctity whom He called “His perfect friend.” Fr. Claude was to assist St. Margaret Mary in her divine mission of spreading devotion to the Heart of Jesus.

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