Friday, February 28, 2014

Feast of Bl. Daniel Brottier

Happy Feast of Blessed Daniel Blottier!

Daniel Blottier was born in France in the 1800s and informed his mom at a young age that he wanted to be Pope--at which time his mom informed him that he would have to be a priest first.  From reading his story, he sounds like a person who knew exactly what he wanted from a young age and was just head strong enough to make it all happen.  (I really enjoyed reading about him, if you couldn't tell.)  Shortly after making his first communion, he joined the seminary.  His first assignment after ordination was as a secondary school teacher in France, but he really wanted to be a missionary.  He soon became a missionary in Senegal (for those of you who are like me, a quick trip to Google taught me that this is a small country on the eastern coast of Africa).  He was happy to be sent off on a mission, but disappointed to be sent to a city rather than the countryside (as I said, he knew exactly what he wanted).  He didn't let this stop him from accomplishing as much as he could:  he taught students, built a child welfare center and wrote the parish bulletin.  Regrettably, his health did not agree with the climate and he was forced to return to France.  He thought this would be a wonderful chance for him to become more contemplative, but soon realized that this was not the life for him.  (This made me laugh, honestly I always think that I would like a quieter, more prayerful life, then I sit in the quiet of the adoration chapel without any of my children and realize that still and silence drive me absolutely crazy!)  Even from France, Father Brottier raised money and helped to build a cathedral in Dakar, his life as a missionary would not be stifled by his location.  Then came World War One.  What would you expect from a priest with this much love of God and this much desire to serve those who are in the most need, he volunteered to be a chaplain for the infantry.  He was on the front lines for 52 months, never becoming injured, but always putting himself at risk to help those in need.  He attributed his protection during this time to St. Therese of Lisieux.  After the war he worked with orphans and the poor, always dedicating his work to the intercession of St. Therese. 

I absolutely loved learning about Bl. Daniel Blottier.  I feel so strongly about chaplains in the military.  If you have never looked at it, research how many Catholic chaplains there are and how many Catholic men and women there are serving.  There are men and women voluntarily serving to protect their country who have no access to the sacraments.  This is something that must be remedied.  I love to share stories of chaplains with my boys, some of whom want to be in the military when they grow up.  I make sure there is literature around the house from the Archdiocese for the Military and books about people such as Fr. Kapaun, I encourage you to do the same.  As for these amazing men, they are an example of selfless giving in the most difficult of circumstances.  I know that this has been my message here lately, but with Lent coming upon us, maybe now is the time to get to know priests in your area.  Maybe this is the time in which you can give to them, because they give so very much to us.    If there are any missionaries in your area, perhaps invite them to dinner or on a picnic to the park with your family.  Missionaries rarely get to make ties to a congregation because they are moved every 2-3 years.  Perhaps your family could be their family at this stop in their ministry.  May God bless you in this weekend and may He help us all to realize his plans for our lives.

If you are interested, this is where I picked up the image of Bl. Daniel Brottier.

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