Oblates’ founder to be beatified


Dialog Editor

Pope Benedict cleared the way for the beatification of the founder of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales on Dec. 19 when he authorized the approval of a miracle attributed to Father Louis Brisson.

Beatification means Father Brisson will be know as “Blessed.” In causes for sainthood, beatification is the step before canonization.

Father James J. Greenfield, head of the Oblates’ Wilmington-Philadelphia province, said in a statement Wednesday that Father Brisson’s “upcoming beatification is an opportunity for us and the people of God to identify with a man of simplicity who, in the words of St. Francis de Sales, did ‘ordinary things extraordinarily well.’”

Father Brisson’s life exemplified the Oblate spirit of holiness, Father Greenfield said. “From working among the poor and teaching in schools, to staffing parishes and caring for the marginalized, we Oblates hope that Father Brisson’s advance to sainthood will spark a momentum in living Jesus through the spirituality of gentleness and humility that is central to the Gospel.”

The pope’s decree confirmed the evaluation of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints that a 1953 healing of a boy in Ecuador following prayers to Father Brisson was attributed to his intercession.

Louis Brisson was born in Plancy, France, on June 23, 1817. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Troyes in 1840.

When he was chaplain to the Sisters of the Visitation monastery, the superior there, Mother Mary de Sales Chappuis, persuaded him to begin two religious orders — the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales and the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

Father Brisson established four boarding schools for young women who worked in factories. The schools were run by the Oblate Sisters.

When Father Brisson was asked to oversee the College St. Bernard, his work there led to the start of the Oblate order of priests in 1872.

Father Brisson died Feb. 2, 1908.