On 9 September 2014 another Discalced Carmelite advanced toward the honors of the altar. The closing of the last public session of the diocesan process of beatification and canonization of Friar Jean Thierry Ebogo of the Child Jesus and the Passion took place in Legnano, Italy.
Brother Jean Thierry was a Discalced Carmelite friar from Cameroon. Born in 1982, he entered Carmel in July 2003. A year later, he entered the novitiate and was supposed to continue his formation in Burkina Faso. Shortly thereafter, a tumor was discovered on his right knee, which threatened to end his novitiate. The friars sought treatment for him, and he was sent from hospital to hospital. Remedies exhausted, in November 2004 he was sent to the capital of Yaoundé, where his right leg was amputated at the general hospital. Throughout his course of treatment and in the face of this amputation, he was completely serene and sought to encourage others.
The OCD mission in Cameroon was established in 1984 by the Italian province of Lombardy (Milan), so it was a mixed blessing when in August 2005 the Father Provincial from Milan came to Cameroon to take Friar Jean Thierry to Italy to pursue rehab, prosthesis, and formation. It was a blessing to receive better care, but there was the sorrow of leaving his family, his brothers, and his friends. Once again, he abandoned himself to the divine will.
When he completed his first examination at the hospital in Legnano, the diagnosis was much more serious than ever imagined: a recurrence of the malignant bone tumor with cancer now throughout his body. He spent two months at a famous cancer institute in Turin, but the best care still could not provide the hoped-for cure. He returned to the hospital in Legnano, where the staff kept him as comfortable as possible.
On December 8, 2005, with special permission from Father General Luis Aróstegui Gamboa and the Sacred Congregation for Religious, Brother Jean Thierry of the Child Jesus and the Passion professed his solemn vows in the intimacy of his hospital room. His mother, Marie Thérèse Ebogo was present for the blessed occasion. Hundreds of people were drawn to him: youth, priests, religious, the sick, his friends. He hid his sufferings and focused on the other person.
On January 5, 2006, Br. Jean Thierry went home to God. A few hours before, he received the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist that was celebrated in his hospital room. His greatest sacrifice was the departure of his mother on December 26, because, despite all efforts, her visa could not be renewed. Her consolation was to assist at Jean Thierry’s religious profession and when he received the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick for the final time.
His last words were spoken to a very dear friend whom he called “Mamma Anna.” A few hours before he slipped into a coma, he pointed out the image of Divine Mercy on the wall across from his bed, saying, «comme il est beau Jésus!» — How beautiful Jesus is!
To see photos of Brother Jean Thierry, to read some of his inspiring quotes, and to read a more detailed biography, visit: