Quote of the day, 2 June: Père Jacques de Jésus

Love the Communists. Adopt them. God has providentially permitted me (as a son of working class parents) to become well acquainted with working-class youth. During my military service, during the war, and during my captivity, I was in the midst of workers.

As a result, I am well acquainted with Communist and Socialist thinking. I have come to know many mid-level directors of these movements. I have found many first-rate men among them. They are ready to die for their ideal, and have often done so. They regularly devote their time to propagating their ideas and distributing their literature.

By way of contrast, I have rarely found the same level of dedication among the “respectable people” who spend their time on boats or at parties and always look for enjoyment, even at work. They never sacrifice themselves for others.

God deeply loves these poor people, who are sincere in their conviction and confident that they serve a good cause. In all honesty, I am convinced that they will be saved! Do not speak disparagingly of them! Do parents speak badly of their children, even if they are wayward? If you love them and adopt them because they are the unfortunate children of the family, you will do them great good. Why not make yourselves their spiritual mothers?

Servant of God Père Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D.

The Apostolate
Retreat, Carmel of Pontoise, Conference 13 
Saturday evening, 11 September 1943 

The Servant of God Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D., who was a professed friar of the Province of Paris-Avon, an ordained priest, and the headmaster of the Discalced Carmelite friars’ boys’ preparatory school at Avon, the Petit Collège Sainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésusdied on this date, 2 June 1945 in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Linz, Austria following 70 weeks in Nazi prison camps.

Père Jacques was weakened by a year of hard labor and harsh conditions at Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps in Austria; when the Allied Forces liberated the camps on 5 May 1945, he summoned the strength to help restore order and organize relief efforts. But 15 days later the Allied camp commanders transferred him to St. Elizabeth Hospital so that he could be close to the community of the Discalced Carmelite friars at Linz. It was there that he succumbed to illness and exhaustion at 45 years of age.

The diocesan process of his cause for beatification was opened in 1990. You can find the prayer for his beatification here and the website for his cause here.

The World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem has a featured story dedicated to Père Jacques. It includes a description of his heroic acts to shelter Jewish students at the preparatory school, for which he was arrested. It also quotes the testimony of witnesses to his arrest and imprisonment and provides links to read full accounts of witnesses’ testimonies. On 17 January 1985 Yad Vashem recognized Père Jacques as Righteous Among the Nations. You can read the Yad Vashem featured story, find the links, and see the Yad Vashem photos here.

Listen to the Silence – A Retreat with Père Jacques, is available for purchase from the publisher, ICS Publications.

Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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