Dzisiaj obchodzimy rocznicę śmierci o. Leona Dehona, założyciela Sercanów. O. Dehon (1843-1925) był wspaniałym człowiekiem, zakonnikiem, pisarzem, działaczem społecznym i misjonarzem. Jednym z najważniejszych filarów życia społeczno-religijnego we Francji na przełomie 19go i 20go wieku. Pomógł przeprowadzić Kościół przez trudny okres po rewolucji francuskiej do epoki modernizmu. Założył swoje zgromadzenie zakonne (w Polsce znane pod nazwą Sercanów, tj. Dehonianów) na fundamencie duchowości Serca Bożego. Swoich pierwszych księży wysłał na misje do Ekwadoru i Konga, a pozostałych do pracy w lokalnej fabryce w Val-des-Bois. Chciał by jego naśladowcy pracowali w najtrudniejszych rejonach i misjach, oraz z ludzmi „marginesu społecznego.”
Dzisiaj Sercanie obecni są na wszystkich kontynentach świata i pracują w 43 krajach. Od 24 lat prowadzą swoje misje na Filipinach.
Poniżej zamieszczone są zdjęcia z uroczystości w Cagayan, oraz kazanie o społecznej pracy i dziełach z o. Dehona.
Today is Death Anniversary of Fr Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
Leon Dehon was born on March 14th 1843 and died in Brussels in August 1925 aged 82 years and 5 months old. He was a spiritual man, writer, social activist and missionary. One of the greatest figures in France, at the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century, who prepared the Church to enter the modern world. Living in a very difficult time, he never allowed himself to be corrupted by evil system, poverty and injustice in the society. A man of strong faith and courage whose motto was: “go to the people…”
In order to fulfill his vision and mission he founded a new religious congregation dedicated to the Sacred Heart. His Religious Family is present now in 43 countries in 5 continents.
In commemoration of this feast there was a celebration in our Formation House. Read the sermon on Fr Dehon and see a few pictures below.
Sermon on the Feast of the death anniversary of Fr Dehon:
1. Who was Fr Dehon?
Leo Dehon was a priest of the Diocese of Soissons in France and founder of the congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1878. His long life (1843-1925) placed him at the juncture of the last two centuries. It was an exciting, complex and turbulent era, which was decisive for the history of France and the world.
He was a very busy man engaged in many activities and projects. He worked in the pastoral field, as an educator of the youth and clergy, a social activist, and then as the superior of his new congregation. He sent some of his first companions to the local factory in Val-des-Bois and some as missionaries to Ecuador and Congo.
The biographers underline that he lived with a pen in hand. He wrote many books, articles and letters. He also wrote his Memoirs and Diary, in which he expressed the history and a deep reflection of his life. Such a comprehensive range of writings helps us to know his personality and his life well.
On the other hand, he was a man of prayer and had a deep spiritual life that was rooted in the “love of God.” As a consequence, he dedicated his congregation to the Sacred Heart and reparation. Perhaps, stated differently, it was his deep faith expressed in devotion to the Sacred Heart and reparation that brought this significant result in his apostolic work.
|Dehon - student|
2. Apostle of the Sacred Heart and Social Justice:
I believe that the most original contribution that Leo Dehon made to the life of the Church was his demonstration of the unbreakable bond that exists between the devotion to the Sacred Heart and the ministry of social justice.
In one of the first issues of his monthly magazine, The Reign of the Heart of Jesus in Souls and in Societies, Dehon writes:
“For us the veneration of the Heart of Jesus is not a simple devotion but a genuine renewal of Christian life… This thought… dominates all the efforts of our apostolate and is the reason for the existence of this magazine & our congregation…”
- Elsewhere, he writes:
“The Church must demonstrate that she is not only able to prepare pious souls, but also to bring about the reign of social justice for which people are eager.”
→ He created unbreakable bond that exists between devotion to the Sacred Heart and the ministry of social justice today…
3. Love of God and Dignity of person – foundation for Social Ministry:
Dehon started with the love of God that is present in every person. Therefore, the dignity of a human being became the principle of his teaching and work. For him every human being is from God and each one is the image and likeness of God. Hence, each human person is sacred.
→ Reason to fight for justice: the dignity of a human person… → each human person is sacred.
4. Saint Quentin – His first Assignment:
Dehon’s first assignment as a priest: Saint Quentin, North of France. Parish of 35 000 people. Industrial town with many unemployed people and poverty; many were working but almost like slaves: 10-14 h with unjust salary.
Ex. Fr John van den Hengel: “similarity between France of fr Dehon – and of the Philippines today, esp. Manila (unemployment, poverty, injustice in work and rights of people; situation of the families…)
5. Dehon’s Projects in St Quentin?
He did not sit inside his office but went out and walked around. He was not afraid to meet the local people and to talk about their problems. Visitation of families and houses. One by one…
His first motto: “Go to the people!” → Go out from the sacristies and go to the people!
His observations (he wrote in his Memoirs):
→ “This town should have a Catholic High School, a youth club, and a Catholic newspaper.”
In a very short time his efforts made all three of these projects a reality, as well as, a whole lot more. But the very first of his pastoral works was St Joseph’s Youth Club.
(took cake of youth & children of the busy workers who spent all day in the factories…)
Dehon also established a Catholic Workers Club as a way of maintaining contact with those who had grown too old for the Youth Club.
|Dehon in Brazil|
Then, the bishop appointed him to begin a new Diocesan Office of Social Ministries. He worked to raise an awareness of social issues among clergy and those actively working in the diocese.
At the same time, he started taking part in various congresses and assemblies dedicated to social issues.
During one of these meetings, the Social Congress in Nantes, in 1875, he met Leo Harmel, owner of a textile factory at Val-des-Bois, which, at the time, was an example of social development in harmony with the Christian spirit. This was the start of a long and fruitful collaboration between the two pillars of French Social Catholicism.
Later, after the foundation of his congregations, Dehon took pastoral care of the factory of Leo Harmel and sent his companions not just to be the chaplains there but also workers. Members of his congregation were to stay at the factory for 75 years.
On January 25, 1889, Dehon began his magazine, The Reign of the Sacred Heart in Souls and in Society. It was the one hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution.
He wrote his reflection on Sacred Heart and Social Justice. He wrote there about devotion to the Sacred Heart which he understood as a source for the renewal of Christianity as well as society.
In other words, the spirituality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus could not be reduced to spiritual fervor. It was to be the means of social renewal and social justice. The classic combination: ‘love and justice’ came together in a formula which was constantly repeated: the Social Reign of the Sacred Heart.
→ Vivat Cor Jesu = May the Sacred Heart of Jesus Reign = prayer for love and justice in the societies.
6. Dehon: Pope’s ”mouthpiece:”
On September 6, 1888, a great encouragement for his social work came from an audience with Pope Leo XIII, who was well known as a social reformer in the Church. The Pope urged Dehon to preach his encyclicals. Dehon had the opportunity to put this into practice when, on May 15, 1891, the encyclical Rerum Novarum was published and was hailed as one of the great events of the century.
As a result, Dehon was called, and well known, as the Pope’s ”mouthpiece,” (messenger or ambassador).
Finally, He began his best-known work, The Christian Social Manual, with a section entitled “The Human Person.”
Every person is deserving of respect and justice; and every person has an essential right to find, here below, the conditions, which nourish his intellectual and moral life and religion. He has a right, equally and even more so, to human treatment, to an adequate share of education and freedom, and to the opportunity to worship and serve God…
…that it is unjust to disregard his sacred rights, and to view him only as a component in a machine. Consequently, economics, far from being immoral, must deal with man as a human being and as a Christian.”
The ideas that Dehon expressed and introduced in his apostolic work obviously reflect the influence of Church tradition and papal teachings on social issue.
To conclude, we should agree, that an examination of life and spirituality of Leo John Dehon, our Founder, brings us great hope and optimism.
He was a spiritual man, writer, social activist and missionary. One of the greatest figures in France, at the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century, who prepared the Church to enter the modern world. One of the greatest pillars of the Church in the time of transition to enter the modern world.
Living in a very difficult time, he never allowed himself to be corrupted by evil system, poverty and injustice in the society.
A man of strong faith and courage whose motto was: “go to the people…” and “May the Sacred Heart of Jesus reign in human souls and societies…”
VCJ + PCM.
|Mass in the Chapel|
|In the Dining Room|