06/08/2022 – Jacques Berthieu

Today is the feast of French Jesuit martyr, St Jacques Berthieu, a farm lad who became a priest and went on mission to Madagascar. He was known for devotion to the sacraments, a loving generous heart, tireless zeal for the faith, incredible patience in teaching and finally bravery and even joy in the suffering inflicted by his torturers who he forgave wholeheartedly.

How is a mere man able to embrace his vocation in this way? The answer is simple.

Fr Jacques Berthieu was “a man of prayer. Jacques Berthieu drew his strength from it. “Whenever I looked for him,” declared one of the catechists, “I found him almost always on his knees in his room.” Another said: “I have seen no other Father remain so long before the Blessed Sacrament. Whenever we looked for him, we were sure to find him there.”

A brother of his community also gave this testimony: “While he was convalescing, each time I entered his room, I found him on his knees, praying.” His love for God was such that they called him “tia vavaka” (the pious one). He was always seen with the rosary or the breviary in his hands. His faith expressed itself in his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist being the source of his spiritual life. He also professed a special devotion to the Sacred Heart to which he consecrated himself in Paray-le-Monial before departing for mission, and he became the apostle of this devotion among the Malagasy Christians. A fervent devotee of the Virgin Mary, he went on pilgrimage to Lourdes, and the rosary was his favorite prayer; it was this prayer that he recited while he was being led to his death. He also venerated Saint Joseph.” (Jesuit website)