Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 9, 2009
Canadian brother's sainthood cause opened
Holy Cross Brother Flavian Laplante began an orphanage, boy's hostel, several schools, health centre
BY CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH — Bishop Patrick D’Rozario of Chittagong announced the opening of the sainthood cause of Canadian Holy Cross Brother Flavian Laplante, founder of a popular Marian shrine in Bangladesh.
About 7,000 devotees from all over Bangladesh visited the shrine during the pilgrimage period in mid-February. Many welcomed the bishop’s announcement and said Laplante deserved to be a saint.
“Brother Flavian used to interact with fishermen so cordially and even stayed with them at sea overnight to protect them from pirates,” recalled 80-year-old Holy Cross Brother Jarlath D’Suza.
“That’s why he is called ‘the apostle to the fishermen.’”
Laplante is also known for his service to the underprivileged.
In 1946, he set up an orphanage for the children of poor fishermen and of local residents who died in the Second World War. The orphanage ran until orphans were rehabilitated and settled in homes or provided with work.
He also established primary schools and high schools, a boys’ hostel, a health centre, an adult women’s education centre, a technical school, residences for nuns and brothers, and the Diang Ashram, a study and meditation centre.
Local Catholics said he loved ordinary people so much that he kissed their feet when they met him.
Laplante was born in Quebec in 1907. He entered the Holy Cross novitiate in 1923 and made his final profession in 1932. In 1933 the French-Canadian province of the Holy Cross Brothers sent him to Bangladesh, where he worked in various places of the Chittagong Diocese before arriving in Diang in 1945. He died in 1981.
D’Rozario said the shrine in Diang, which Laplante started has been elevated to a parish dedicated to Mary.
A diocesan tribunal has been formed to evaluate Laplante’s holiness and his work, D’Rozario said.
Diang is one of the oldest Catholic settlements in Bangladesh.
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