Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 8, 2008
Oblate founded secular institutes
Fr. Parent stressed spiritual value of refusing to criticize or complain
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QUEBEC - Father Louis-Marie Parent, the founder of a contemplative order and two secular institutes, was dedicated to challenging young people to consecrate their lives to God within the world.
Parent, an Oblate who once served in northern Alberta, died May 17 at the Oblate Notre-Dame Residence in Richelieu. He was 98.
A man of deep faith, a lover of God and of his people, a disciple and an audacious apostle in the likes of St. Paul, Parent stirred thousands of people to become Christ's disciples and apostles in the midst of the world.
The priest formed Christians to serve in the world by employing five evangelical attitudes, based on the teachings of Christ: living in the presence of God, refraining from destructive criticism (seeking God in others) and from useless complaint (seeking God in events), being of service and being peacemakers.
At first, some criticized his approach as being simplistic or for children only.
However, the actual practice of these attitudes has caused and still causes priests, consecrated lay men and women, and many other lay people to be transformed and in turn, to become agents of transformation in all spheres of society.
As a young missionary in northern Alberta in the 1940s, Parent received this request by Bishop Henri Routhier, then apostolic vicar of Grouard, to found the contemplative Recluses Missionnaires.
Later, he founded the secular institute the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate (for women) and the secular institute Voluntas Dei (for men).
Father Parent's May 22 funeral was one of the largest funerals ever to take place in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Cape.
Bishop Martin Veillette, of Trois-Rivières, was the main celebrant, assisted by Oblate Bishop Gilles Cazabon, Bishop Emeritus Laurent Noël, of Trois-Rivières, and 112 secular and religious priests.
The 40-member choir of the basilica ended the celebration with the hymn Salve Regina traditionally sung at Oblate funerals, and Handel's Alleluia.
It was quite an experience to bid "adieu" to the founder of our institute.
With the casket open for viewing all day Friday in the basilica, I was moved to thank God for Father Parent. I also thanked this great missionary for his deep faith, his fidelity to God's call, his unceasing commitment to call people to discipleship, to holiness and to partake in Christ's mission.
MENTOR TO MANY
He served as mentor to several religious families, new communities, spiritual movements and to numerous individuals who, throughout the world, without ever meeting him, were brought closer to God through his writings.
I am thankful to have been placed within Father Parent's radar, to have been touched by his faith and fervour, by his love for the world and his concern for the most needy.
I felt graced to be part of this gathering of people committed to live and bear witness to the charity of Christ through our founder's teachings and exemplary life. May he enjoy forever God's loving presence, which he has made known throughout his life!
(Margot Bilodeau, ommi, is a member of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate. She also served as executive secretary to three archbishops of Edmonton and as vice-chancellor and co-chancellor of the archdiocese.)