- Claudius de la Columbiere
Born to the French nobility, Claude early felt a call to religious life. Educated at Jesuit college in Lyons, France. Priest. Taught humanities at Avignon, France. Continued his studies in Paris, France. Tutor. Preached against Jansenism, advocating dedication to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Joined the Jesuits in 1659. Spiritual director of Saint Margaret Mary of Alocoque.
Chaplain to Mary Beatrice d’Este, the Duchess of York. He converted many Protestants through the example of his holy life. Due to rumours of “Popish plots” against the king and the re-establishment Catholicism, Claude was imprisoned, accused of being part of the Titus Oates Plot. It was only by the efforts of Louis XIV, who had recommended him for the assignment, that he was not martyred. Banished from England. His health had been ruined by his time in prison, and he returned to Paray to die. The day after his death, Saint Margaret received supernatural assurance that Claude needed no prayers, as he was in already heaven. He is considred a “dry” martyr, having suffered every abuse for the faith except death.
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- John Paul II’s Book of Saints, by Matthew Bunson and Margaret Bunson
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints
The past three centuries allow us to evalutate the importance of the message which was entrusted to Claude. In a period of contrasts between the fervor of some and the indifference or impiety of many, here is a devotion centered on the humility of Christ, on his presence, on his love of mercy and on forgiveness. Devotion to the Heart of Christ would be a source of balance and spiritual strengthening for Christian communities so often faced with increasing unbelief over the coming centuries. - Pope John Paul II, during the canonization of Saint Claude