Claude de la Colombiere was beatified in 1929 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1992.
Claude was born of noble parents in 1641 in Saint-Symphoriend’Ozon, which is between Lyons and Vienne in France. In 1659, he entered the Society of Jesus. After living the religious life for 15 years, Claude decided to make a vow to live as perfectly as he possibly could, observing faithfully the rule and constitutions of his order under the penalty of sin. All who knew him well and lived with him in the monastery attested to the fact that he did this with utmost exactitude.
He later was made superior at the Jesuit house at Paray-le Monial and while there became the spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Being her spiritual director, he naturally developed a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He was sent to England in 1676 to be a priest for the Duchess of York and later the Queen of Great Britain. He still maintained his lifestyle as much as possible at the royal Court of St. James and continued his missionary work. Although separated from Margaret Mary, he counseled her through written correspondence.
He suffered health problems primarily with his throat and lungs, which often caused problems with his preaching. While anxiously awaiting a summons back to France, he was arrested as a conspirator and imprisoned. Because of his friendships with both the Duchess of York and Louis XIV, he was able to escape the death penalty, but was sent into exile. He spent the last two years of his life at Lyons and died there on February 15, 1682.
Among the writings of St. Colombiere are “Pious Reflections,” “Meditations on the Passion,” and “Retreat and Spiritual Letters.” These were published under the title, Oeuvres du R.P. Claude de la Colombiere in 1832. St. Colombiere’s relics can be found in the monastery of the Visitation nuns at Paray-le-Monial.
Dear Father in heaven, we adore you and thank you for the wisdom of the Jesuits, most especially Saint Colombiere. As confessor and advisor to St. Margaret Mary, he assisted spiritually in bringing to the world the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For this alone we are blessed, but we thank you also for the life of St. Colombiere, which he lived so perfectly for Your glory. May we also seek to live holy lives that are pleasing to You, through Your grace. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
Saints Faustinus and Jovita (121), Martyrs, brothers