Spirituality for Today – May 2014 – Volume 18, Issue 10

Saint of the Month
St. Michael Garicoits

May 14

A photo of Michael GaricoitsSaint Michael Garicoits

The son of poor farmers, Michael was born in Ibarra, a village in the French Pyrenees. As a child, Michael wanted to be a priest, but his parents protested because they needed the money he could earn working as a shepherd. With the help of a local priest, Michael's grandmother arranged for him to work part-time of the Church while he attended school and the local seminary.

After completing his studies, Michael was ordained in 1823 and sent to Cambo in southwest France. At the time, which was soon after the French Revolution, the Catholic church in France was battling freethinkers and Catholic sects that were opposed to Rome. Meanwhile, in Cambo, Michael promoted a return to traditional practices and encouraged devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In 1825, Michael was sent to the seminary at Bétharram and became superior there in 1831. Shortly after, he attended a retreat sponsored by a Jesuit priest, and Michael decided to found his own order modeled on the Society of Jesus. He wanted missionaries who were filled with "absolute generosity…perfect simplicity, and unchanging gentleness." His Order was later named the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

At first, the Order was enthusiastically backed by the local bishop, but a new bishop was soon appointed. He demanded changes in the Order's constitution and wanted Michael to work under his direct supervision. Michael remained silent and proceeded accordingly.

Michael died in 1863, before his Order was official. But 14 years later, Rome finally sanctioned the Priests of the Sacred Heart and Michael's constitution.

O Lord, we see how You inspired Michael Garicotis
to remain true to himself and Your calling for him.
Grant all believers in You and Your Son
the same steadfastness,
no matter what obstacles others may place before us.
Through Your love, everything is possible,
and help us remember to call on Michael
and his intervention in our times of need. Amen.

From Ordinary People Extraordinary Lives