+ François was a member of one of the most distinguished families in France and, at the age of twelve, he received the tonsure (which marked his status as a cleric) and he became a canon of the cathedral of Evreux. He was ordained a priest in 1647.
+ At the age of thirty, François was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Vietnam but he was unable to move to Vietnam because of a series of wars that were ravaging the country at that time. He resigned the post a short time later.
+ In 1658, he was appointed Apostolic of “New France.” He arrived in Canada in May 1659.
+ François established parishes and schools, worked to oppose the abuse and exploitation of Native Americans, and combatted the anti-clerical and anti-Catholic prejudices of the civil authorities. In 1662, he established the first seminary in Canada. François was named first bishop of Quebec in 1674.
+ François Montmorency-Laval died on May 6, 1708.
+ Pope Francis waived the requisite “second miracle,” clearing the way for Saint François to be canonized. At the same time, the Holy Father granted equipollent canonization to another important figure in the history of the Church in Canada, the Ursuline sister Saint Marie of the Incarnation Guyart. They were officially declared saints in 2014.
For prayer and reflection
“The Church’s mission of evangelization is essentially a proclamation of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness, revealed to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Missionaries have served the Church’s mission by breaking the bread of God’s word for the poor and those far off, and by bringing to all the gift of the unfathomable love welling up from the heart of the Saviour.”—Pope Francis
O God, who gave increase to your Church through the zeal for religion and apostolic labors of blessed François, grant, through his intercession, that she may always receive new growth in faith and in holiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Pastors—For Missionaries)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.