(l-r) Bro. Etienne Le Chapelain, Aux. Visitor, District of France; William Toner;
Most Rev. Henry Brincard, Bishop of Le Puy-en-Velay; and Bro. Charles Gresh.
The 150th anniversary of the death of St. Benilde Romançon, FSC was the occasion for celebration and prayer in the remote, picturesque village of Saugues in southern France on August 12-13, 2012. Brother Charles Gresh of the University Advancement Office at La Salle University in Philadelphia witnessed this solemn event together with William Toner who resides in Montesquiou, France, both graduates of La Salle University.
Prior to the Mass celebrated by Most Rev. Henry Brincard, Bishop of Le Puy-en-Velay, the “White Penitent Saugues,” a group of laymen so called because of the ancient white costumes adopted centuries ago, carried a casket of relics to the altar. They were followed by delegates from various surrounding parishes carrying icons of the saint.
In his homily, the bishop portrayed Brother Benilde as a religious, a teacher, an administrator and catechist-one who cared deeply for the welfare of young people, their families and his religious brothers.
Following Mass, the “standing room only” congregation proceeded to the original stone building where St. Benilde founded the elementary school for the sons of the villagers in Saugues and taught for 20 years. Here, a new statue was unveiled. The Mayor of Saugues hosted a reception for the townspeople. In the evening, a candlelight procession was held. At Mass the next day, the blessing of the sick concluded an unforgettable experience.
St. Saint Benilde Romançon, FSC
Born: June 14, 1805 in Thuret, France
Entered the novitiate: February 10, 1820
Appointed Director of a school in Saugues, France: 1841
Died: August 13, 1862
Beatified: April 4, 1948
Canonized: October 29, 1967