From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Tue Apr 13 23:44:23 2021
On the Zealous Amendment of our Life (II)
There was once a man who was very anxious, and wavered between fear
and hope. One day, overcome with sadness, he lay prostrate in prayer
before the altar in church, and pondering these matters in his mind,
said, `Oh, if only I knew that I should always persevere!' then he
heard within his heart an answer from God: `If you knew this, what
would you do? Do now what you would then, and all will be well.' So,
comforted and strengthened, he committed himself to the will of God,
and his anxious uncertainty vanished. Nor did he wish any longer to
inquire into what would happen to him, but strove the more earnestly
to learn the perfect and acceptable will of God, (Rom.12:2) whenever
he began or undertook any good work (2 Tim.3:17).
--Thomas à Kempis--Imitation of Christ Bk 1, Ch 25
14 April – Blessed Lucien Botovasoa O.F.S.
Martyr, Layman, Father, Multi-lingual Schoolteacher, Catechist,
Franciscan Tertiary, Musician and Singer.
Blessed Lucien was born in 1908 in Vohipeno, Madagascar and died by
being beheaded with a sword between 10pm and midnight on 14 April 1947
on the banks of the Mattanana River near Ambohimanarivo, Manakara,
Madagascar. He was wearing his tertiary “uniform” – khaki shirt and trousers with a black cord for a belt. His body was tossed into the
Bl Lucien was a Madagascan Roman Catholic schoolteacher and a
professed member from the Secular Franciscan Order. He served as a
teacher for his entire life and was dedicated to both the religious
and secular education of children. His thirst for the religious life
led him to discover the Secular Franciscan Order in 1940 and he became
part of it; he rallied others to know Saint Francis of Assisi and
enter the order themselves. Botovasoa likewise adopted the Franciscan
charism for himself through his fasting and clothing habits.
Botovasoa’s murder came during a period of tumult in Madagascar and
his cause for canonisation opened on 11 October 2011 under Pope
Benedict XVI in which he became titled as a Servant of God. Pope
Francis confirmed in mid-2017 that Botovasoa was killed in hatred of
his faith and decreed that he was to be beatified; it shall be
celebrated in Vohipeno, Madasgascar tomorrow, the Third Sunday of
Easter, 15 April 2018.
Lucien Botovasoa was born in 1908 in Vohipeno, a rural town in the
southeast of Madagascar, the province of Fianarantsoa.
In 1918 he began studies in the state school and then proceeded to the
Jesuit College of St Joseph in Ambozontany. In 1928 he concluded the
studies and was awarded the teaching diploma and in the same year
became a parish teacher in Vohipeno, making his own the motto of the
Society of Jesus: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.
On 10 October 1930 he married Suzanna Soazana in the parish church of
Vohipeno and on the following 12 September was born Vincent de Paul
Hermann, the first of their eight children, of which only five
survived. The Servant of God was an excellent teacher, working not
only as the village teacher but also in the parish, with generous
availability to the needy. In addition to Malagasy, he knew French,
Latin, German, and Chinese. He was an exceptional musician and
appreciated as a singer, becoming also the director of the parish
choir. He was also an athlete and is described as always smiling and
In 1940 the Servant of God stumbled upon the Rule of the Franciscan
Third Order and it became for him a text for study and meditation. He
decided to take up himself this following of Christ, with investiture
in the habit of the Franciscan Third Order on 18 December 1944. He
thus began to live a poor life of Franciscan spirituality,
characterised by a deep piety and by the burning desire to bring the
After the Second World War, in the years 1946-1947, there grew in
Madagascar the desire for independence from France. In 1946, as
supporter of independence, Tsimihoño, from the Clan of Ambohimanarivo,
became king (Mpanjaka). At Vohipeno there were also violent clashes
between the two factions. On 30 March 1947, Palm Sunday, the parish
church was burned and so began the king’s hunt for the ‘Christian teacher,’ Lucien Botovasoa, who was respected by both the Catholics
and others in Vohipeno. Lucien was commanded to appear, or his family
would be massacred.
The Servant of God, realising what was happening, entrusted his wife
and children to his brother and returned to Vohipeno. Around nine
o’clock in the evening of 17 April 1947, his brother André and two
cousins, under threat of death, were charged with arresting Lucien.
Brought to the house of the king Tsimihoño, he was condemned to death
without any trial. Arriving at the place of execution he knelt and was
beheaded while he was praying for his murderers. His body was thrown
in the river.
Prayer to Do the Will of God
By St Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226)
Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God,
grant us in our misery, the grace to do for You alone
what we know You want us to do
and always to desire what pleases You.
Thus, inwardly cleansed,
and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,
may we be able to follow
in the footprints of Your beloved Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, by Your grace alone,
may we make our way to You, Most High,
Who live and rule in perfect Trinity
and simple Unity
and are glorified God
all-powerful forever and ever.
-from ‘A Letter to the Entire Order’