Archbishop Lefebvre officiating at ordination or confirmation
ceremonies, robed in his pontifical vestments, surrounded by
gold and incense, one would think that he lives continuously
in episcopal splendor. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Christian simplicity inspires all his daily actions.
life Archbishop Lefebvre wears a simple black cassock with the
cincture of the Holy Ghost Fathers. The only signs of his episcopacy
are his ring and his pectoral cross. When he is at Ecône,
the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X rises at 5:30
a.m., a half hour before the Community. He celebrates Mass at
6:00 at a small chapel on the second floor of the seminary for
groups of faithful who come before beginning their day's work.
6:45 a.m. His Grace goes to the main chapel where the seminaries
are finishing Prime, and with them prays and attends the community
Mass. At 8:00 he goes to the refectory for breakfast, sitting
at the head of the faculty table.
His Grace is in his office, a little room next to his bedroom,
exactly like the offices of all the priests at seminary. There
he remains until noon. On the shelves of his library can be
found books of spirituality, the Summa Theologica of
St. Thomas Aquinas, Acts of the Popes, a dictionary. The former
Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers has not forgotten
his vow of poverty: he gives all books presented to him to the
the morning hours, Archbishop Lefebvre answers his mail, prepares
the spiritual talks which he gives to the seminarians each Thursday,
does research for the course on papal teachings which he gives
every week to the first-year students.
most of his visitors in the parlor. Saturday morning is devoted
to discussions with professors.
p.m. His Grace goes to chapel for Sext in community, and leads
the Angelus. He takes his lunch in silence, listening with the
professors and seminarians to the table reading.
missionary is not hard to please, much less fastidious; his
food is the same as for the others. Still, one attentive seminarian
thinks he has spotted in him a certain predilection for grapefruit.
recreation after lunch, His Grace loves to be with his sons,
to walk and talk with them; unfortunately his many responsibilities
seldom give him the opportunity to do so. The afternoon finds
him again in his office, where he sees informally the seminarians
who wish to speak with him after their classes.
permits, he visits the sacristy, the library, the supply room,
to make sure that things are running smoothly in these areas.
p.m. His Grace recites the Rosary with his seminarians for the
intentions of the friends of the Society. In spite of ferocious
demands on his time, he is rarely absent from community exercises.
Dinner, then evening recreation, then finally Compline chanted
at 8:45 and his day is ended. As he leaves the chapel, before
retiring to his room, the Superior General of the Society of
St. Pius X kneels on the tile floor of the cloister, before
the statue of the Blessed Virgin, for a short prayer. It would
not be hard to guess what he is saying to her.
next morning, throughout the house, it is Grand Silence.1