Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 3, Chapter XIV

A Day in the Life of Archbishop Lefebvre

September 1979

To see 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.

In everyday 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.

Around 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.

After that 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 seminary library.

During 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.

He receives most of his visitors in the parlor. Saturday morning is devoted to discussions with professors.

At 12:15 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.

The former 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.

During 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.

When time permits, he visits the sacristy, the library, the supply room, to make sure that things are running smoothly in these areas.

At 7:00 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.

Until the next morning, throughout the house, it is Grand Silence.1


1. This article appeared in the September 1979 issue of Fideliter.

Chapter 13

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