2, Chapter XXVIII
sermon preached by Father L. M. Barrielle,
in The Angelus, November 1979.
All Saints' Day, Wednesday, 1 November 1978, the soul of M. Alphonse
Pedroni left us for the land of the blest – the meeting place of
all who on earth have believed in Christ and led their lives in
accord with His divine teaching.
day Holy Church invites us to honor certain men who, during their
lives, have been examples of heroic sanctity. To encourage us here
below and to give us an example, the Church inscribes them in the
catalogue of saints. But many saints – even those heroic in all
Christian virtues – are not known on earth. The Church includes
them in the wonderful Feast of All Saints.
this numberless procession it is pleasing to imagine this Saint
- M. Alphonse Pedroni – who will probably pass unknown to many,
but will surely find a high place among the souls who have done
much to establish the reign of the Immaculate Heart, which will
triumph in the end. On Saturday, 4 November 1978, the first Saturday
of the month, so dear to his heart, in the crowded chapel of Econe,
his mortal remains received funeral honors according to the traditional
rite which was his last wish.
Lefebvre insisted upon singing a Pontifical Requiem Mass to show
the gratitude of the Society of St. Pius X and the Seminary of Ecône
towards this humble Christian, an industrialist from Saxon, who
was at the very root of our International Seminary at Ecône.
was in 1968 that the Vice President of the little commune of Saxon
(we should say in France, the deputy mayor) a former Retreatant
of the work founded by Father Vallet at Chabeuil, heard one evening
a group of men engaged in a pretty sharp discussion in a cafe: the
old house of the Canons of St. Bernard – over 600 years old – was
apparently for sale; they were discussing buying it and turning
it into a casino. Of course, the Chapel of Our Lady of the Fields
would be demolished. The business could not but be a success, etc.,
etc. The tall, silent Alphonse, sitting at the next table, took
no part in the conversation but he heard everything.1
was thunderstruck by the thought that this religious house, sanctified
by so many holy religious, was to become a house of sin! …the Chapel
of Our Lady of the Fields, dear to every native of the Valais, was
to be demolished to make way for a center of iniquity. No! Never
while he lived could a Retreatant tolerate such a sacrilege! Back
home, he telephoned his brother, Marcel, with whom he had made his
first retreat at Chabeuil: "We cannot allow this profanation!”
the other end of the wire came the response: “What sort of business
are you rushing into? I've heard that the Canons need the money
and will really call the tune. Keep out of it! The price would be
have no right to stand for this! The problem is not insoluble. Let
them demolish that Chapel where the holy Canon Gabioud said his
First Mass in our presence? Unity is strength. We are a group of
determined Retreatants. All it needs is for a few determined Retreatants
to business affairs, Alphonse did not shrink from the difficulties.
Without trouble he found a few friends able to put up the money:
a notary in Fully, an insurance agent in Sion, a friend in Orsiéres
who was to become a councillor of the Canton, some others in Martigny,
the young curé of Riddes, the two Pedronis. They would use the land
for growing apricots, vines, etc.
boldly telephoned the Provost of St. Bernard: "We are willing
to buy at the highest price to be offered
by any bidder. Give us priority. We cannot allow such a profanation."
word is given, the deed of purchase is signed (note the date) on
31 May, 1968 – the Feast of Mary, Queen of the World.
deal is complete, the House is bought. How to use it? There is a
God! Alphonse believed in Providence. A Carmelite community comes
to see it…no good, there are no walls. The Sisters of Chabeuil come,
too. Hummm! At this, the beloved and revered Abbé Bonvin, Curé of
Fully, who has in his parish the strongest parochial section of
Retreatants in the Valais, in Switzerland, in the world – invites
one of his old friends from the French Seminary in Rome to come
and preach a week’s mission to the men. It is His Excellency Archbishop
Marcel Lefebvre, former Archbishop of Dakar, former Apostolic Delegate
for all French-speaking Africa, former Superior General of the Holy
Ghost Fathers, former Archbishop of Tulle, etc. In the course of
the mission, Monseigneur asked his friend:
you couldn't find me a house large enough for a seminary? Several
seminarians, ill-pleased with the distortions of the Faith which
are served up to them in various seminaries, have sought me out.
I have agreed; I have bought a small villa at Fribourg but it is
curé was only too happy to be able to reply, "I have exactly
what you want, and it will be given to you for nothing, and ready
at once. The notary of my parish, a former Retreatant, is the secretary
of a society which has just what you want."
dinner was organized in Monseigneur's honor. This group of Retreatants
had refused to change their Missals. The conversation was lively.
Everyone had a firm faith which rejected the intrusions of the modernist
Mafia who want to force the church into Modernist Protestism. However,
one of the gentleman had not yet said a word: it was the very one
who had begun the whole business.
Monseigneur invited him gently thus: “We should very much like to
know what M. Pedroni thinks of all this.”
silent one answered, concise and prophetic: “Monseigneur, if you
establish your seminary at Ecône, before long Ecône will be known
throughout the world!”
a prophecy!” – which was followed by general laughter.
at the committee meeting every year on the arrival of Alphonse,
his colleagues would tease him: "Here's the prophet!"
Because, in truth, people were soon speaking of Ecône in every country
of the world.
it necessary to say that, on that autumn morning in 1978 when the
entire seminary of Ecône sang the Requiem Mass for a friend universally
regretted, the seminarians surrounded the coffin of Alphonse Pedroni
represented not only most of the countries of Europe, but Canada,
the Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and even the very antipodes of
Switzerland: Australia and New Zealand.
after ten years, not only was Econe known throughout the world but
the whole world was there around him. And Mgr. 'Lefebvre, during
that Requiem Mass could not subdue his emotion.
this first Saturday of November, sacred to the Immaculate Heart
of Mary , dear Alphonse, that Queen to whom you had consecrated
your whole life, whom you loved so much and so greatly caused to
be loved by others, came herself to fetch you.
we who knew you intimately believes, as Monseigneur said in his
address: “On high you will continue your work of defending the Roman
Catholic Faith, defending the True Mass, the priesthood and Ecône,
which reminds the whole of the anti-modernist oath of Saint Pius
See Vol. I, pp. 13-14.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109