Volume 2, Chapter
As the Society of St. Pius
X has grown it has come to acquire properties in many countries
- schools, churches, and residences – to be transformed into priories.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that the most important acquisition
to date is the former Jesuit Seminary at St. Mary’s, Kansas, in
America. This seminary was one of the great centers of Catholicism
in America. It had been sold by the Jesuits to a property company,
and, as has been the case with hundreds of similar properties, it
appeared lost to the Church for ever. St. Mary’s was to be sold
to the highest bidder, and it was far from impossible that it would
have fallen into the hands of a Protestant sect. But it was acquired
by the Society in June, 1978, in an almost miraculous fashion, and
at a very modest price agreed to by the board of the property company,
so that the college could keep its Catholic character. A high proportion
of the board members were Catholics. The College consists of twenty-seven
acres of land on which there are thirteen buildings – lecture halls,
gymnasiums, halls of residence, an infirmary, and the Immaculata
Chapel, one of the most beautiful in America. Unfortunately the
chapel was almost destroyed in a disastrous fire, but will eventually
be restored to its former glory.
By the time the Society had
acquired St. Mary's College some of the buildings were in a very
dilapidated state, and the grounds were overgrown. But volunteers
arrived from all over the U.S.A., and amazing transformation took
place. A Pilgrimage was organized by The Angelus Press for 13-16
August 1979, led by Archbishop Lefebvre. At a banquet held in honor
of the Archbishop, Michael Davies remarked that St. Mary's could
be seen as a sign of hope for the entire Church. He noted that all
those present at the banquet had enjoyed the privilege of participating
in a Pontifical High Mass for the Feast of the Assumption. (There
had been Pontifical Vespers the day before.) This had been the Tridentine
Mass, the rite used in the College from the day of its foundation,
which dated back to an Indian Mission opened in 1827. The College
was being used for the purpose for which it had been founded, Catholic
education, and sound Catholic literature was being sold there once
more. Anyone who suggested that the Church might rise triumphantly
once more from the rubble of the post-conciliar revolution would
be looked upon as crazy by most Catholics today, but anyone who
had predicted the transformation which had taken place in Saint
Mary's would also have been considered crazy a year before. Here
was a rare example of genuine renewal taking place in the post-conciliar
Church, a renewal in the true sense of the word – something that
had been abandoned had been restored and renewed.
1979 issue of The Angelus reprinted a report of the Pilgrimage
which had appeared in The St. Mary's Star. The following
extract gives a very good indication of the spirit which pervaded
The transformation of Canisius
Hall into Assumption Chapel seemed like a small miracle, and it
was filled to overflowing. When the hundreds of chairs were quickly
occupied, the worshippers stood. The altars were decorated with
masses of lovely flowers, and tall white tapers in golden candlesticks.
The unusual painting, the Icon of Kiev, was also accented with
a bouquet of roses and carnations. The simplicity of the faces
of the Madonna and Child contrasted with the elaborate brass halo
and the ornate frame. And there was the huge Bishop’s Chair, the
one that had been a part of St. Mary's College history for so
many years. Above it was the red and gold canopy and the shield
with the Archbishop's coat of arms.
The Mass began. How can
you adequately describe the pageantry, the vivid colors of the
vestments and the bishop's mitre; the grace and the beauty of
the movements of the ritual; the pungent smell of the incense;
the melodious sound of the ancient chants and hymns; the solemn
faces of the altar boys; and the look of devotion on the rapt
faces of the reverent worshippers? In his sermon, delivered in
French and then translated, the Archbishop reaffirmed the desire
to rebuild the chapel. For the Feast of the Assumption message,
he used scripture passages to point out that Mary is the example
and teacher of the faith. Holding the golden staff in his left
hand, he charged the congregation to be "the leaven of the
Church." Communion was distributed first to the children
making their First Holy Communion, and then to the huge crowd
of believers. The Mass ended.
At the closing banquet,
attended by approximately 1,200, Father Bolduc expressed his thanks
to so many who helped to make this first pilgrimage such a success.
Appreciation was also extended to the city and to the residents
of St. Marys for their cooperation this past year. Archbishop
Lefebvre will take back to Ecône a beautiful picture of the Immaculata
Chapel as it was when he first saw it two years ago. He also carries
with him a cordial invitation to return again soon for the dedication
of a rebuilt chapel. The activities on the Feast of the Assumption
ended with Confirmation, a candlelight procession, and Benediction.
The first pilgrimage ended Thursday with hourly masses and prayers
This has been a week for
intense and mixed feeling. For the members of the Society, it
has been a joyous time, a dream come true, the answer to a prayer.
For the more than 2,000 who made the pilgrimage from all over
the world, it has been a time of renewal and hope.
The sermon preached by Archbishop
Lefebvre on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
15 August 1979, at St. Mary’s College, Kansas, during the Angelus
My dear brethren:
When I came to St. Mary's
College for the first time two years ago, I was amazed and stupefied
by the magnificence of the chapel, of the chapel dedicated to the
Immaculate Conception. And when those who were showing me around
this magnificent chapel told me that it was a shrine venerated throughout
America, and particularly in this area, I thought at once that,
if God permitted us to have this property, and especially this chapel,
we would make of it a center of pilgrimage, a center of devotion
to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary for all America. People come from
the North, from the South, from the East, from the West, to this
center which lies in the geographical center of America, so as to
manifest their devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, and to
discover at her feet the line of conduct to follow in this terrible
period that the Church is passing through today.
And already I was promising
Father Bolduc that I would come for the Feast of August 15, to meet
all those who desired to come to pray at the feet of the Most Blessed
Virgin, and to encourage them to preserve the Catholic Faith in
union with the Virgin Mary. But, by the decision of Providence,
the chapel caught fire. This was a great trial for us. It was indeed
a disaster. Our hearts were in anguish. But since God had decided
thus, we still thought that we should maintain this date for the
pilgrimage and that, since it had become necessary, we would reconstruct
And what we did just a little
while ago – the blessing of the cornerstone – is proof that you
are determined to rebuild the chapel for the glory of the Most Blessed
Virgin. I am convinced that all of you will help to make this shrine
as beautiful, if not more beautiful, than that which was there before.
And I am happy to see that
you have come – despite the destruction, you have come from all
parts of America.
In a few words I would like
to show you how much the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, in this painful
crisis that the Church is going through, should be our guide and
our model. With her we are certain not to go astray. We shall look
to her, we shall ask her what she did during the course of her life,
what she has to teach us, and we shall see that the Most Blessed
Virgin Mary teaches us just what the Church has taught us ever since,
in the course of twenty centuries.
The first element that concerns
the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, and that announces her, is found in
the protogospel, in Genesis, where already Mary is presented as
a queen going forth to battle, as the queen of hosts, queen of armies,
who gathers about herself all the forces of God, all the graces
of God, and this to fight. To fight whom? To fight what? To fight
It is God Himself who announces
this to the devil: "I shall place between thee – the devil,
Satan – and the Virgin Mary an enmity.” So the Virgin has an enemy.
And not only an enmity between the Virgin Mary and Satan, but an
enmity between the progeny of Satan and the progeny of Mary; between
the world, between everything represented by those of Satan, by
those who are the children of Satan, by those who struggle against
God, who detest God and the Son of Mary, Our Lord Jesus Christ,
and all those who will be the children of the Virgin Mary.
There are then, by the will
of God, two armies in the world: an army of the children of the
Virgin Mary, and an army of the children of Satan. And between them,
God has placed an enmity, an enmity that will last until the end
of time, until the end of the world. Consequently, the Virgin Mary,
already, before being born, promised by God, draws us into a combat,
into her combat, into the combat which will lead her to victory.
A combat, however, which, alas, will often be waged in painful,
in difficult, and in trying periods. But if we follow the Virgin
Mary we are sure with her to achieve victory.
This victory that the Virgin
Mary desires is a victory against Satan and, consequently, against
sin. The Virgin Mary is the symbol of those who do not want to be
sin, who do not want to disobey God. This is the battle that the
Virgin Mary is going to wage through the ages. So it is a great
lesson that God gives us in announcing the birth of His Mother,
in announcing that we shall have a Mother, a heavenly Mother, a
Mother who will do battle. So we shall do battle together with her
and we must do battle against the common enemy – Satan, and all
those who with Satan are against God.
Perhaps you have observed
nowadays in modern ecclesiastical literature that they no longer
want to talk about the enemies of the Church, they no longer want
to talk about the enemies of God, the enemies of Our Lord Jesus
Christ. They would like these enemies to become brothers. Instead
of combatting sin in them, the sin that removes them from God, by
loving them, by seeking to convert them, it now seems that those
who believe in the Virgin Mary, and are the children of the Virgin
Mary, and those who are not children of the Virgin Mary, are all
Well, this is not true. We
must strive to bring them to become children of Mary, but we cannot
recognize them as children of God if they are not children of Mary.
The second lesson that the
Most Blessed Virgin Mary gives us, when she was visited by the Angel
Gabriel, is her faith. The first fact noted for us in the Gospel
on the occasion of the Annunciation, is the faith of Mary. And her
cousin Elizabeth congratulates her: "Beata quae credidisti
– blessed art thou who hast believed." Yes, the Most Blessed
Virgin Mary believed. She believed in whom, in what? She believed
that the Son who was to be born of her was the Son of God; she believed
in the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ; she believed in the Divinity
of her divine Son.
This is the great lesson
that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary gives us. Henceforth, she lives
only for the Reign of her Son, for the glory of her Son, Our Lord
Jesus Christ. In the greatest humility – she says, herself, that
she was chosen because of her humility.
Saint Elizabeth did not hesitate
to praise her precisely for this: “Blessed art thou, O Mary, because
thou hast believed." This should also be our own first conviction:
We must believe: we must believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the
Son of God, must believe all our Credo, the whole faith that the
Most Blessed Virgin had transmitted, that the Most Blessed Virgin
manifested to the Apostles and that the Apostles transmitted. We
must keep this faith intact. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin to have
faith like hers – to have faith as deep, as firm, as courageous
as that of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.
The third event in the life
of the Virgin Mary that shows us how we should behave is what took
place at the wedding feast of Cana. You remember that they ran out
of wine during the wedding feast. The servant came to tell Mary
that there was no more wine. And what did Mary tell the servant?
“Do all that He tells you.” This is the Gospel of Mary. All is summarized
in this phrase: “Do what Jesus tells you."
Many addresses these words
to us as well, not only to the servant of Cana. At the very beginning
of the period of evangelization of Our Lord, the Most Blessed Virgin
is already speaking to us, is already speaking to those who will
be the disciples of Our Lord. And when we appeal to the Most
Blessed Virgin Mary to ask her what we should do in the difficult
circumstance of our lives, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary will answer
us, just as she answered the servants at the wedding feast of Cana:
"Do all that He tells you. Do the will of Our Lord. Observe
the commandments of Our Lord Jesus Christ. If you do the will of
Our Lord, if you do the will of my divine Son, then you will be
saved. Then your soul, which is perhaps like water, will be changed
into wine, a generous wine. Your soul will be filled with the grace
of the Lord. Your soul will be filled with all that is necessary
for you to fulfill the commandments of God.” This is the third lesson
that our heavenly Mother gives us.
The fourth lesson that the
Most Blessed Virgin Mary gives us is her presence on Calvary. Her
presence on Calvary where she is not the priest who offers the sacrifice
- the priest who offers the sacrifice is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself,
but the Most Blessed Virgin Mary is there, present. The apostles
are absent; only St. John is with her.
By this presence on Calvary,
the Virgin Mary shows us the importance of the Sacrifice of Calvary,
and, consequently, the importance of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
She is the Mother of Priests. She is the Mother of all the faithful.
And by "this presence, standing before her divine Son Who is
covered with blood, Whose blood was poured forth for our sins, the
Most Blessed Virgin Mary shows Him to us, and says to us: "See
the love He has for you: my divine Son has given all His blood that
I myself gave Him in my womb, this blood that is now all over His
body. His heart is open. His head is pierced with thorns. His hands
are pierced; His feet pierced - all that by love of you." And
this will continue until the end of time through the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass.
Thus the Most Blessed Virgin
Mary teaches us the great mystery of the love of Our Lord Jesus
Christ, realized in the Sacrifice of Calvary, in the Sacrifice of
the Mass, and in the Holy Eucharist. For the Sacrifice of the Mass
also gives us the Eucharist; this Flesh and Blood of the Victim
that we must eat and drink to obtain eternal life. It is Our Lord
Jesus Christ Himself Who said so: "If you do not eat my flesh
and drink my blood, you will not have eternal life." So Our
Lord Jesus Christ accomplished this unimaginable, the incredible
miracle of really giving us His Body and His Blood to eat and drink.
This is what the great love of Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished,
and this is the lesson that the Virgin Mary gives us by her presence
at the feet of her divine Son on Calvary.
Finally, the last lesson
that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary gives us is that of her presence
in the midst of the apostles the day of Pentecost. It is through
her that the graces will be given to the apostles and that the Holy
Ghost will descend upon the apostles. The Church teaches us so.
The apostles were sanctified on that day by the Holy Ghost through
the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, through the mediation
of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.
She no longer needed to receive
the Holy Ghost. She was filled with the Holy Ghost. The Angel Gabriel
told her so: “Thou art filled with the Holy Ghost." She no
longer needed to receive Him. But if she was present, it is because
she wanted to communicate the Holy Ghost to the apostles, and because
Our Lord wanted Him to be communicated to them through her – to
them and, consequently, to the Church. There she truly became the
Mother of the Church, because it was she who by her mediation gave
the Holy Ghost to the apostles.
So the Blessed Virgin Mary
teaches us to love the Church, to love the Holy Ghost - the Holy
Ghost, who is given to us by all the Sacraments instituted by Our
Lord, and especially by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and by the
Eucharist. This is what the Most Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us.
Therefore we must be attached
to the Church, and it is because we are attached to the Church that
we defend our holy Mother the Church. The Roman Catholic Church
is our mother. And it is because we are the devoted sons of the
Church, because we love Rome, because we love all those who truly
represent the Holy Catholic Church, that we defend our faith, that
we defend what the Virgin Mary has given us.
We do not want them to change
our Church. We want no other Church. We want the Roman Catholic
Church, that which the Most Blessed Virgin Mary communicated to
the apostles in the Holy Ghost. This is the Church that we want.
This is the Church that we love – the Church of the Mother of Jesus,
the Church of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church of the Immaculate
Conception, the Church of Our Assumption. This is the Church that
we want! This is the Church that we venerate, the Church to which
we wish forever to remain subject. So we beg those who have posts
of authority in the Church not to change our Church, to remain faithful
to the Church of Mary, to remain faithful to the Most Blessed Virgin
Mary, to all the lessons that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary has given
And I beg you, my dear brethren,
to be the leaven – the leaven of the Catholic Church, of this love
for the Catholic Church, in all your regions, in all your families,
in all your homes. Remain children of Mary. Pray to the Most Blessed
Virgin Mary. Meditate on the lessons that the Most Blessed Virgin
Mary gives you. Then you will be true Catholics. You cannot be children
of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, in a full and holy manner, without
being the best children of the Catholic Church. This is what reassures
us that we are indeed true sons of the Catholic Church.
So I am convinced that when
you return home you will be true representatives of the Catholic
Church, and that you will do all you can so that she continues,
despite the difficulties, despite the trials, despite the contradictions.
We must all pray together today for you to be witnesses. Just as
the apostles received the Holy Ghost through the Virgin Mary, and
went forth to give witness to the Gospel throughout the world, so
you also must be the witnesses of the Virgin Mary, of the Holy Ghost
that you have received through her, and give witness to your faith
in God, of your faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, of your love for
the Church, wherever you may be. This is what God desires.
You are the Church! You are
the Catholic Church! So let us remain in this Church of the Virgin
Mary. Let us confide in her. Let us confide to her our families,
especially our children, who so need the help of the Virgin Mary
to remain in the true Catholic Faith.
I congratulate you with all
my heart for preserving this Faith. I also congratulate you with
all my heart to see that you have so many children. We observe that
half of the assembly here is composed of persons less than twenty
years old. This is a sign, a sign of your fidelity to the Catholic
Church, a sign of your fidelity to the commandments of God, and
I congratulate you. I am sure that God's blessings are upon you.
I hope that next year, or
perhaps in two years, I do not know, if, of course, God gives me
life, that I shall be able again, with you, to say Mass, no longer
here, but in our beautiful basilica which will be rebuilt, by the
grace of God. And we shall be able to sing the praises of the Virgin
Mary, as we are doing today, but perhaps with still greater beauty
and a still greater number of pilgrims.
May God bless you. In the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109