Félix de Jesús Rougier

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Felix Rougier during his seminary years

Fr. Felix of Jesus Rougier (December 17, 1859, Meilhaud, France — January 10, 1938, Mexico City) was a Catholic priest, a founder of several institutes of consecrated life, and was declared venerable in the year 2000.

Youth[edit]

The Venerable Servant of God Fr. Felix Rougier was born on December 17, 1859 in Meilhaud, France. His parents were Benedict and Maria Luisa Olanier Rougier. He had two brothers: Emmanuel, who was initially a missionary in Oceania but later quit the priesthood, and Estanislao, who distinguished himself as an untiring promoter of social action, defending farmers from their land.[1]

Initially, Felix Rougier was thinking of becoming a doctor. However, his vision soon radically changed after meeting the bishop, Monsignor Eloy, who spoke at length about the missions to over 300 students, including young Felix. Because of this, Felix felt a very intense desire to become a missionary, which never left him.[2]

His motto became "Love the Holy Spirit and make Him loved ..."

Ordination[edit]

After reflecting on his vocation as a missionary, Felix decided to enter the Society of Mary (Marist) where he was admitted and recognized by his obedience and happy surrender to his ministry. When the day of his ordination grew near, he developed a strong arthritis in his right arm. This was cause to prevent his ordination since at that time good health was a fundamental requirement for the priesthood. However, after painful testing of his condition, he was miraculously cured by St. John Bosco who later would say, "God will make you win many souls." Don Bosco was known for his ability to work extraordinary wonders in people and he did this in Felix. Although the problem with his arm was not entirely removed, the improvement was extraordinary and the strength in his arm increased over time, ultimately saving his right arm. Finally, he was ordained as a priest on September 24, 1887.[2]

Missionary work[edit]

During his years in Colombia

Fr. Felix’s dream was to be a missionary in Oceania, but initially his journey there was suspended due to the illness in the arm. His superiors sent him to Colombia where he developed an extensive educational effort and faced the challenges of the Thousand Days' War. He conducted a national ministry collecting food and delivering it to the hungry. Also, he devoted himself to accompanying the soldiers in their last hours and times of illness. He risked his life during the war to hear confessions and attend to the wounded, once even defending the cloak on a corpse that would have been desecrated by the man’s enemies.

Felix Rougier during his years in Spain

In February 1902, Fr. Felix went to Mexico where, on February 4, 1903, he met the Venerable Servant of God Concepción Cabrera de Armida. She, without knowing anything about him, began to talk to him in Confession about certain things that only Father Felix could have known himself. Mrs. Armida, called “Conchita” had various mystical graces. She then spoke to him about the Works of the Cross which she had founded, causing Fr. Felix to immediately have a great love and respect for her. Soon, Conchita announced that God wanted him to be the founder of the Fifth Work of the Cross, the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit. After asking advice from his superiors, he accepted her invitation.[3]

Foundations[edit]

When Fr. Felix first requested permission to found the Congregation mentioned, he was denied and forbidden to deal with the project for ten years. This caused him great pain, but he stood firm with Christ knowing that the work would pay off. Finally through the intercession of Bishop Ramón Ibarra and González, first the Archbishop of Puebla then the Vatican granted Fr. Felix Rougier his foundation on December 25, 1914 in the Chapel of the Roses at Tepeyac, Mexico City. This was the origin of the Congregation of the Missionaries the Holy Spirit. This was done despite full religious persecution by the government. As time went on, Fr. Felix gave birth to three new Institutes of Religious Life: The Daughters of the Holy Spirit (1924) in order to work for the education of young people and to promote all vocations within the Church, the Guadalupan Missionaries of the Holy Spirit (1930) in response to the needs of indigenous people and the needy, and the Oblates of Jesus the Priest (1937) in order to assist in the formation of future priests.[4]

Fr. Felix of Jesus Rougier after the foundation of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit

Fr. Felix Rougier of Jesus was already known in his time as a saint because he loved his priesthood, his mission, and he never lost an opportunity to work for a better world. He was ahead of his time by giving strong support to the laity as well as promoting various media. He founded the Revista la Cruz which continues to be edited. Besides being a great Egyptologist, he dedicated himself to the creation and promotion of schools and hospitals.[2]

Death and venerability declaration[edit]

Fr. Felix died on January 10, 1938 in the French Hospital in Mexico City. His last words were: “With Mary everything, without her, nothing.” His remains are in the National Church of San Felipe de Jesus, in the Historic Center of Mexico City.[1]

He was declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 2000. His cause for beatification has been initiated.[1]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Father Felix of Jesus Rougier Olanier, M. Sp. S.". Research and Promotion Center for the Spirituality of the Cross (in Spanish). Research and Promotion Center for the Spirituality of the Cross. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Venerable P. Félix de Jesús Rougier M.Sp.S. (1859-1938)". Web Católico de Javier. Web Católico de Javier. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Venerable Felix Rougier". Love Crucified. Love Crucified. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Zimbrón, Ricardo. "Risking the Future Life and Spirituality of the Venerable Servant of God Felix of Jesus Rougier, M.Sp.S.". APOSTLESHIP OF THE CROSS. Missionaries of the Holy Spirit. Retrieved 19 February 2014.