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June 16, Saint John Francis Regis, Patron of the Secular Branch

Saint John Francis Regis, Priest

Patron of the Secular Branch of the Congregation



        Born in Fontcouverte (Aude, France) in 1597. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1616 and was ordained in 1630. It was one of the great popular preachers of the seventeenth century. During the last decade of his short life, he worked in Velay, Cévennes and Forez, doing immense good in these areas that the religious wars had devastated. His  dedication and love for the poor made him very popular. He died exhausted, on December 31, 1640, in La Louvesc (Ardèche), where he is buried. Pope Clement XII canonized him in 1737.


    Among the pilgrims, that today continue to flow to that high place where he is buried (1100 m), in 1802 was Father Coudrin, who accompanied the Bishop Chabot for the transfer of the relics of the saint, hidden during the revolutionary period.

    "I bowed, wrote the July 15, 1802, on the remains of the glorious St. Regis. The translation was performed with a wonderful ceremony ... I had the consolation, along with the administrator of the diocese (Mr. Vernet) of carry them on my shoulders for over half an hour ... and I had the comfort of putting on the superb niche the precious treasure, so loved and revered in these parts. I have offered you all…".


    A stained glass window of the present basilica evokes the pilgrimage that the Good Father did. However, the devotion of Pierre Coudrin to this holy Jesuit missionary came from long time ago.  For example, Article 10 of the Rules of the Association of the Sacred Heart (lay group) founded in Poitiers in 1792, from which is born the Congregation, already designated St. John Francis Regis as its patron. The External Association, and later on the Secular branch, have inherited the patron saint from them.


Lord Jesus Christ
you have a heart like ours.
You see our suffering, you know our concerns.
You know also our burning desire for life,
happiness, joy and salvation.

In your word and ministry
you give us all we need to live:
to the poor you give bread,
to the grief-stricken, joy,
to the lonely, a home,
to the abandoned, help and comfort,
to the discouraged, hope and confidence,
to the despairing, strength and courage,
to the sick, a loving consoling presence,
to the dying, communion with God forever.

Give us a heart as big is yours
so that all those whom we meet
might feel understood, welcomed and loved.

Let us be your mouth,
to speak words of goodness and reconciliation;
Let us be your ears,
to listen when no one else wants to listen.
Let us be your hands,
to give without expecting a return.
Let us be your feet,
to go where distress and misery reign.
Let us be your heart, wounded out of love,
to heal the wounds of all humanity.
As children of your Father,
we want to be united by our love for one another;
and to proclaim by our unity,
that you are alive in our midst.

(Communities of the Secular Branch in Germany)