Blessed Francois De Montmorency Laval
Blessed Francois was the first bishop of Quebec City, Canada. He was born in 1623 in a small town in France. Francois received a good, Catholic education. He studied with the Jesuits and then went to Paris to complete his preparation for the priesthood. Francois became a priest in May, 1647. He was consecrated a bishop on December 8, 1658, and arrived in New France in 1659.
Bishop Laval had a missionary spirit. He accepted the pioneer life of his people. Even more, Francois had the courage to take on a huge task. He was to organize the Church in Canada which was still mission territory. Bishop Laval asked the Jesuit missionaries to minister to the native people. He created new parishes for the French-speaking Catholics. He started the seminary of Quebec in 1663. This was of great importance because a good seminary would train future priests for God's people.
Bishop Laval loved the people of his vast territory. He was a caring bishop and a prayerful man. His particular cross was the constant interference by civil authorities. He was particularly outspoken about the harm of alcohol trafficking.
In 1688, he retired and was replaced by Bishop de Saint-Vallier. Bishop Laval devoted the last twenty years of his life to charitable and spiritual works. He died in 1708. Pilgrims prayed at his tomb and miracles were reported. Pope John Paul II declared Bishop Laval "blessed" on June 22, 1980.
Let us pray for all missionaries around the world that they find comfort and courage in the Lord Jesus.