On January 26, 2018 Pope Francis declared “venerable” a French woman known for her holiness and profound reflection on the Christian life thus opening the path to future beatification and canonization. Madeleine DELBRÊL (1904-1964), a poet, mystic, author, and devotee of the gospel message, who lived much of her life in Ivry-sur-Seine near Paris, is perhaps less known outside of France, but her story is a remarkable one, and her writings have been influential in the French-speaking world for many years. She is often touted as a saintly woman for “ordinary people” because much of her spirituality is rooted in daily life.
This step of being proclaimed “venerable” is basically a recognition of the holiness of someone’s life. It means being declared officially a “servant of God.” It is also an ecclesial recognition that her life can serve a good example for other Christians, although there is no formal establishment of public devotion. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints did the background work on the extensive files prepared by the promoter of her cause, Father Gilles FRANÇOIS, of the Diocese of Creteil, and passed on the recommendation to Pope Francis.
Father François, who also serves on the faculty of the Sulpician seminary at Issy-les-Moulineaux, and a Sulpician, Father Bernard PITAUD, PSS, have both worked extensively on the writings of Madeleine Delbrêl and published numerous works on her life and publications. They are presently engaged on a monumental task of preparing a multi-volume set of the complete writings of Delbrêl, which they began in 2004. Most recently, the two authors published a small book titled, La vocation selon Madeleine Delbrêl. Partager la vie de celui qu’on aime (Nouvelle Cité, 2018).
We congratulate Father François and Father Pitaud on this achievement, and we pray for the rapid success of the cause of Madeleine Delbrêl.