Monday, November 8, 2010

Waking the Dead

It is commonly said, that everyone hates change.  If so, what about the dead?  Do you think they like to be disturbed?
What brought these question on?  The recent transfer of the remains of Father Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P. to a new chapel, gave rise to these questions.  You see, the remains of Fr. Lataste were in the chapel where the Dominican Sisters of Bethany pray, in Monferrand, France, and the people on pilgrimage to pray at the tomb of Father Lataste were getting to be a nuisance, to nuns trying to contemplate.    So a new chapel was built to house the remains of Father Lataste.

My "cloistered brothers," sent cards and notebooks of prayers, to be buried with Father Lataste.  All of us Latastes were emotionally involved with the idea of seeing and touching the remains.  And to have a part of us buried with him is felt poignantly.

One of the Dominican Sisters of Bethany from Turin chronicled the event.  She concluded her letter with the following description, which nicely expresses the mood of this sacred important moment.

Pendant ce long moment de travail, l’atmosphère était à la fois joyeuse et respectueuse. Comme l’a dit frère Jean Marie, nous ne célébrons pas l’enterrement d’un cadavre, mais la reconnaissance d’une vie donnée à la prédication de la miséricorde et de la toute puissance de Dieu.

Quand tout a été accompli, nous avons accompagné en procession l’ossuaire porté par les frères Jean Marie et Marc à la chapelle du Père Lataste en chantant O spem miram. La tombe a été bénie et l’ossuaire descendu dans la nouvelle tombe. Une enveloppe de nos frères de Norfolk a été déposée dans la tombe. Les sœurs de Venlo ont aussi déposé des photos des sœurs mortes et la liste des vivantes. 

Tout étant terminé, nous avons chanté tous ensemble le SALVE REGINA qui voulait exprimer notre joie et notre reconnaissance. 


In this particular case, I think everyone is happier.  The nuns have their quiet, and the pilgrims can go pay their homage to Father Lataste.  I'm sure Father Lataste would agree that this is a better arrangement.

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