Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy... Death?


I recently came across the Bonne Mort Society at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Carencro, Louisiana, whose main purpose is to pray for the members who have died, that their time in purgatory be lessened. It is a very interesting group; founded in 1906, their patron is St. Joseph because he was surrounded by Mary and Jesus when he died and therefore had a "happy death" which in French is translated, bonne mort. The membership of the group was dwindling, they use to have one in most Lafayette parishes, but now only one remains. However, in recent years, this last remnant is growing. Anyone can be a member, regardless of what parish they attend and people from Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana have joined this once small group. It's pretty basic as far as what they do to pray for the deceased members, they offer one mass a week for all the members as well as four masses soon after the death of a member. Also, around the feast day of St. Joseph, March 19th, they have a tridium of masses offered for the members of the society. An important aspect of this society is the comfort of knowing that someone is praying for you throughout your life as well as when you are in purgatory. The most interesting aspect of this society is the fact that on the 19th of every month they offer a mass for the "most forgotten soul in purgatory", this is someone who has no one on earth praying for them, who has been forgotten. To me this is so beautiful: to pray for the soul in purgatory that needs the prayers the most, in a way, because they have been otherwise forgotten here on Earth, yet are still our brother or sister in Christ even if we do not know who they are.

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