As we head to Vermont to celebrate the Feast of St. Michael this weekend, I recall the struggles and joys our founders faced as they pressed to spread the Gospel in a politically and ecclesially torn, post-revolution France. I recall the struggles and joys of our young priests who were asked by the bishop of Coutances to take possession of Mont St. Michel, wherein the first year of the re-opened pilgrimage site showed one mere pilgrim. A few years later, thousands flocked. I recall the struggles and joys of our brothers who were expelled from France by a virulently anticlerical government and gradually made their way to northern Vermont. I recall the struggles and joys of the foundation and growth of St. Michael's College, of our congregation nearly disbanding in 1924, of its rampant growth in the 1950s to 1970s, of its gradual decline over the past 40 years. And now, I recall the struggles and hopes of our current members. Many of us are not getting any younger, but we have hope. A rebirth, small as it may be, has indeed begun. The seeds of renewal have been planted and each day take stronger root. The Society of St. Edmund will grow and go in many new ways over the next few decades, ways that none of us now expect, and none of us now see.
My prayer this Feast of the Archangels is that the Lord may raise up men anew to continue our way of life--our works, our tradition, our spirit--that we may continue to serve the Gospel of Christ in all the endeavors of which we have been so graced to be called ministers.