Saint Albans native and Edmundite Father Maurice Ouellet was an important leader in The Society of Saint Edmund. We have ministered to black Catholics in Selma, Alabama, and other southern communities, since the 1930’s. Father Ouellet was active in supporting the civil rights movement then, as are Edmundites today. The March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, when John Lewis was attacked by police and had his skull fractured, took place in March of 1965, our Father Ouellet ministered to him.
A dear friend, Jim Leddy, shares this you:
"In 2007, when I was on the Board of Trustees of the University of Vermont, John Lewis was the commencement speaker and received an honorary degree. The evening before graduation, as was traditional, there was a dinner for the Trustees, the honorary degree recipients, the President and other senior officials at UVM.
By a stroke of random luck, I was seated at the same table with John Lewis. In a feeble effort to make small talk with a Vermont connection, I asked Congressman Lewis if he had ever met a Catholic priest in Selma, Alabama by the name of Father Maurice Ouellet. His eyes opened wide and he said, “Father Ouellet, Maurice Ouellet, did I know him, do I remember him! How could I ever forget him! He was the bravest white man I ever met in the South!”
Father Ouellet was pastor of St. Elizabeth’s Church in Selma in the 1960’s, and was very active in supporting the civil rights movement, including the Freedom Riders, often hosting white civil rights workers from the north, arranging for them to stay with parish families and even opening the rectory and parish hall to them.
As it turned out, even in his absence, Maurice Ouellet was another guest at the table that night. Though unplanned, I was privileged to break bread with a great man, John Lewis - humble, saintly and unbending to the end, and to learn about the greatness and goodness of Maurice Ouellet, a Vermonter who came home to be buried in St. Albans with his parents. It was quite a night.
"John Lewis told me at the UVM dinner that the first person he remembers seeing in the hospital emergency room that day was Father Maurice Ouellet, holding his hand.
Lewis asked me if I knew Father Ouellet, and I told him that he was from Vermont and that I had met him when he directed the graduate program in psychology at St. Michael’s College, but that I really didn’t know him. He asked if he still lived in Vermont, but I didn’t know. John Lewis said he would love to see him again and thank him for all he did to help the cause. I later learned that Father Ouellet died in 2011 in Selma, having returned from exile in 2003 to live there in a retirement home the Edmundites had for some of their older priests who had served in their southern missions.
If only I had known who my dinner partner would be that evening and his connection with Father Ouellet, a Vermonter, I would have been better prepared. As it turned out, even in his absence, Maurice Ouellet was another guest at the table that night. Though unplanned, I was privileged to break bread with a great man, John Lewis - humble, saintly and unbending to the end, and to learn about the greatness and goodness of Maurice Ouellet, a Vermonter who came home to be buried in St. Albans with his parents. It was quite a night."
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Made by History Transformed by Conviction By Rev. Richard M. Myhalyk, S.S.E.:
Fr. Richard Myhalyk, S.S.E. reflects on the face of the uncomfortable Christ:
Interested in joining the good fight? Thinking of becoming a priest or a brother? Let us help you discern your vocation!
We are all called to be holy. But we get to choose how we would like to live inside of this holiness. At one point we all ask ourselves, “What is God's will in my life?"
The answers are found in solitude and deep contemplation. It’s in the quiet times that we often hear God calling us into a deeper relationship with Him. Many will marry, others will remain single, but there are those of us who choose to live out our religious life as a priest, brother, or sister.
As we pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, let us remember that Jesus said “to beg the master of the harvest to send laborers into the vineyard” (Matthew 9:38). The Edmundites need more priests and brothers. Please consider us in your search for a vocation.
For more information visit: https://www.sse.org/vocation.html
The heart of the Society of Saint Edmund’s mission is serving where the need is greatest, a credo that has led us to four core ministries: Social Justice, Education, Spiritual Renewal and Pastoral Ministry. It is through these core ministries that we live out a faith-based life of service and make a real difference in people’s lives by bringing them closer to God.