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Claude de la Colombière’s life and work
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Claude de la Colombière
Claude de la Colombière
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Biography of Claude de la Colombière

Claude de la Colombière (1641-1682) was born of noble parentage in France in 1641 and died at Paray-le-Monial, in 1682. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1659. In 1674 he was made superior at the Jesuit house at Paray-le-Monial, where he became the spiritual director of Saint Margaret Mary and was thereafter a zealous apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1676 he was sent to England as preacher to the Duchess of York, afterwards Queen of Great Britain. Although encountering many difficulties, he was able to guide Blessed Margaret Mary by letter. His zeal soon weakened his vitality and throat and lung trouble seemed to threaten his work as a preacher. While awaiting his recall to France he was suddenly arrested and thrown into prison, denounced as a conspirator. Thanks to his title of preacher to the Duchess of York and to the protection of Louis XIV, whose subject he was, he escaped death but was condemned to exile in 1679. The last two years of his life were spent at Lyon where he was spiritual director to the young Jesuits there, and at Paray-le-Monial. His principal works, including Pious Reflections, Meditations on the Passion, and Retreat and Spiritual Letters, were published under the title, Oeuvres du R. P. Claude de la Colombière (Avignon, 1832; Paris, 1864). His relics are preserved in the monastery of the Visitation nuns at Paray-le-Monial. Claude de la Colombière was beatified on 16 June 1929 by Pope Pius XI and canonized on 31 May 1992 by Pope John Paul II in Rome.

Although St Claude de la Colombière lived before Jean-Pierre de Caussade, we have placed his writings at the end of the anthology because he represents a culmination: his psychological and spiritual knowledge of the human soul is of the greatest interest. As Mother M. Philip, I.B.V.M., puts it:
St Claude … was also a clever psychologist who easily read the hearts of others. His sure judgment, aided by grace, enabled him to understand the difficulties of each soul and give the advice most needed for each person.
Two of his texts appear in the World Wisdom anthology For God’s Greater Glory: the first one is Parts IV and V of The Secret of Peace and Happiness, by Fr Jean Baptiste Saint-Juré and Fr St Claude Colombière, S.J., while the second is a selection of themes taken from The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la Colombière.

Claude de la Colombière’s Writings Online
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2SubjectWW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la ColombièreFor God's Greater Glory: Gems of Jesuit SpiritualityColombière, Claude Christianity
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