Provincial superior shares some of his favorite quotes from the founder
Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, joined staff at the Province Development Office March 12 to talk about Fr. Leo John Dehon. The informal presentation was in celebration of Founder’s Day on March 14, the 172nd anniversary of Fr. Dehon’s birth.
“I’m not going to give you a biography of the Fr. Dehon,” said Fr. Steve. Instead, he shared a few sayings that were important to the founder, as well as quotes from him in which Fr. Steve finds inspiration.
There are several Latin phrases which were used by Fr. Dehon that have become mottos for the congregation: “Sint Unum” (Be One With Others), “Ecce Venio” (Behold, I Come), and “Aveniat Regnum Tuum” (May Your Kingdom Come, or the Reign of God), as well as “Ecce Ancilla” (Behold the Handmaiden). These mottos express the desire that Fr. Dehon had for himself and his congregation to be available to the will of God, to be one with others and to help make the reign of God real in the lives of all.
“Get out of the sacristy and go to the people,” is one of Fr. Steve’s favorite quotes from the founder. “Church and faith do not just happen on Sunday,” he said. “This is what Fr. Dehon emphasized. He wanted his priests to get out of the churches and be with people, to see their lives and understand their situations.”
It was during his years ministering in rural South Dakota that the quote hit home for Fr. Steve. “To get a sense of the life of the people whom we served we had to go to them, 40, 50 miles away from the church. It was a real ‘getting out’ of the sacristy.”
“Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man”
Fr. Steve said that he thinks of Fr. Dehon whenever he hears Allman Brothers’ pop tune “Ramblin’ Man.”
The founder loved to travel, but not simply for the joy of being a tourist. “Fr. Dehon was a good observer,” said Fr. Steve. Travel is a way of learning, of having new experiences and getting a better understanding of others. “Education comes from experiencing new things. You don’t need to travel to do that, but you do need to make yourself available to new experiences. This was something important to the founder.”
Fr. Steve brought his presentation to a close noting that many described the founder as having a “newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other.”
“God works across all sectors of society,” he explained. “It is important to stay informed and to know what is going on in the world.”
It’s a way in which all people –– professed SCJs and lay –– can live their faith not just on Sunday at church, but every day.