By Fr. Harry Winter, OMI
On Jan. 26, 2018, Pope Francis declared Madeleine Delbrel venerable, setting this woman who has been called the Dorothy Day of France, on the first step to canonization.
LauraRose Paradis, longtime parishioner of the Oblate parish of St. Casimir’s, St. Paul, MN, and French Oblates are both publicizing her. Some of Delbrel’s most popular writings are difficult to obtain in English, so Paradis noticed that the monthly Magnificat Magazine usually prints an excerpt. We obtained permission from Magnificat for our Oblate Mission-Unity-Dialogue website to include them: click here.
Delbrel (1904-64) lived at Ivry, a short walk from the Oblate parish at Orly, near the Paris airport. A French Oblate, Jean Gueguen, OMI, worked closely with her, and she left some of her archives to him. He was the first postulator for her cause (a postulator is the person appointed by the Vatican to obtain the documents necessary for canonization).
French Oblates noticed that Delbrel worked with those on the margins, beginning with Communists. So the Oblates renamed the Orly parish in her honor, calling her “A woman for our times!” (Jean Pierre Caloz, OMI, to Harry Winter, OMI, e-mail, May 9, 2019).
Many thanks to Paradis, an Oblate lay missionary who teaches sewing to Somali Moslem women in St. Paul, MN, for bringing Delbrel, and consequently the connection with French Oblates, to my attention. And many thanks to Magnificat Magazine for giving permission for her writings to be posted on the Oblate Mission-Unity-Dialogue website.