THE VENERABLE FATHER FRANCOIS GASCHON (1732-1815)
Missionary Priest of the Diocese of Clermont in Auvergne.
A Priest of Peasant Origin.
Native of Basse-Auvergne, François Gaschon was born 30 August 1732 in Auzelles, a large parish of the Livradois(the east of the Puy-de-Dome),into a family of well-to-do farmers. He received a good Jesuit education, first at Billom, where he was touched by the spirituality of St Jean-François Régis, and then at Clermont Ferrand
Ordained in 1756, François’s first post is assistant at Saint-Amant-Roche-Sevine. In 1758, he goes to Toulouse, where he does a degree in canon law. He then becomes assistant to Fr Chambrotty in Olliergues; the attention to the poor of this parish priest, four years his elder, would have a profound influence on the young priest.
A Missionary Risking his Life.
In 1766 François decides to become a diocesan missionary He does his noviciate at Notre Dame de l’Hermitage, in the Monts de Forez; afterwards he lives, alternatively, in this house and at Notre Dame de Banelle, in the Bourbonnais. The missions that he effected in the region are still famous, as much for their apostolic zeal, as their ability to pacify various sorts of conflicts.
The missions were interrupted in 1792 by the Revolution, and the missionaries where dispersed. Determined to refuse all oaths, Fr Gaschon begins a clandestine ministry in the area around Ambert and Olliergues: he teaches the faith, administers the sacraments,brings encouragement to persecuted peasants , and avoids capture, sometimes comically, sometimes, miraculeously. After La Terreur , he becomes again, assistant priest at Olliergue.
Poor, with the Poor.
On the death of Fr Chambrotty in 1804, the good Father is called to Ambert by the new parish priest, Fr Rostaing, who puts him in charge of catechism; but even though in his seventies, Fr Gaschon is also very active in the Ambert countryside- preaching, confessing, visiting the sick and bringing peace and reconciliation to these troubled times. At the end of 1806, Fr Gaschon, having refused, in his deep humility, all honours, becomes chaplain to Ambert Hospital. He takes up his post, poor among the poor, becoming a real father to all the sick and the orphans that were welcomed there.
It was there, that dies on 28 November 1815, loved and venerated by all, he who had always remained a missionary in spirit. He was buried in the hospital chapel, before a huge crowd of people. Straight after his death, his saintliness was established, accompanied by a large number of witnesses to miracles.His tomb became a place of pilgrimage and to this day he has granted many favours.
Venerable and Intercesser
In 1924, the Bishop of Clermont, Mgr Marnas, decided to open a proceedings with a view to his beatification. The files were sent to Rome in 1926, but the war interrupted the proceedings. The case wasn’t seriously taken up until 1987, resulting in the recognition of the heroicness of the virtues of the Venerable Servant of God by the Pope John-Paul 2 in 1998. To achieve his beatification an inquiry must be made into a miracle accomplished by Fr Gaschon
Among the important aspects of his spirituality, note his ardent devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, his faith in Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, which goes back to his childhood, as well as his fondness for the poor and his missionary spirit that never left him.
Fr Gaschon is especially invoked: for children, notably for non-baptised infants that die; to obtain peace and reconciliation within families and communities; for the healing of all sorts of infirmities; for priestly and religious vocations; and finally, difficulties with real estate
PRAYING TO FATHER GASCHON.
Prayer found on an old picture of Fr Gaschon.
Prayer asking for the glorification of the Venerable Servant of God.
O God who promised that the humble would be exalted, and to those that taught to a great number, the ways of justice, that they would shine like the stars in eternity, please glorify your servant the Venerable Fr Gaschon and make his name shine among those of your Saints. That your graces O Lord , would multiply in favour of the faithful who implore You and remind You of the virtues that he practiced on this earth and the apostolic zeal that he had for the salvation of souls. May we thus see one day the Holy Church honouring his memory and giving us in him a new model to imitate, a protector to help us in our work and in our trials and to help us to achieve heavenly bliss. Amen
Three times: Cor Jesu Sacratissum, Miserere nobis, Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
One: Hail Mary
50 days indulgence
Imprimatur Clermont Ferrand
3 February 1925
† François Bishop of Clermont
Prayer on a recent picture of Fr Gaschon.
Prayer to obtain the beatification of the Venerable Fr François Gaschon.
God, Our Father, You that “raises up the humble” we give thanks for the life of the Venerable Fr François Gaschon. In the midst of trials that he had to endure, he was, among us, by imitating Jesus, a model of faith, of hope and of charity.
With him, believing in your immense love, we present to you, like a child , all that holds a place in our hearts
(here we express our intentions)
Please reveal his saintliness by according me the benefits that I need.
One: Our Father.