lundi 8 février 2016

Saint ÉTIENNE-THÉODORE CUÉNOT, évêque et martyr

Saint Etienne-Théodore Cuenot

Évêque et martyr en Annam ( 1861)

martyr au Vietnam. 

Il était originaire du Bélieu dans le département du Doubs. Père des Missions Étrangères de Paris, évêque et apôtre zélé de Jésus-Christ, Saint Étienne Cuenot (1802-1861) fut pendant quatre ans vicaire apostolique pour le Cambodge. C’est lui qui en 1844 fit détacher de son trop vaste vicariat de Cochinchine, le royaume du Cambodge et les six provinces de Basse-Cochinchine, pour former le vicariat apostolique de Cochinchine occidentale et du Cambodge. (Le Cambodge - site des Missions étrangères de Paris). Il est arrêté durant la persécution déclenchée par l'empereur Tu-Duc. Enfermé dans une cage, il y meurt, après de longues souffrances, à la veille d'être supplicié et décapité. 

Béatifié en 1909.  Canonisé le 19 juin 1988 avec les Martyrs du Vietnam (+1745-1862): Andrea Dung-Lac, prêtre, Tommaso Thien et Emanuele Phung, laïcs, Girolamo Hermosilla, Valentino Berrio Ochoa, O.P. et six autres evêques, Teofano Venard,prêtre M.E.P. et 105 compagnons, martyrs.

"nous bénéficions, dans l’histoire de l’évangélisation de Qui Nhon, d’un évêque de talent, Mgr. Etienne Théodore Cuénot Thê, dont nous pouvons tirer les leçons pratiques pour notre évangélisation." Mgr Pierre Nguyên Soan, Evêque de Quy Nhon (Vietnam). Bulletin du Synode des Évêques 2001: L’Évêque: Serviteur de l’Évangile de Jésus-Christ pour l’Espérance du Monde.

Voir aussi saints martyrs du Viet-Nam.

À Binh Dinh en Cochinchine, l’an 1861, saint Étienne-Théodore Cuénot, évêque et martyr. Membre de la Société des Missions étrangères de Paris, il passa plus de vingt-cinq ans dans les travaux apostoliques et, quand se déchaîna la persécution de l’empereur Tu Duc, il fut jeté dans une étable à éléphants et mourut, épuisé par les épreuves.

Martyrologe romain


Saint Etienne-Théodore Cuenot, évêque et martyr

Des Missions étrangères de Paris

Le martyrologe romain fait aujourd’hui mémoire de saint Etienne-Théodore Cuenot, évêque et martyr (1802-1861), des Missions étrangères de Paris.

Né au Bélieu, dans le Doubs (France), Etienne-Théodore Cuenot fut élevé dans les séminaires d’Ornans, Luxueil et Besançon, avant d’être ordonné prêtre en 1825 à Aix-en-Provence. Cet aîné d’une famille nombreuse, se montra toute sa vie d’une audace réfléchie et persévérante.

Deux ans plus tard, il entrait dans la société des Missions Etrangères de Paris pour répondre à l’appel missionnaire. Envoyé  à Macao dès 1828, puis en Cochinchine, il se réfugia au Siam durant la persécution de 1833.

Mais en 1835, il était nommé évêque en et il rentra en Cochinchine où il exerça sa charge durant vingt-cinq ans. Pour édifier des centres de formation pour le clergé autochtone, il achetait des terres en friches. C’est alors que l’empereur Tu-Duc, d’Annam – entre le Tonkin et la Cochinchine, au cœur de l’actuel Viêt-nam -, déclencha une violente persécution .

L’évêque fut arrêté, jeté dans une cage. La sentence de mort arriva trop tard:  il était mort d’épuisement le 14 novembre 1861. Le pape Pie X le béatifia en 1909 en reconnaissant son martyre.


Stephen Cuénot BM (AC)

Born at Beaulieu, France, 1802; died November 4, 1861; beatified in 1909; canonized in 1988 as one of the Martyrs of Vietnam. Stephen joined the Society of Foreign Missions in Paris and was sent to Annam. In 1833, at a time when xenophobic persecutions were being renewed, he was appointed vicar apostolic of eastern Cochin-China and received episcopal consecration at Singapore. He returned to Annam where he enjoyed 25 fruitful years of service during which many souls were converted and he established three vicariates. When another persecution broke out in 1861, Bishop Cuénot was hidden by a pagan until he had to emerge for water. Cuénot was arrested and died in prison of dysentery (perhaps of poison) shortly after his arrest and just before the date fixed for his execution (Attwater2, Benedictines, Farmer).

Stephen (Etienne) of Grandmont (of Muret), OSB, Abbot (RM) Born in Thiers, Auvergne, France, 1046; died 1124; canonized by Pope Clement III in 1189 at the request of King Henry II of England. Saint Stephen was the son of the virtuous viscount of Thiers. His life from infancy presaged uncommon sanctity. Father Milo, then the dean of the church of Paris, was appointed his tutor. At age 12, Stephen accompanied his father, lord of the district, to the tomb of Saint Nicholas of Bari. He fell ill at Benevento and remained there to continue his education under Milo, who had become Benevento's archbishop. At the appropriate time, he ordained Stephen a deacon. Following Milo's death, Stephen pursued his studies in Rome for four years. In the meantime his parents died.

In 1076, on his return to France, Stephen renounced his inheritance to become a hermit in the mountains of Ambazac at Muret (northeast of Limoges). He led an austere life, with little food or sleep for 46 years. He wore a metal breastplate (which is one of his attributes in art) instead of the usual hairshirt. When he was not employed in manual labor, he lay prostrate on the ground in profound adoration of the majesty of God. The sweetness which he felt in divine contemplation made him often forget to take any refreshment for two or three days together. Stephen remained a deacon throughout his life, never seeking presbyterial ordination.

As with many of the holiest hermits, disciples gathered about him. There on the mountain-top he founded a congregation of Benedictine hermit-monks using the model he observed in Calabria; thus, its rules was based on his sayings. Although he was strict with himself, he was mild to those under his direction, and proportioned their mortifications to their strength. But he allowed no indulgence with regard to the essential points of a solitary life, silence, poverty, and the denial of self-will. He behaved himself among his disciples as the last of them, always taking the lowest place, never suffering any one to rise up to him; and while they were at table, he would seat himself on the ground in the midst of them, and read to them the lives of the saints. He ruled but never seems to have become a monk himself.

The order is conspicuous for its intransigent insistence on total renunciation. Stephen compared monastic life to life in a prison. "If you come here, you will be fixed to the cross and you will lose your own power over your eyes, your mouth, and your other members. . . . If you go to a large monastery with fine buildings, you will find animals and vast estates; here, only poverty and the cross." To those wishing to join his community, he would say: "This is a prison without either door or hole whereby to return into the world, unless a person makes for himself a breach. And should this misfortune befall you, I could not send after you, none here having any commerce with the world any more than myself."

God give Stephen the ability to read hearts. The author of his now lost vita, the fourth prior Stephen de Liciaco, gives a long history of miracles which he wrought. But the conversions of many obstinate sinners were still more miraculous; it seemed as if no heart could resist the grace which accompanied his words. Saint Stephen died at Muret. In his last hours he was carried into the chapel, where he heard mass, received extreme unction and the viaticum. His disciples buried him privately, but news of his death drew many to his tomb, which was honored by innumerable miracles.

Four months after his death, the priory of Ambazac, dependent on the great Benedictine abbey of St. Austin, in Limoges, put in a claim to the land of Muret. The disciples of the holy man immediately gave up the ground without any contention, and retired to Grandmont, taking Stephen's remains with them. It is from this site that the congregation received the name Grandmontines.

With its austere rule it never became widespread; however, the successors to Stephen's spirit gained the admiration of many. Abbot Peter of Celles, calls them angels, and testifies that he placed an extraordinary confidence in their prayers (Epistle 8). John of Salisbury, a contemporary author, represents them as men who, being raised above the necessities of life, had conquered not only sensuality and avarice, but even nature itself (Poly. l. 7, c. 23).

The rule of the Grandmontines consists of seventy-five chapters. The prologue reminds its members that the rule of rules, and the origin of all monastic rules, is the gospel: they are but streams derived from this source, and in it are all the means of arriving at Christian perfection pointed out. It recommends strict poverty and obedience, as the foundation of a religious life; forbids compensation for their Masses or to open their oratory to outsiders on Sundays or holy days, because on these days each should attend his parish church. Its religious are forbidden to engage in any lawsuit or to eat meat even in time of sickness. The rule prescribes rigorous fasts, with only one meal a day for a great part of the year.

The rule abounds with great sentiments of virtue, especially concerning temptations, the sweetness of God's service and his holy commandments, the boundless obligation each has to love God and the incomprehensible advantages of praising Him, and the necessity of continually advancing in fervor. It speaks of good works as the flowers of the garland of which our lives should be composed. King Saint Henry II was one of the admirers of the order. He founded several monasteries for the Grandmontines in France and England, and petitioned the Vatican for Stephen's canonization. The austerity of Saint Stephen inspired both Armand de Rancé and Charles de Foucauld (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).

Priest, ordained in 1825. Member of the Paris Foreign Missions Society. Missionary to Vietnam in 1828. Missionary bishop in 1835. Vicar apostolic of Cochinchina in 1840. Martyred in the persecutions of emperor Tu Duc.



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