Life and Spirituality of Félix de Jesús Rougier

Risking the Future
Life and Spirituality of the
Venerable Félix de Jesús Rougier, M.Sp.S
by Ricardo Zimbrón L., M.Sp.S.



  PreviousINDEX | Next    




We have already mentioned the profound devotion Father Félix had for the Mother of Jesus. But let us not think that this element of our spirituality is simply a pious carry over from the Society of Mary to the missionaries of the Holy Spirit; that is not so. Mary enters by her own right into the spirituality of the Cross because of her intimate relationship with Jesus, Priest and Victim.  

Mary is the model for all those who wish to follow Jesus as Priest and as a perfect offering to the Father.  

We see her in the temple in Jerusalem, offering her Jesus to the Father, with a great sense of reality and greater right than any priest at Mass. God Himself wishes to enlighten Mary about the transcendent meaning of that offering, and He sends Simeon to her as a prophet: "Behold, this child is destined to bring about the fall and rise of many in Israel. He will be like a sign for which men struggle, and the intentions of many hearts will be revealed. But for you, all of this will be like a sword that pierces your soul."(Lk. 2:34). "And Mary kept all this in her heart, and kept it in mind." (Lk. 2:19).  

And when the time comes for Jesus, it comes for Mary. It is the hour of the Passion, of scorn, of blows, of spittle, of the crucifixion, of agony, of death... "And next to the cross of Jesus was standing His mother." (Jn. 19:25). She was not there as a leaf tossed by the tempest that was unleashed against Jesus. Freely, she had been following in her Son's footsteps, until they reached Mount Calvary and now she was standing there, like the priests who sacrifice a victim to God. And the victim was her beloved Son, and also her own soul, pierced by the sword of a pain greater than the sea... But Mary only repeated the words that summarized her life: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word..." (Lk. 1:38).  

To live the spirituality of the Cross is exactly to live the life of Mary: To offer to the Father, as the only saving offering, the Son "in whom the Father is well pleased," and offering ourselves with Jesus to do whatever pleases the Father, without limit, unconditionally, without reservations. All for the glory of God, all for the salvation of the brethren, all for love...  

Mary did not just live, she lives now, making that priestly offering of Jesus and of herself to the Father, in that "eternal sanctuary, which is not of this creation, where Christ acts as High Priest, where He offers His blood forever to obtain eternal salvation for us." (Heb. 9:12).

The priesthood of Mary is much more perfect now that she participates fully in the divine knowledge and the eternal love of God Himself. That is why it is so recommended that we offer the Incarnate Word and ourselves through MARY. What we intend is to unite ourselves to her intentions, which are much wiser than ours are; and unite ourselves to her love which is much more perfect than ours is. In this regard, in No. 10 of the Constitutions of the missionaries of the Holy Spirit, we read:  

"The spirituality of the Congregation is expressed by offering the Word Incarnate and offering ourselves with Him to the Father, through Mary for the salvation of the world."  

The years Mary, lived on earth after the ascension of her son to heaven are of special interest for us, because during this period in her life Mary was closest to us than ever before. She lived by faith and hope. Like us, she walked in darkness, awaiting the light. She walked with the great desire to see God, and with the pain of not seeing Him. She walked believing in many promises, without seeing them fulfilled. She walked in love that desires to be with the beloved who is still far. She walked in the faith that feeds on pure faith. She lived like us...suffered like us. And in the meantime her main concern was the Church being born. It was the other part of her Jesus. This was a new "Body of Christ" which had to be fed and cared for and loved with the same tenderness as the Jesus of Bethlehem And Mary offered herself to the Father for the disciples then and for those of today, and all time, and thus exercised her priesthood in patient hope. She obtained for us graces of salvation, with Christ, by Him and in Him.  

Everything we have said thus far is perfectly summarized in Nos. 56 and 57 of our Constitutions, which explain why Mary is an integral part of our spirituality:  

"Since the Incarnation of the Word, Mary has remained inseparably united to the redeeming and sanctifying work of Christ. In the presentation in the Temple, she made the offering of Jesus to the Father, and later she was at the foot of the Cross, accepting with love the death of her Son, and uniting her own sorrows to the priestly immolation of Christ. Mary was given as Mother by the same Jesus to all the believers, represented in the person of the beloved disciple. Through Mary's powerful intercession, the gift of the Holy Spirit was showered on Pentecost."  

"After the Ascension of her Son, Mary brought her maternal mission to its fullness, and with the pain of her loneliness she attained graces for the Church of all times."  

Of course, the Marian piety of Father Félix is not limited to the priestly aspect of the life of Mary, or to the years of loneliness, but rather it encompasses all the splendid panorama of Catholic Mariology.  

We will now present some selected texts written by Father Félix about devotion to the Mother of Christ. They are all taken from his book entitled "MARY", unless otherwise indicated:  

"I am writing a book entitled "MARY" (Her life, her virtues and her worship.). I want to offer this little gift, although it is so poor, to our beloved Mary and I hope that it will serve to make her more loved by others."(1)  

"Upon finishing this little work, seeing in Mary so many unique privileges, so many glories, so much maternal goodness, and especially so much intimacy with the three Divine Persons, I have understood more than ever that genial definition of Mary given by St. Epifanius: 'Maria liber incomprehensus'. Mary is a book not understood, impenetrable, because she personifies the unheard of joining of the divine and the human."

"Mary, in the eternal designs of God, was predestined, as no other creature, to collaborate very closely in the mystery of human redemption affected by Jesus Christ, especially because of her participation in the Incarnation and the Passion and Death of Jesus."  

"The predestination of Mary to divine motherhood, establishes such an intimate connection between the Word Incarnate and the Virgin Mother that it creates between these two souls a communion of prerogatives and of graces. In virtue of that association established by God, the humble Virgin of Nazareth has a special place assigned to her in all the mysteries of the Savior, from Bethlehem to Calvary, and from the perfect obedience to the Father until the glorification, in body and soul, in the splendor of eternal life."  

"See for yourselves how magnificently Mary implements her priesthood: in Nazareth she accepts, in complete freedom, to give heaven and earth the first pure Host which is going to substitute for the holocausts which God no longer desires... Mary is like the first altar in which Jesus offers Himself for us; in her begins the celebration of that Mass which will be consummated in a bloody way on the Cross."  

“Oh, Virgin Mother, you lived a fully priestly life. You begot the Victim of the new worship and with your special power as a Mother offered it to the Most High for the sins of the world, and when you gave us your Jesus from Bethlehem until Calvary, you gave us life in Him and that is why you are Mother to all of us. Because, isn't she who gives life, a Mother?"  

"Mary, being the creature most beloved of God, was doubtlessly the woman who suffered most in this world. We would only understand the magnitude of her suffering if we understood the immensity of her love for Jesus. And why did God wish her to suffer so much? Because in His loving providence, He wanted Mary to be who would be most intimately associated in everything to her son, and would merit with Him the greatest recompense, for her obedience and heroic fidelity, so that in her we would have a constant example."  

"In the sacrifice of Calvary, Jesus is at the same time Priest and Victim. He is Victim because He is sacrificed, but He is also the Priest who immolates and offers: "No one takes my life. I give it up voluntarily." (Jn. 10:18). And Mary also has that role of priest and victim. She is priest because she freely accepts the death of someone she can call HER offering, for the salvation of humanity; and she is victim with Christ because her soul was pierced and her heart crucified contemplating the martyrdom of Him whom she loved more than her own life."  

"Let us not ask why Jesus did not save His Most Holy Mother the agony, so terrible and painful to her, of His death on the Cross. It is evident that He wanted to associate her to His life and to His work more so at that moment in which the redemption of humanity was consummated. And Mary accepted it all with such perfect charity that St. Alphonsus Liguori applied to her the same words that St. John uses referring to God the Father: "So much did Mary love the world that she gave us her Son, so that we might enjoy eternal life."  

"The Redemption obtained by Jesus Christ is the only true, total, superabundant cause of all our salvation, without its being necessary to add anything else for the Sacrifice of Jesus for us to be justified and sanctified. It is God Himself who in His great goodness has wished to make us partners of Christ in his redemptive work. It is the same Jesus who tells us: "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few: pray to the Owner of the harvest to send more laborers to his fields." (Mt. 9:37-38).  

"In different ways we are all God's workers, collaborators with Christ for the redemption of humankind. Some offer prayers, others sacrifices, others preaching, others Christian education to their children, so the effort and the merits of each one benefit all the people of God. This is the dogma of the Communion of Saints, which we recite in the Creed, almost always without understanding it. It means the sharing of spiritual goods that exists among all believers.  

"It is in this area in which the Mother of Jesus has collaborated like no one else, and in a unique and exceptional way in our salvation, and for this reason she has merited the title of Co-Redemptrix more than anyone else."  

"For Mary it is the same to be Mother of Jesus and our Mother, because Jesus has wanted to make us ONE with Him: One vine with its branches (Jn. 15:5). One body united to its Head (1 Cor 12:27).  

"For her maternal heart it is the same to love Jesus and to love us, because Jesus is our Brother and we are the children of the Father. This certainty of being united to Jesus is basic to our filial love for Mary: and we call her with all confidence: 'Our heavenly Mother, our most loving Mother, our tender Mother.” 

“In the documents of Vatican Council II, we find support for calling Mary "Our Mother":

"Mary is Mother as regards the life of grace, because she cooperated in a unique way to the restoration of our supernatural life, conceiving Christ, giving Him birth, feeding Him, offering Him to the Father, and suffering together with Her Son while He died on the Cross.  

"And with reason the Fathers of the Church consider Mary not a mere passive instrument in the mystery of Redemption, but rather an active worker for the salvation of men, by her faith and her obedience to God." (LG 56). 

"Without a doubt we owe much to our mother on earth; but let us raise our eyes on high, to our Mother in heaven, who loves us even more than our mother on earth. The Blessed Virgin, the Mother of all the Saints, the same Mother of Jesus, is the Mother of each of us."  

"Once received in heaven, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother does not cease to collaborate with Christ for the salvation of the faithful. Her love, her interest and her intercession in our favor have become universal and more efficacious, so that with just reason she is called: our advocate, Auxiliatrix, Help of Christians, refuge of sinners and our Mediatrix before her Son, Our Lord."  

"There is a phrase in your letter which has made an impact on my soul, and it is a cry of love and gratitude to the Blessed Virgin. I love her much more now, after having written the book "MARY", because I had to read many very interesting things about our beloved Mother of heaven. Since then, aside from my ordinary meditation, I dedicate special time every day to meditate on the life of Mary. This morning I was thinking about her life of intimacy with Jesus in their little house of Nazareth."(2)  

"We search for the will of God. In the first place, we must look for it in terms of love. And what are we asked to do? To love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, but also to love His creatures, especially those He loved the most. The first place belongs to the Most Holy Mother of Jesus."(3)  

"Regarding the love of Mary, our model is Jesus", Fr. Félix used to say frequently. 

"I thank God because I have seen that you look for Him anxiously in all the acts of your religious life as missionaries of the Holy Spirit. But our life is difficult and we need someone to help us. Look for constant support in the maternal heart of Mary. She wants it more than anyone else, and she will help you in everything you are doing and everything you want to do."  

"When you participate in the Eucharist, take your place very near the Mother of Jesus, there at the foot of the Cross, where St. John was. She will teach you to offer this holy sacrifice."  

"Win in this life the place that you wish to occupy in the heart of Mary for all eternity."(4)  

"Oh, Mary, my beloved Mother, I consecrate myself to you with all the energy of my soul. Today, tomorrow and all the days of my life I want to be yours, I wish to unite my life intimately to yours, and to try to imitate your love, your purity, and your humility."(5)  

In a notebook, we found this small "letter" from Father Félix to the Blessed Virgin. It is dated March 29, 1937. He only had a few more months to live:  

"My most beloved Mother: I greet you with all the love of my soul and I want to share a great joy with you.  

"I feel very clearly, very strongly, that Jesus, in His infinite mercy has accepted me as His own, in a special way so that I may become converted in these last days and will be faithful to the graces of God.  

"I write to you, Mother, to humbly ask you to help me respond fully to the love of Jesus. With you, I can do all things!  

"Your son, Félix, who loves you so much, and asks for your blessing."  

Father Félix summarized his spirituality in the following lines:  

"To be hosts in honor of the Father, in union with Jesus and Mary, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the salvation of all."  

We will end this chapter with an enlightening quotation from Pope Paul VI:  

"Given the singular place which Mary occupies in the redemptive plan of God, she deserves a special level of worship.”  

"This intimate worship of Mary in no way separates us from the only fountain of truth, life and grace which is Christ; on the contrary, it leads us to Him, unites us to Him and allows us to resemble Him. Because devotion to Mary, far from being an end in itself, is a means essentially ordered to orient us to Christ, and in this way to unite us to the Father in the love of the Spirit."(6)



1. To Rome, October 6, 1934.
2. Letter to a student, August 23, 1936.
3. Talk to the Novices, May 8, 1932.
4. Letter to a brother coadjutor, April 12, 1936.
5. Talk to fourth year students of the Apostolic School.
6. Talk, November 21, 1964.

   PreviousINDEX | Next


 © 2008, missionaries of the Holy Spirit. All rights reserved.