Blessed James Sales, S.J.

Blessed James Sales, S.J.
Posted on 01/19/2018
Blessed James Sales, S.J. (1556-1593)
Blessed William Saultemouche, S.J. (1557-1593)
Martyrs of Aubenas, France

Today is a memorial for Blessed James Sales, S.J. and Blessed  William Saultemouche, S.J. who were martyred in France for their defense of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. 

Fr. Sales great desire was to do missionary work in America, China, or Japan for the Society of Jesus.  Instead, he received notification from Father General Claudio Acquaviva, S.J. that he would be sent to his native France for missionary work.  He was disappointed,  but obedient.  France itself was missionary territory, torn apart by civil wars, known as the Wars of Religion.  Since 1562, the Huguenots, or French Calvinists, sought to force their religious views on French Catholics by violence. 

The Jesuit Father General sent Fr. Sales, along with a companion, Br. William Saultemouche, S.J., to the Aubenas mission.  They were to serve the Catholics of the area who were oppressed by the Huguenots. Before he left for Aubenas he told his Jesuits friends, “: “Adieu, pray for us.  We are going to our death.” 

Captured, they were taken to Huguenot headquarters to be interrogated by a Calvinist minister on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  Fr. Sales argued brilliantly without insulting his opponent, but with clear reason. The interrogation was constant; Fr. Sale was not fed for two days; he spent the night in a damp cell.  He was hounded by interrogators, who made it difficult for him to speak.  Fr. Sale did not succumb to the rigors of the interrogation. Finally, they gave up and sentenced both Sale and his companion Saultemouche to death.  Taken to an open square and, in front of a large crowd, Sale was asked one more time to reject the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  Refusing, he was shot in the back; his companion had a sword driven through his breast.  Their bodies were dragged through the streets and thrown outside the town without burial. Two brave Catholics retrieved their bodies and gave them a proper burial.  
Jesuit Saints and MartyrsFr. Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J.

Two groups of our sophomores began their Sophomore Manresa Retreat yesterday at two different retreat sites.  Pray for the success of this retreat and the two retreat teams.  Manresa was the town where St. Ignatius Loyola had his great conversion experience.  “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of God’s forgiveness.” (from today’s Mass) Blessed James Sale, pray for us.  Blessed William Saultemouche, pray for us.  St. John Berchmans, pray for us.  St. Ignatius Loyola, pray for us.

“We are not on our own.  God is always with us.”

In desolation we feel alone.  It seems as if God has departed on a long vacation.  We feel miserable and unworthy, so we isolate ourselves from others are not inclined to bother God with our prayers.  Worst of all, we think that we’re on our own.  If anything is to be done about our situation, it’s up to us to do it.  Yet we don’t have any idea what to do.

Ignatius reminds us that God is always there for us,  even when we don’t feel a divine presence.  It’s like the Gospel story of the storm at sea while Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat.  The disciples panic and fear that they are sinking.  When they awaken Jesus, he calms the storm and rebukes the for forgetting that he was always there.  We’re well advised to seek out others who will remind us of that, too.
What’s Your Decision?, An Approach to Ignatian Decision Making, Fr. Michael Sparough, S.J., Jim Manney, and Fr. Tim Hipskind, S.J.
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