Prologue to The French Catholic Diaspora
“So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.” (CCC 955)1
The Starting point for this manuscript is a moment in the Fall of 2008. Through contemplating the plays and poetry of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, I experienced a profound, instantaneous psychic2 metanoia around the person of St. Joan of Arc. The search for the meaning of this encounter propelled me forward in Catholic faith, hope, and love. At the same time, Our Lady removed me from the corporate world where, for many years, I had been a highly paid executive leading a well-known global brand and, before that position, a Park Avenue executive consultant. I set that aside to teach part-time at various local colleges and universities, which allowed me the freedom to devote my life to St. Joan and St. Thérèse and the moment of “unreflective certainty,”3 a phrase I borrowed from the philosophy of St. Edith Stein. A story emerged that confirmed the authority of the Holy Catholic Church as the absolute bedrock of mankind’s order on earth and the only means of eternal salvation for the human race.
A more precise story appeared through the mist of a magnificent contemplative panorama. France, Catholic and Royal, is truly the Eldest Daughter of the Church and must be restored on earth congruent to its form in Heaven as the lily of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. The Church and France must be restored to their Catholic splendor if humanity and Western Civilization, respectively, are to be saved. Those called to this special mission are the mystical French Catholic Diaspora worldwide. The Lord bequeathed France, in its proper Catholic form, to St. Mary Magdalene on the shores of Provence in modern-day France.4 St. Joan of Arc leads the diaspora in the mission to restore devotion to this sacred patronage for the restoration of both France and the Church.5 St. Thérèse gives us the spiritual values we need to psychically accept Joan and her mission with the fullness of our being.
I encourage the reader to pay attention to the detailed footnotes. The work is highly devotional but imbued with philosophical language. St. Edith Stein is the primary philosophical influence. She reconciled modern phenomenology and Catholic medieval scholasticism.6 References to modern, non-Catholic philosophers should be considered ancillary but grounded in Stein’s work and Catholic doctrine.
The reader will encounter various phrases and terms that may sound unfamiliar or be easily misinterpreted. I discuss the “bimodal” nature of my spiritual journey, which refers to two life-changing, unreflective moments of intuitive certainty: my conversion to Catholicism on the Feast Day of St. Thérèse in1984 and the “unreflective certainty” in 2008 with St. Joan mentioned previously. “Psychic” should be interpreted according to Edith Stein’s meaning in her book, Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities, and not according to modern pop-psychology. I intend to always funnel the language of phenomenology through Edith Stein and the Catholic understanding of things. Finally, the reader will often encounter the term “empathic” and the phrase “mode of being.” Both are directly associated with Edith Stein, as will be seen in this text. Stein asserted that individuals could share a mode of being.7 I tie her shared mode of being to empathy as interpreted through her doctoral thesis, On the Problem of Empathy. Through empathy, we share another’s mode of being. Another way of understanding my intention with the term “empathic” is through the phrase “holy friendship,” which the reader will also encounter. Henri-Dominque Lacordaire, in The Life of St. Mary Magdalene, describes holy friendship as a union of souls through “friendship in Jesus Christ.”
“Thus appeared David to Jonathan the day when David entered Saul’s tent, holding the giant’s head in his right hand, and when interrogated by the king as to his origins, he answered him: “I am the son of your servant Isaiah of Bethlehem.”Immediately, say the Scriptures, the soul of Jonathan attached itself to that of David, and Jonathan loved him as he loved his own soul. Only a while before, David was looking after his father’s flock, Jonathan was on the threshold of a throne, and in an instant the distance between them was abolished; the shepherd and the prince made no more, according to the very words of Scripture, than one soul.8
This manuscript is the constituted meaning of my bimodal life experience and “holy friendship” with St. Mary Magdalene, St. Joan, and St. Thérèse as French Catholic heroines and patronesses. It reflects an empathic understanding of the mode of being bequeathed to me through the grace of their combined hearts. The process to get here through fifteen years of committed, daily effort included the sacraments, Eucharistic adoration, spiritual reading, contemplation, reflection, descriptive writing, sharing, and an ongoing hermeneutic which continues to this day and will continue until my final reckoning.
Vaticana, Libreria Editrice. Catechism of the Catholic Church (p. 370). United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Kindle Edition. para. 955.
See also: “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness.... [T]hey do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus.... So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.” para. 956.
“It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself” para. 957.
Also repeated in a later footnote in this manuscript. “Psychic” in this model intends to be in the framework in which Edith Stein develops “psyche” in: Stein, Edith. Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities. ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies, 2000. Using Stein as the point of departure, and adding a Heideggerian influence, “psychic acceptance” in The Dove and Rose refers to an acceptance in the psyche rendering a powerful motivation to explore that which is accepted at the most fundamental, ontological level of one’s being. It is immediately life-changing. This is opposed to a superficial, emotional response where one accepts the phenomenon as “interesting” but not immediately life-changing.
“The certainty of being is an unreflective certainty, and it precedes all our rational knowledge.” ~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) Kindle Location 484.
“Jesus Christ had left his mother to Jerusalem, St. Peter to Rome, St. John to Asia; to whom would he bequeath Mary Magdalene? We already know; it was France that received from the hand of God that part of the testament of His Son.” Lacordaire, OP, Henri-Dominique. The Life of St. Mary Magdalene. Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph, 2015.
“Unperturbed by the laughter and the jeering she provoked, Joan said that the kingdom belonged not to the dauphin but to his Lord, that his lord wished the dauphin to become king, and that he would hold the kingdom as a fief, whether his enemies wished it or not. She herself would lead him to be anointed.” Pernoud, Régine, and Marie-Véronique Clin. Joan of Arc - Her Story. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. P. 16
The reconciliation of Thomas Aquinas and Husserlian phenomenology is the subject matter for much of her book, Stein, Edith. Knowledge and Faith (The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 8). Kindle. Washington DC: ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies, 2000.
“In either case, one spirit, by joining with another, comes to share in the other’s mode of being.” Stein, Edith. Potency and Act - Studies Toward a Philosophy of Being. Washington DC: ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies, 2009. loc. 2064.
Lacordaire, OP, Henri-Dominique. The Life of St. Mary Magdalene. Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph, 2015. p. 16.