Marmion, Joseph Columba, Bl.

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Abbot of Maredsous and spiritual writer; b. April 1, 1858, Dublin, Ireland; d. Jan. 30, 1923, maredsous, Belgium. Born of an Irish father and a French mother, Joseph studied at Belvedere College in Dublin and at Holy Cross seminary of Clonliffe. He was then sent to the Irish College in Rome and studied at the College of Propaganda Fide.

In the year following his ordination (June 16, 1881), he returned to Ireland, where he was assigned to the parish of Dundrum. Soon afterward he became professor of philosophy at Holy Cross seminary. In 1886, with the permission of Cardinal Edward MacCabe, he entered the Benedictine monastery at Maredsous in Belgium. In 1899 he became prior and then professor at Mont-Cesar in Louvain, and in 1909 was made abbot at Maredsous.

Marmion became recognized as a master of the spiritual life, and his reputation further increased after his death. His books have gone through numerous editions in ten languages and are considered classics on the spiritual life. His teaching was drawn essentially from the Gospels, the Epistles of St. Paul, and the Rule of St. Benedict. Emphasizing the doctrine of the adoption of the children of God, Marmion exalts the person of Christ, the center of the whole interior life.

Along with his writing, Marmion carried on an extensive apostolate. He occupied himself by giving fatherly guidance to a large Benedictine monastery; hearing confessions and preaching retreats especially to priests and religious in Belgium, England, and Ireland; and keeping up an enormous correspondence. He was the close friend and spiritual director of Cardinal D. S. mercier, Archbishop of Malines, who held the abbot in highest esteem.

His writings (in Eng. tr.) include: Christ the Life of the Soul (London 1925), Christ in His Mysteries (London 1925), Christ the Ideal of the Monk (London 1926), Sponsa Verbi (London 1939), Union with God (London 1949), Words of Life on the Margin of the Missal (London 1940), Come to Christ, All You Who Labour (London 1946), and Christ the Ideal of the Priest (London 1953).

Veneration of Dom Marmion began immediately after his death, and his reputation for sanctity gave rise to the opening of the process of his beatification in 1954. Pope John Paul II beatified Dom Marmion on Sept. 3,2000. Two Benedictine monasteries have been placed under his patronage: Marmion Abbey in Aurora, IL, and Glenstall Abbey in Eire.

Feast: Oct. 3.

Bibliography: t. delforge, Columba Marmion: Servant of God, tr. r. l. stewart (London & St. Louis 1965). m. m. philipon, The Spiritual Doctrine of Dom Marmion, tr. m. dillon (Westminster, MD 1956). r. thibaut, Abbot Columba Marmion, tr. m. st. thomas (St. Louis 1949). m. tierney, Dom Columba Marmion (Blackrock, Co. Dublin 1994).

[j. c. willke]

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Marmion, Joseph Columba, Bl.

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