Rousseau, Scubilion, Bl.

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Baptized Jean-Bernard, catechist to slaves, Lasallian brother; b. Mar. 21, 1797, Anny-Côte, Burgundy, France;d. Apr. 13, 1867, Sainte-Marie, Isle de Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

Eldest of the four children of Bernard Rousseau, a stone cutter, and his wife Reine Pelletier, Jean-Bernard was born during the height of the French Revolution. He received his early education from his parents, his pastor, Father Petitier, and later a tutor. When the parish school reopened (1819) following the revolution, Jean-Bernard began teaching. His success in the field, combined with his sense of religious vocation, led him to the Brothers of the Christian Schools, who had just opened a school nearby. He entered their novitiate at Paris in 1822, where he became Brother Scubilion.

After teaching (182333) at Alençon, Poitiers, and Chinon, he was assigned (1833) with two other brothers to Bourbon (now Réunion). Here he initiated evening classes to teach slaves Christian doctrine and morality in preparation for receiving the sacraments. Following their emancipation (1848), he helped them to adapt to new freedom and responsibilities.

Brother Scubilion cared for the marginalized until his death 34 years after his arrival on the island. A constant stream of pilgrims visit his tomb on the island, where he was immediately venerated. He was beatified on Ré-union by Pope John Paul II, May 2, 1989.

Feast: Sept. 27 (Lasallian Brothers); Dec. 20 (La Ré-union, national holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery).

Bibliography: frÈre concorde marie, Le frère Scubilion (St. Denis 1975). a. fermet, Jean-Bernard Rousseau, frère Scubilion (Paris 1985). l. salm, Brother Scubilion Rousseau, FSC: Apostle of Freedom and Reconciliation (Romeoville, Ill. 1986).

[k. i. rabenstein]