Thursday, 13 May 2010

Rev. Fr Clement Marc, C.SS.R. (1831-1887)

Rev. Father Marc was born at Jouy-sous-les-Côtes, in the Diocese of Verdun on 24 July, 1831. He was professed as a Redemptorist on 24 September, 1853 and ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on 16 August, 1857. Although he did not spend many years in the preaching of Missions, he was indeed an Apostolic man and his sermons were taken as models by younger missioners.

During his time as rector of Téterchen and his years as professor of moral theology, his love of Saint Alphonsus and his zeal for souls made him undertake, in 1868, the "Institutiones Morales Alphonsianae." It was a work which he journeyed to Rome to complete. A well qualified professor of moral theology – among others – once said of his work: "Thanks to this immense work, we now at last have a manual of St. Alphonsus' moral theology which contains the pure doctrine of the holy doctor and the proofs which he advances and, in as much as possible, using the same expressions which he employs. He surpasses similar works already published on account both of the conformity of doctrine with that of St. Alphonsus and of the work's practical utility."

Of course, Fr. Marc used to his advantage, and used a great deal, the books printed by his predecessors; it was his right and his duty to do so; but the gigantic work which he undertook in order résumé in 1700 pages – with such exactitude, order, and clarity – the moral works of St. Alphonsus and his commentators, merits the most lively gratitude of all those who undertake the study of this branch of Theology. The different theological reviews of the day made a most splendid eulogy of the "Institutiones Morales." By 1927 the 18th edition of the work had been printed.

Along side his love for study, Father had a particular gift for the direction of pious souls. The Most Rev. Fr. Mauron, the Redemptorist Rector Major of the day, held him in such esteem that he wished to have him for successor – such was his confidence in the wisdom and advice of Fr. Marc. His Paternity planned for him to succeed the Servant of God Very Rev. Fr. Achille Desurmont as provincial in France in 1887. Death was to surprise him in the exercise of his ministry. While he was confessing and conferring the Sacrament of Extreme Unction on a nun who had smallpox, he caught the malady and died from it on 27 January, 1887. †

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