Laudable Integrity

Father René Laurentin

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Who is this world renowned Marian and Mystical Theologian?

General Biography of Father (Abbé) René Laurentin...

Gianna with Father Laurentin Photos...

In his first work on the mystical events involving Gianna Talone in Scottsdale, Arizona, entitled, Our Lord and Our Lady in Scottsdale, what did Fr. Laurentin surmise?

"In this world of sin, where He (Our Lord) came, where He died, where He resurrected, God always allows His source of life to flow, even though at times, the channels of its diffusion may be obtuse and blocked. Our Lord does not remedy this lack of love and receptivity by a slap on thie hands with His magic stick, but with Love only. He is Love, owing to nothing else but to the love and to the freedom of mankind, whom He created with Love. This is what the example of the message of Scottsdale wants our deaf ears to understand." (Laurentin, Our Lord and Our Lady in Scottsdale, Faith Publishing Company, 1992, P. 134)

What did Fr. Laurentin try to offer in a letter to Cardinal William Keeler, then Archbishop of Baltimore, in the mid-1990’s, before the Cardinal authorized the Commission of Inquiry into the mystical events involving Our Lady of Emmitsburg and Gianna Talone Sullivan?

"Of my recent visit to their home, I was stricken with the great peace and force of Gianna and her husband in spite of many trials and obstacles (including the first marriages previously annulled by the Chatholic Church). Through divine grace fruits are now apparent inspite of the many obstacles.... Since you now may be considering a more serious inquiry into these events, I think it is not indiscrete to send my positive discernment as a theologian aware of many apparitions and mystical events (some diabolical) according to my evaluation of Gianna over more than 3 years. Generally, commissions of inquiry include theoreticians, theologians, as well as psychologists and psychoanalysts often foreign to the Christian experience, leading to many misunderstandings and conflicts. The main question is whether the experience comes from God, the subject, or some other influence, including the devil. For such discernment, the best judges in my experience, are the confessors of great experience and recognized perspicacity, masters of novices, spiritual directors of seminarians, and practicing exorcists. I wish you as President of the USCCB could make this last point better known." (Letter from Fr. Laurentin to Cardinal Keeler, 1996)

What did Fr. Laurentin submit to the Commission of Inquiry through a second letter to Cardinal Keeler in August, 2001, two months after the initial interviews of the Commission, and a full year before the Commission released its reports?

"After ten years of study on Gianna Sullivan, founder of Mission of Mercy, who was born Talone of fervent Italian Catholic parents, I feel it is appropriate to now simply share the main conclusions of my study of her case...."

"In short, I have neglected nothing to arrive at both a scientific and a spiritual discernment.... What appears most impressive to me - for it is an important criterion in the discernment of apparitions - is that the charism of the contemplative order has flowered into charity through a charism of service, perfectly integrated and technically adapted, to provide full health care to many Americans deprived because of poverty. This is essential, in the line of the healings mentioned in the Gospels. Gianna and her husband have dedicated their lives to this task with a perfection above all praise. When one encounters the alliance of prayer with charity,(nowadays preferably called humanitarian and social aid), this alliance is one of the best positivive criteria that exists.... In many cases, committees set up to judge sincere, prayerful apparitions bearing indisputable fruits, issue the verdict ‘supernaturalitas non constant’; and the press states: ‘It is not supernatural,’ or ‘It is an illusion,’ or ‘It is not authentic,’ or ‘It is condemned.’ It is a terrible defamation for excellent Christians, better than others, when the Church’s apparent judgment seems to defame them. It happens frequently." (Letter from Fr. Rene Laurentin to Cardinal William Keeler, August 15, 2001)

Fr. Laurentin Letter & Report sent to Cardinal Keeler...

Unfortunately, Fr. Laurentin’s initial letter to Cardinal Keeler in the mid-90’s and the 2001 report of his 10-year study of the events related to the mystical experiences of Gianna Sullivan were never acknowledged in citation by Cardinal William Keeler or the 2002 report of the Commission of Enquiry. Difficult as it may be to understand why not, sadly, the multi-year investigative efforts of the highly esteemed Fr. Laurentin were not mentioned.

And finally, in his life’s work entitled: "The Dictionary of the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary", in the section on Gianna Talone (Sullivan), Fr. Laurentin concludes in 2007 his historical rebuttal of the Church’s handling of this entire matter:

"All of this was accomplished according to the administrative and juridicial norms of the Church; but this case illustrates a problem that poses itself to one’s conscience: How can the Church, that presides over the practice of charity, objectively and regularly lack it, notably in matters pertaining to apparitions, but also in some other matters to which the modern conscience and every human conscience are very sensitive - that of defamation?" (Laurentin, Dictionnarire Des “Apparitions” De La Vierge Marie, Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2007, pp 1426)

Dictionary of the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary...