Biographies of New Blesseds - 2009

Biographies of New Blesseds - 2009

The following Blesseds were beatified under Benedict XVI in 2009:

Raphaël-Louis Rafiringa

5 June 2009

Bl. Raphaël-Louis Rafiringa (1856-1919)
First Malagasy La Sallian Christian Brother

Raphaël-Louis Rafiringa, the first Malagasy La Sallian Christian Brother, was beatified on 5 June 2009 in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar and his hometown.

Archbishop Angelo Amato, SDB, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at a colourful and widely attended Holy Mass for the Beatification of Madagascar's third Blessed — after Victoria Rasoamanarivo, a laywoman, and Fr Jacques Berthieu, SJ — together with Archbishop Odon Marie Arsène Razanakolona of Antananarivo who preached the Homily. The Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools was also present.

Raphael-Louis was born in 1856. That same year, Madagascar lost its independence and became a French colony.

Rafiringa was educated by the De La Salle Brothers in the city of his birth. He asked to be baptized when he was 13 years old, Archbishop Razanakolona explained. Raphael-Louis entered the FSC Congregation and made his final profession in 1889.

He was teacher, catechist and mediator of peace in turn, as well as a poet and a literary figure of acclaim such as to be enrolled in the national academy. However, he became most famous between 1883 and 1886 when the political situation led to the expulsion of the missionaries from the Island. The Catholics proclaimed him as their guide and for three years he kept alight the flame of the faith. When the Christian Brothers returned to Madagascar, they found many more Chris­tian communities than when they had left.

Brother Rafiringa died in 1919 in Fianarantsoa.

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
Various dates, page 2009

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