A Nineteenth Century Miracle: The Brothers Ratisbonne and the Congregation of Notre Dame de Sionby Rev Bede Jarrett OP
The story runs curiously parallel with the Tractarian movement, Oxford having its counterpart in Strasbourg. It throws up its leaders who, once become Catholics, do not altogether agree in their policies for the diffusion of the Faith; it is composed almost wholly of undergraduates and professors; it creates a new religious Institute (if one may be allowed this… See more details below
The story runs curiously parallel with the Tractarian movement, Oxford having its counterpart in Strasbourg. It throws up its leaders who, once become Catholics, do not altogether agree in their policies for the diffusion of the Faith; it is composed almost wholly of undergraduates and professors; it creates a new religious Institute (if one may be allowed this inaccuracy when speaking of so venerable a body as the Oratory); it reacts upon the religious community from which it came out. But this group is led by Ratisbonne (1802-1884) instead of Newman (1801- 1890), shepherded by Bautain instead of Wiseman, preceded by Goschler and Level instead of Ward and his friends. Moreover the Strasbourg movement is earlier. Ratisbonne had been a priest already three years when Keble preached his Assize Sermon on July 14,1833; and the Institute of Notre Dame de Sion received Episcopal sanction in Newman's critical year of 1845. But curiously, in the year 1847, the Constitutions of the Institute were approved by Mgr. Affre and Newman's Oratory began. The two men do not seem ever to have met, though Abbe Ratisbonne came to England in 1858, 1863, 1867, and had already known Manning, Faber, Gaisford, and others of the Tractarians. Finally in May, 1879, Newman was created a Cardinal by Leo XIII., and in May, 1880, the same Pontiff raised Ratisbonne to the rank of Protonotary Apostolic.
But these, perhaps forced, coincidences cannot conceal many differences in the movements inseparably connected with the names of these two great men;
especially in this, that there has been a gradual slackening of the Jewish movement towards the Church, while the Anglican movement has grown in force. So at least we should have said years ago. But now? To some of us it looks as though the older prophecies were coming true, more nearly to our own time than we could have dared to hope: "He that scattered Israel shall gather him, and He shall keep him as a shepherd doth his flock" (Jer. Xxxi. 10). May this story of great faith and hope and greater charity help to lead many a " wandering Jew" to the Feet of Christ! " There remaineth therefore a rest for the children of God."
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