Bishop Charles de Provenchères

 

 Bishop Charles de Provenchères was bishop of Aix-en-Provence from 1946 to 1978. He was  named Bishop 6 years after the arrival of the Little Sisters of Jesus at the house called the Tubet   on the peripherie of Aix-en-Provence. He had an important influence on the development of the  Congregation throughout the world during its first years and its acceptance by Church officials. 
Little sister Magdeleine wrote as follows to the little sisters upon the death of Bishop de Provencheres:
   “No one can imagine what he has been for our Congregation, ever since his arrival in Aix in  1946. He protected the Community as a fragile plant.”
 Bishop de Provencheres had told us on September 11th1957:
“You are like a house of cards, nothing solid. When they question me in Rome, that is what I say first. I see only one thing cementing that house together, the Infant Jesus. If you are not very little, if you believe you can hold on by your own strength, the Community will inevitably collapse, not just in one place but throughout the whole world.”

   And she continued: 
   "We owe him so much! For more than thirty years, he has been guiding us, supporting us, and defending us tirelessly, with goodness and patience. We could always have recourse to him in every circumstance, certain of his understanding and his support.
 

  He defended the Little Sisters of Jesus with love. From the very first days, he received so much criticism: ‘our habit was not religious enough for that particular time, the risks of hitch-hiking, little sisters being changed too quickly in the communities’. By allowing all our boldness, all our constant trips from one of end of the world to the other, Bishop de Provencheres made it possible for the Congregation to grow. His reasonable, peaceful, gentle temperament gave confidence to the protestors who always had an answer from him.

 
   We owe our current extension to him. He encouraged it with all his confidence, writing to the bishops during our big trip around the world, asking them to welcome us in their diocese and to trust us in spite of our youth, our inexperience and our lacks.
 

Our most ‘foolish’ projects were always welcomed and almost always approved after he prayed about them. He often asked the time it would take for a Mass before answering.
Nothing frightened him: little sisters living in tents, alone in the desert, in trailers on the road, a little sister in prison alone among common law criminals, communities of one professed and one postulant which lasted until 1960 in order to allow for more rapid extension while awaiting vocations from the country they were in, our ‘around the world trip’ (1953-1954) in spite of the expense and fatigue, the yearly trips of the Shooting Star (Etoile Filante) in all the countries of Eastern Europe…
During the whole time of the Council, of which he was a member of one of the preparatory commissions, Bishop de Provencheres came often to help us enter more deeply into the spirit of the Church as People of God, servant and poor, collegial, ecumenical in respect and openness to all, unity in Christ... He will always be a father to us, the one to whom we also owe such thankfulness for having welcomed us, guided us, protected us, defended us.”
 

                                                      

Bishop de Provencheres spent the last years of his life at the Tubet, the motherhouse of the Little Sisters of Jesus (Aix-en-Provence). He died on June 2nd 1984.
 

 
 
 

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