“The Charitable Spouses”

2 July 2023: anniversary of the death in 1755, of Count Claude Toussaint Marot de La Garaye.

On 2 July 2023, a group of Christians, including our archivist, wanted to honour the memory of the Count and Countess of La Garaye by holding a Mass in the church in Taden*, which they attended every Sunday. The Mass was presided over by a child of the country, Henri Cocheril, a diocesan priest who, as a child, used to walk the paths near the Count’s and Countess’s property on a daily basis.

Among the many people who came to pray at Taden were around twenty members of the “Daughters of the Holy Spirit” Family, including two General Councillors: Jeannine Légère and Abiola Adigboluja. From the very first years of the foundation of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, the Count and Countess called on the Sisters to run the “Petit Bon Espoir”, charitable school, in Taden and to care for the sick at home.
Fervent prayer on 2 July, accompanied by lively entertainment and the talent of an exceptional organist! We were part of the people that Abbé Cocheril invited to “make a pilgrimage”, to set out on a journey towards somewhere else. In his homily, briefly outlining the work of the Count and Countess de la Garaye, these “Charitable spouses” identified as such by St John Paul II, Fr. Cocheril invited us to take care of the marginalized, the little ones and the poor, as they knew so well how to do... We were part of this people who, at the end of the celebration, were vigorously and warmly exhorted by the parish priest to welcome others as they are… an eminent sign of Christian life… (an exhortation linked to the presence in the assembly of a priest “from another church” whom he called “my brother”!).

After the celebration, it was no less moving to listen to Mr. Paris, who was very well informed about the life of the couple who had put their great material wealth at the service of the poor… He highlighted all the medical and surgical science of the Comte de La Garaye (recognised by the king), which was put at the service of the practitioners who came to train at the château and above all the patients treated in the hospital he founded. It was also a touching moment when the speaker took out of his pocket the pair of scissors used by Madame la Comtesse de La Garaye, who was able to dress the most hideous wounds without hesitation… Madame la Comtesse also specialised in the treatment of eye diseases.

This was followed by a moment of conviviality, giving everyone the chance to get to know the members of the team working to promote the memory of the de La Garaye couple,.

After such a rich evening, how can we fail to give thanks to the Lord for the witness of the “Charitable spouses” celebrated today and for what the Spirit is still doing today in the wake of the Count and Countess de La Garaye!

 Armandine BAGOT, DHS, Trégueux community. Published on 4 July 2023

* Taden: French commune in the Côtes-d’Armor department in the Brittany region

The last photo: detail of a stained glass window in the church of Saint-Malo in Dinan

Prayer to request the beatificationof
and Marie-Marguerite Marot de La Garaye

God of love and goodness, who raised up Claude-Toussaint and Marie-Marguerite Marot de La Garaye to be charitable spouses at the service of their suffering brothers, and to give us a shining example of devotion to our fellow men, deign, in view of their merits, to grant us the graces we ask of you (name the favour desired) so that, assured of their effective intercession with you, we may one day see them raised to the glory of the altars. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.