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The Angelus - November 1980
A Day in the Life of Archbishop Lefebvre
This article first appeared in the September 1979 issue of Fideliter.
TO SEE ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE officiating at ordination or confirmation ceremonies, robed in his pontifical vestments, surrounded by gold and incense, one would think that he lives continuously in episcopal splendor. Nothing could be further from the truth. Christian simplicity inspires all his daily actions.
In everyday life Archbishop Lefebvre wears a simple black cassock with the cincture of the Holy Ghost Fathers. The only signs of his episcopacy are his ring and pectoral cross.
When he is at Econe, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X rises at 5: 30 a.m., a half-hour before the community. He celebrates Mass at 6:00, in a small chapel on the second floor of the seminary, for a group of the faithful who come before beginning their work day.
Around 6: 45, His Grace goes to the main chapel where the seminarians are finishing Prime, and with them prays and attends the community Mass. At 8:00 he goes to the refectory for breakfast, sitting at the head of the faculty table.
After that His Grace is in his office, a little room next to his bedroom, exactly like the offices of-all the priests at the seminary. There he remains until noon. On the shelves of his library can be found books of spirituality, the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas, Acts of the popes, a dictionary. The former Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers has not forgotten his vow of poverty: he gives all books presented to him to the seminary library.
During the morning hours, Archbishop Lefebvre answers his mail, prepares the spiritual talks which he gives to the seminarians each Thursday, does research for the course on papal teachings which he gives every week to the first-year students.
He receives most of his visitors in the parlor. Saturday morning is devoted to discussions with professors.
At 12:15 p.m. His Grace goes to the chapel for Sext in community, and leads the Angelus. He takes his lunch in silence, listening with the professors and seminarians to the table reading. The former missionary is not hard to please, much less fastidious: his food is the same as the others. Still, one attentive seminarian thinks he has spotted in him a certain predilection for grapefruit.
During recreation after lunch, His Grace loves to be with his sons, to walk and talk with them; unfortunately his many responsibilities seldom give him the opportunity to do so. The afternoon finds him again in his office, where he sees informally the seminarians who wish to speak to him after their classes.
When time permits, he visits the sacristy, the library, the supply room, to make sure that things are running smoothly in these areas. At 7:00 p.m. His Grace recites the Rosary with his seminarians, for the intentions of the friends of the Society. In spite of voracious demands on his time, he is rarely absent from community exercises. Dinner, then evening recreation, finally Compline chanted at 8:45, and his day is ended.
As he leaves the chapel, before retiring to his room, the Superior General of the Society of St.Pius X kneels on the tile floor of the cloister, before the statue of the Blessed Virgin for a short prayer; it would not be hard to guess what he is saying to Her. Until the next morning, throughout the house, it is Grand Silence.