One of the last projects Br. Donald Houde, CSV, worked on before he passed away Sept. 29 was to identify the latest relic he uncovered at the Viatorian Province Center, where he lived in retirement the last 19 years.
After his passing, the relic and a magnifying glass were found on his desk in his apartment. It turned out to be a relic of St. Alphonsus Liguori, the patron saint of theologians and vocations.
St. Alphonsus lived in the 18th century in Italy and founded the Redemptorist Congregation. He not only was a great theologian but a scholar and author as well, writing in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His Glories of Mary is one of his great works, and his book Visits to the Blessed Sacrament went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly advancing the practice of this devotion.
Three years ago, Br. Houde set out to identify and preserve all of the relics contained in the main altar of the Province Center chapel. The new reliquary side chapel debuted on All Saints’ Day in 2019, with individual relics showcased in a glass-enclosed case as well as a few standing in reliquaries on the altar, and each one identified in an accompanying book.
As a member of the first class to move into the Province Center when it opened in 1951, Br. Houde was keenly aware of the relics stored in the chapel’s main altar — and he wanted to share them and bring them to light before he died.
Mission accomplished and now the last relic joins its rightful place among the others in this intimate side chapel, shining a light on all of these holy men and women.