December 2004 - Interview of Fr. Le Roux
Interview with Father Le Roux by the French SSPX newsportal La Porte Latine.
Interview with La Porte Latine
La Porte Latine: Dear Fr. le Roux, as your name seems to be French, could you introduce yourself to the readers of “The Latin Gate”?
Father Yves le Roux: Certainly, but if you excuse me, I will do it in the manner of a simplified résumé, because – paraphrasing the Count of Chambord – while the principle of the priest is all, my person is nothing. Thus:
Born on August 22, 1964, in Paris.
Lived 20 years in the Parisian area.
After school, a year of philosophy at the “Institut Universitaire St. Pie X.”
Entered Ecône in October 1983 – marvelous years that completed the formation received at home.
Ordained on June 29, 1990, in Ecône.
Appointed to Geneva, where I remained for 5 years.
Director of the school at Salvan, Valais (Switzerland), for one year (1995-96).
For 7 years (1996-2003), Director of the school of the Holy Family in Lauzon, opposite Québec.
Since August 15, 2003, Rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona.
La Porte Latine: Then, it has been more than a year now since you succeeded Bishop Williamson as the Rector of the Seminary of Winona, in the United States of America. Could you explain to us what, exactly, are your functions?
Father Yves le Roux: Before answering your question, I think it is important to situate our Seminary in its geographical and historical context. Our house is located in the state of Minnesota, near the source of the Mississippi river, in that part of the US commonly called the Midwest, in the center of the country – a region exposed to glacial winds from the north pole in winter, and in summer to humid heat from the Gulf of Mexico!
Our house was built by the Dominicans in the 1950’s, to be the Novitiate of their American central province, but a few years later, as vocations sharply decreased, the Dominicans had to sell a house that had become a heavy burden for them.
In 1998, as SSPX vocations increased, it became clear that the building that was then serving as the Society’s Seminary in Ridgefield, Connecticut, near New York, was too small. So we bought this religious house in Winona. Now, even this house has become small for the ever increasing number of vocations. We must either enlarge the building, while keeping its particular style, or emigrate somewhere else in the US. We will have to make a decision in the near future, but the financial aspect will be a determinant element in our choice!
In the meantime, we continue administrating a domain of a bit more than 300 acres. We have a small farm that we rent to one of our neighbors, and a forest, also small, which we try to keep up, as it provides us with wood for heating our buildings.
Apart from these administrative tasks of a Seminary Rector, I give some philosophy courses and the majority of the spiritual conferences to the seminarians.
At the Seminary, with the grace of God, we have the honor and joy of doing again that which Christ Himself first did when He formed the college of the Apostles. The fact of being called, in spite of our inadequacies, to perpetuate this apostolate of Christ cannot but bring joy to our priestly hearts and keep us greatly humbled. Thus, we fervently hope that your readers will keep us in their prayers, so that we will be able, as docile instruments of Our Lord, to work in His vineyard, preparing the priests of tomorrow that are so greatly needed by the world.
La Porte Latine: How do you see the number of vocations, especially in the US, knowing that you manage 60 seminarians including 22 entries for this year, 10 pre-seminarians and 12 seminarians the first year ?
Father Yves le Roux: The words of Our Lord are always a reality:
"The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He send laborers into His harvest."
We will never have too many vocations! But the number of vocations has increased in these last years, as we have mentioned above. This increase is certainly the consequence of the work done by our fellow priests in the District of the US, especially in our schools.
We find magnificent families in the US that do not hesitate to settle around our schools. Such a tendency is remarkable and encouraging, as families and schools are called to work together in the formation of solid Christians.
La Porte Latine: In other words, the principal source of your vocations is to be found in SSPX schools in the US?
Father Yves le Roux: Certainly, but it should not be assumed that this happens automatically! Families must give a truly Catholic education to their children, based on a spirit of sacrifice and Christian joy. It is not enough to put the child in our school and think that the parents’ duty is finished. In fact, it has only begun.
Nevertheless, we also receive a certain number of converts. Thus, among this year’s 20 new seminarians, 3 of them come from Protestantism.
La Porte Latine: Regarding communication, apart from your Seminary’s new website, do you publish any letters or magazines which could be obtained by the English readers of “The Latin Gate”?
Father Yves le Roux: We publish a monthly letter to our friends and benefactors, available in English and in French on our website. Our seminarians publish, by themselves, four times a year, a small magazine, “Verbum,” presenting the principal events in the life of the Seminary.
Your readers will find all practical information on this matter on our website.
La Porte Latine: A last question before letting you go back to your Seminary. Do you have any message to transmit to the great, universal family of Tradition?
Father Yves le Roux: Allow me to somehow object to your expression “a great, universal family.” I would simply say that, as Roman Catholics faithful to Tradition, we must show ourselves, by our example, as witnesses of divine Charity. God did not hesitate to give His only-begotten Son to save souls. What do we do today with this heritage?
Perhaps we have fallen far too much into the grasp of the materialistic spirit of the world. Often forgetful of our heritage, we exhaust ourselves in sterile pursuits that please our inclination to activism, but that lead us away from what is essential: our union to God through Our Lord, in and by prayers and sacrifice.
We must be witnesses of the Charity of Christ by means of our lives of prayer and sacrifice. The Christian is a consecrated being whose first and most important duty is adoration. Our life must be a testimony of the sovereignty of God, and singing His praises must be our constant occupation.
Christendom was the fruit of the prayers of the Benedictines. The monastic liturgy was the instrument of Christian civilization because the life of the monks radiated from their liturgical life. The barbarians became Christians by the force and irradiation of Christ through the liturgical life of Benedictine monks. Why should it be otherwise today, when we are confronted by a new form of barbarism? We are impotent to check the present decadence because we exhaust ourselves in vain quarrels that only show that we treat our souls like markets where only he who cries the louder is able to sell his merchandise. Our souls are not marketplaces, and our apostolates are not salesmen’s patter. No, our souls are shrines, and our apostolates are their normal radiation.
That is what we try to teach our seminarians, so that they will know later how to avoid being sucked into a jumble of vain words, and they will be able to defend the deposit of faith in its integrity, by their celebration of Mass and by their fidelity to living it each day. May God make their lives not like that of a functionary reciting prayers, but that of a soul consecrated to God, letting itself be apprehended by the immensity of divine Love, so that our Lord may continue in their lives His divine, redemptive agony.
As the priest is an officer of Christ, his whole life should be spent in the sole combat worthy of his vocation: to make Christ reign over societies, families and individuals.
Fr. Yves le Roux