23 Feast Day
Blessed Brother Arnould Rèche (1838-1890)
Rèche was born into a poor family living in Landroff
in the province of Lorraine. He left school at an early age
to work as a stable boy, a coachman, and finally as a teamster
for a local construction company. Even as a young man he was
known among his fellow workers for his piety and his self-discipline.
He first met the Brothers while attending evening classes
in their school and asked to be admitted into the congregation.
He taught for fourteen years at the boarding school on the
Rue de Venise in Rheims. Despite the demands of a full teaching
schedule, he managed by private study to master theology,
mathematics, science and agriculture, which he taught to small
groups of advanced students. During the Franco-Prussian War
of 1870, he worked with other Brothers to care for the medical
and spiritual needs of the wounded soldiers on both sides,
for which he was awarded the Bronze Cross.
The intensity of his prayer life and his love for practices
of penance soon led the superiors to appoint him Director
of Novices at Thillois. He won the hearts of his young charges
by his evident solicitude for their spiritual and professional
development. There are stories of little miracles and cures,
as well as his uncanny ability to discern their inmost thoughts.
Brother Arnold was known for his devotion to the Lord’s passion
and for his docility to the Holy Spirit who, as he often remarked,
“strengthens a person’s heart.”
When the novitiate was moved to the new formation center at
Courlancy near Rheims in 1885, Brother Arnold was instrumental
in having it dedicated to the Sacred Heart. He died at age
fifty-two with a reputation for sanctity, only a few months
after his appointment as Director General of Sacré
Coeur. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 1,