Wayne's Latest Column


By Wayne Weible

The leading expert on Mariology and strong supporter on the authentication of the Medjugorje apparitions, French Father René Laurentin, passed away last month just short of the age of 100. Laurentin participated in the Second Vatican Council as an expert on apparitions and is widely recognized as the leading authority on the phenomenon.

More importantly, Father Rene Laurentin was a good personal friend and associate.

Father Rene was a brilliant theologian and dedicated author on apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He had a strong devotion to the Mother of Jesus and was also a great believer in Medjugorje. He met with the Franciscans of the parish and also spent hours with the visionaries. There was no doubt in his belief after such a thorough investigation.

I met Fr. Rene in Medjugorje and with a basic but limited ability to speak French, we became good friends. He was fascinated that a Protestant by faith and journalist by profession could have been chosen by the Blessed Virgin to spread her messages. Fr. Rene was also a strong believer in the writings of the Italian mystic Maria Valtorta, another belief we shared.

My fondest memories of Fr. Rene developed as we were both guest speakers at an annual Marian conference near San Francisco, California for a number of years. Since his English was as limited as my French, Father would write out his talk in English using translation aids, read a page or two himself and then request that I complete the public reading. It was a special honor and was clear and easy to understand.

After the conference the organizers invited Fr. Rene and I to join them at Lake Tahoe, California for several days of skiing and relaxation. Fr. Rene was an expert skier; I was at best intermediate. There was an incident once when I lost control going downhill and crashed into the thin 125-pound priest and was sure that I had seriously injured him. Fortunately, he was fine. I quickly left the expert slopes for the intermediate so as not to have a repeat of the accident!

We are all astounded when Fr. Rene insisted on fasting on Wednesday and Friday. Thus, he would ski the entire day on Wednesday, fasting only on water.

However, the best time with this amazing French priest was the celebration of the Holy Mass. The renowned theologian, who could intricately explain Catholic dogma, became like a “little boy” in leading the Mass. He would slowly present the liturgy with obvious reverence, taking extra time in the concentration of the gifts. It was a startling transformation of a learned theologian into an innocent child of God. Those precious moments will be my remembrance of my dear friend Fr. Rene Laurentin.

Rest in peace, Father, you have more than earned it.


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