Saturday, March 09, 2013

Mais la vraie vie était sur la patinoire.

Yesterday's post was intended to point, even if indirectly, to a specific cardinal who is currently papabile. Canada's own Cardinal Marc Ouellet was not the cardinal I had in mind, but I must acknowledge that the possibility that le p'tit gars de La Motte could ascend to the Throne of St. Peter has sparked a great deal of discussion in the country where I live. One element of Cardinal Ouellet's vocation story has always reminded me of the conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and I'm glad that reporter Andy Blatchford chose to highlight that detail in a story published yesterday on Ouellet the hockey player:
Canadians have long considered hockey sacred — and soon they might actually get a holy hockey site.

In a life-changing event, a Canadian cardinal now viewed as a contender for the papacy once broke his leg on an outdoor hockey rink in the northwestern Quebec village of Cadillac.

Marc Cardinal Ouellet was a talented 17-year-old forward when his skate blade got caught in a deep crevice during a game. While nursing his aching leg over the following weeks, Ouellet made up his mind to pursue the priesthood.

. . .

Roch Ouellet told The Canadian Press he was peering over the rink’s boards watching the game when his older brother went down.

"There was a crack in the ice, and his skate got caught in the crack and the force was too strong — he broke his leg," said Roch Ouellet, who was 11 or 12 years old at the time.

Marc Ouellet was taken to a woman who was known as the local bone-setter — or ramancheuse — despite her lack of formal medical training.

She set his leg in rudimentary fashion and braced it with homemade wooden splints.

"I lost my season," the cardinal recalled in a 2005 interview with The Canadian Press.

"I started to pray and to read a little more spiritual things because I was unable to play. It was decisive for my vocation."
To read the rest of Blatchford's story, click here. I doubt that the 17-year-old Marc Ouellet was "given to the vanities of the world" in quite the way that Ignatius was before his conversion, but the teenaged hockey player's convalescence nonetheless led him to an equally fateful change in direction. Sometimes, as Marc Ouellet learned a long time ago, God speaks through cracks in the ice. AMDG.


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