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19 June

Dorian Laplante, C.S.C.

Dorian was born on July 27, 1907, in St.-Louis-de-Richelieu (Quebec), the seventh of a family of nine children. After meeting the Holy Cross brothers at school, he enters the Congregation at the age of 16. On August 15, 1923, he receives the religious habit taking the name Flavian. After completing his novitiate and studying at St. Joseph’s Scholasticate, he professes final vows on August 16, 1928. He works several years in Notre-Dame College as a teacher and dorm supervisor and in 1932 is assigned to the Congregation’s mission in East Bengal.

Flavian arrives to Chittagong on December 1st. His first assignment is at the Congregation’s new high school in Padrishibpur. Besides assisting with construction and other manual labor, Flavian also teaches and supervises a dormitory before becoming principal two years later. In May 1942, when the Japanese Army starts air raids on Chittagong, Flavian moves there to help tend to the hungry and sick. He works principally with the Hindus, who are considered at the bottom of society. It is during this time that he meets the fishermen to whom he eventually devotes most of his life, helping them get organized into cooperatives and being assigned new boats, since theirs had been commandeered during the war. At the same time, he begins constructing an orphanage at Diang, about 10 miles from Chittagong, to care for the orphans from the Chakati Refugee Camp. Flavian dedicates the rest of his life to ministering in Diang and among the fishermen of the nearby region.

On December 24, 1976, after returning from his fifth and final home visit to Canada, he retires to the life of a hermit. He lives in his personal ashram (hermitage) 1,500 feet from the brothers’ residence in Diang. On October 1, 1978, he has a statue of Our Lady installed on the property, and the following year, on February 11, he organizes a feast in honor of Mary. Over 800 pilgrims come that day, and this celebration continues as a major pilgrimage in Bangladesh to this day. In 1981, when his health becomes a serious concern, Flavian refuses to return to Canada for treatment. He dies, after 49 years of service to the poor in Bangladesh, on June 19, 1981.

LINK: http://www.holycrosscongregation.org/