Br. Flavian Laplante, C.S.C., was declared a Servant of God on Feb. 13, 2009 – the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes – by Most Rev. Patrick D’Rozario, C.S.C., Bishop of Chittagong Diocese, Bangladesh.
He was born on July 27, 1907, in St.-Louis-de-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada, the seventh child of nine to Honoré Laplante and Louise Théroux. His birth name was Doria. At 16, he entered the Novitiate in Pierrefonds. On Aug. 16, 1923, he made his First Profession, taking the name Flavian. He made Final Vows on Aug. 16, 1928.
Br. Flavian was assigned to Bengal in 1932. From 1933 to 1962, he was a full-time professor and school principal. He also served as secretary and accountant for the Bishop of Chittagong. He ministered to the poor, particularly fisherman in Bashkali, and he would accompany them out to sea for days. Br. Flavian also set up the “Kalidaha Fishing Project” to help fisherman motorize their boats, as well as a technical school to give them the skills to build and repair boats.
He had a heart for orphans, for whom he opened a boarding school. In 1940, he also opened an orphanage for 200 children. Br. Flavian also was concerned about health care and literacy, especially for women. He established primary and high schools, a boys’ hostel, a health center, an adult women’s education center, a technical school, residences for Religious and the Diang Ashram, a study and meditation center.
Br. Flavian had a dream of building a grotto for the Virgin Mary modeled after Lourdes. That dream came to life in 1974 and today the site is parish dedicated to Our Lady. When he retired, Br. Flavian went to his ashram to live as a hermit in the shadow of the grotto. In 1981, his health became a serious concern, yet he wouldn’t go to Canada for treatment on the advice of his superiors. Instead, he completed 49 years of service to the poor in Bangladesh. He died on June 19, 1981.
Br. Flavian’s cause remains in its initial stages. Learn more on the Congregation of Holy Cross’ website.