This paper examines the history of Lacouturisme, a retreat movement founded by the Jesuit retreat leader Onésime Lacouture (d.1951), in Québec and the United States. Based on a redaction of the Ignatian Exercises, Lacouture’s ascetic theology was especially popular among Canadien seminarians, until it was subject to formal censure—based both on questions of orthodoxy and its apologists’ pugilistic iconoclasm. “The retreat” migrated southward, largely under the stewardship of Pittsburgh diocesan priest John Hugo (1911–85), and became deeply critical in the spiritual formation of Dorothy Day. Lacouturisme signaled an upswell of enduring Christian debates, such as the relationship between nature and grace, the boundaries of orthodoxy, and the call to moral perfection. Although the retreat’s theology counselled a measure of social withdrawal, it became spiritual fodder for the Catholic Worker Movement’s radical personalism.
Downey, Jack Lee, "In coelestibus: The Spiritual Combat of Onésime Lacouture, S.J." (2018). Religion Faculty work. 3.
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