Attractions in Mauritius
Places of worship & holy places in Mauritius
Pére Laval Apaotle of the black and the poor
Père (Father) Laval, called the “apostle of the black and the poor”, was venerated as a saint in his own lifetime.
Born in France in 1803, Jacques Désiré Laval grew up in comfortable circumstances and first began his career as a physician. But a riding accident that he miraculously survived awakened his spirituality and he became a priest at the age of 38.
In 1841 the French church sent Père Laval to Mauritius, to convert as many unbelievers there as possible to Christianity.
On his arrival in Mauritius, Père Laval was horrified by the conditions and great poverty he found there. Just six years had passed since the British had freed the slaves, which initially brought them no benefits except for the theoretical freedom. The former slaves were living in great poverty with no economic base and did not earn enough as day laborers for their former “masters” to feed their families.
Pére Laval, sent to Mauritius as a missionary, neglected his actual task and attempted to relieve the suffering of the black population and the poor.
He offered his services as a physician for free, helped the lepers, and even used his church as a hospital at times. He established hospitals and hospices, some of which are still in operation today.
He also attempted to improve conditions by political means, joined groups of reformers, and tried to protect the common people from the despotism of the sugar barons. Père Laval worked in Mauritius for 23 years and did a great deal of good.
The veneration for Père Laval and his deeds grew even more after his death and after a few miraculous healings were said to have taken place at his gravesite, it became a pilgrimage site visited not only by the people of Mauritius; pilgrims come from La Réunion, the Seychelles, Mayotte, England, and many other countries.
Why don’t you come too!