Leading, bourdon souls are found throughout society

November 11, 2013

The Life of King St. Louis by Alexandre Cabanel

The Life of King St. Louis by Alexandre Cabanel

Bourdon souls naturally arise and are found all over society. Their role does not necessarily depend upon great virtue or high office. Sometimes through their capacity to influence others, people without any public office or status are able to perceive the model that Providence wants for a family, town, or region and can inspire others in this direction. Such was the case, for example, of Venerable Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853), a slave hairdresser whose wisdom and sanctity set a tone for all the ladies in New York City’s high society whom he served. More often than not, they are actual figures of authority such as Saint Louis IX the King of France or Sir Winston Churchill, who, although not a saint, did inspire the best from the English nation and thus set the tone for a whole historical epoch.

Ven. Pierre Toussaint was declared venerable in 1996.

Pierre Toussaint was declared venerable in 1996.

Such a telling of history—so irritating to modern egalitarian ears—leads us to conclude that a relatively small number of bourdon souls can lead to the flourishing or decadence of societies. We can ask fascinating questions about history by looking back at past figures and pondering their role in the rise or fall of nations. In our time of crisis, we must ask questions no less fascinating.

resident Ronald Reagan, first lady Nancy Reagan and pop singer Michael Jackson at the White House, May 1984.

President Ronald Reagan and the First Lady welcome pop singer Michael Jackson to the White House, May 1984.

In our industrial age, the great carillons have been silenced and replaced with the artificial sound of electronic bells, horns, or sirens. So many fake and dissonant “bells” ring out. Where are those who should set the tone for our society today? Can we not awaken the bourdon souls to help us in our search for solutions?


John Horvat II, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 203-4.



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