French volleyball star to join Catholic order, wants to become a priest

Ludovic Duee plays in a volleyball match in 2014 in Paris, France.
Ludovic Duee plays in a volleyball match in 2014 in Paris, France. | Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Retiring volleyball star Ludovic Duée, captain of the Saint-Nazaire club that won the French men's A League championship on Sunday, will join a traditional Catholic order of canons as he seeks to become a priest. 

Duée will join the Canons Regular of the Mother of God, the French Catholic newspaper La Croix International reports. Days earlier, he told RMC Sport that "the goal is to become a priest." 

“I am responding to what I consider to be an inner calling,” he told the outlet, according to Google Translate. “It’s not a fad, a delusion. ... It is not a choice by default. I have always had faith since my birth, I had this grace, I grew up in a Catholic family. And I have been looking for several years to find out how to fully give my life to the Lord."

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He told Ouest-France that he was choosing a "vocation and a profession."

Based out of Lagrasse Abbey in southern France under the Rule of St. Augustine, the community of canons that Duée will join have devoted their lives to serving God and being fully committed to the pre-Vatican II liturgy and evangelization. The community was founded in 1971 and celebrates traditional Latin mass. 

Duée, 32, was raised in a Catholic household. He discovered the canons during the COVID-19 pandemic because the canons' abbey was close to his home in Narbonne. 

"I had the chance to meet the community of canons regular of Lagrasse, which is not far from Narbonne. They were super welcoming and answered all my questions about discomfort," the athlete recently told the Catholic news outlet Aleteia, as relayed by La Croix. 

After experiencing the spirituality of the canons, he said his life had been radically changed for the better, as he had experienced a major transformation in his relationship with God.  

"From a threatening father who was there to strike, I moved to a loving God," he said. "I discovered that God loved me and that he only waited for one thing, for me to love him too. That was the basis of this journey."

Duée will become a "postulant" for the next few months and reside with the canons as a layperson. He will become familiarized with the Rule of St. Augustine, according to La Croix. Postulants can enter the novitiate for a year when the observation period ends. If Duée is approved for that stage, he will be permitted to wear the community's habit. After five years, candidates can make their vows to become canons of Lagrasse. 

The community has a variety of activities and does not have a stereotypical strict image often associated with the traditionalist liturgy, La Croix notes. 

Within the French Diocese of Carcassonne-Narbonne, the canons are often seen playing volleyball with the local team, accompanying migrants at the Reception Center for Asylum Seekers and visiting hospitals.

Nicole VanDyke is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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