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Brother Clement's Gift

by Rik Charbonneaux  
9/16/2020 / Christian Living


"The union thus of branches to a stem is used to illustrate the union of true believers to the true Church." .. M.G. Easton, D.D. - 1897

As a Brother of a French religious order called to Northern Africa to help run an orphanage, to be remembered as being one of it's greatest teachers would have been praise well recieved for Clement Rodier. But as fate often dictates, the name and fame of this simple man of faith remains with us today for doing something quite apart from actually teaching.

Rodier had an insatiable thirst for knowledge with an aptitude for discovery. Along with teaching horticulture, he enjoyed being in charge of the orphanage's gardens, especially working with the citrus trees.

Driven by his love of oranges, and on the odd chance that he might improve his favorite, the mandrin orange, Clement grafted a branch from a abandoned wild orange tree on the property onto one of the mandrin orange trees.

The resulting fruit from the graft was neither mandrin nor orange and had a wonderful sweet, red flesh. Clement called it a "new species of mandrin".

The superior taste and "no pith" made this new orange a joy to both eat and peel, and became in great demand very quickly.

His success with creating a new hybrid orange just goes to show that If one has the faith and desire to keep trying, success will come with time and prayer.

In their gratitude for and recognition of their beloved teacher and gardner for his many skills and contributions, his former students were instrumental in having the new orange named for him: the "clementine".

Brother Clement passed away the following year. (1903)

So the next time you enjoy one of those easy peeling and sweet clementines, think about this simple man of faith who developed it and who loved to teach and pass on his considerable knowledge to others. Clement Rodier is worthy of that time and thought (and taste!).

Note: The grafting of the wild orange unto the mandrin orange tree that produced the clementine is somewhat reminiscent of the grafting in of the wild olive tree stock (Gentiles) onto the rootstock of Israel. (Romans 11:11-24 KLV)

That was a very successful graft too!

Rik Charbonneaux is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.

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