Monday, April 30, 2007

Who was Jeanne Chezard de Matel?

(Icon of Jeanne Chezard de Matel, used with permission
from the Sisters of the Incarnate Word, Cleveland, Ohio)

Jeanne de Matel was born in Roanne in the diocese of Lyon, France on November 6, 1596. Her father, Jean Chezard de Matel, an officer in the army, enjoyed the friendship of two monarchs: Henry IV and Louis XIII. Her mother belonged to an excellent family of Roanne and distinguished herself by her virtue and piety.

At the age of twelve, Jeanne made her First Communion. This was the beginning of an intimacy with the Incarnate Word, to Whom she consecrated herself by a promise of perpetual virginity. Thus, there was established between God and this servant a degree of friendship which manifested itself through extraordinary graces received. The priests of the Society of Jesus were the confidants of these graces accorded to her, and during her lifetime, they were her most faithful counselors and protectors.

Our Lord Himself clearly informed Jeanne that He had chosen her to be the foundress of a new religious Order. After having consulted her spiritual directors, Jeanne, at the age of 29, commenced working for the establishment of a new Institute. She began with two companions, in Roanne, on July 2, 1625, but soon afterwards transferred to Lyon. From there she called for her first companions, and they established themselves on the Gourguillon hill, in a spacious house which Our Lord had previously shown her.

Monseigneur de Miron, the Archbishop of Lyon, died unexpectedly after having occupied the archepiscopal See for only two years. His successor, Cardinal Alphonse Louis de Richelieu, brother of the famous Prime Minister under Louis XIII, maintained an unwavering opposition to Mother de Matel's foundation. Confronted with the dispositions of he new archbishop, Mother de Matel's situation became both difficult and critical. Despite the protection of the Jesuit Fathers, the Cardinal would not consent to the foundation of a new Congregation, and he refused his approbation within his diocese. In 1633 Mother de Matel received the Apostolic Bull of Establishment from Pope Urban VIII authorizing the foundation of the new Order, but Cardinal Richelieu refused to make the Bull effective. Mother de Matel, tranquil and full of confidence in God, established the Order of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament in other dioceses. She founded a monastery in Avignon on December 15, 1639, in Grenoble, on June 3, 1643, in Paris on January 1, 1644. The successor to Cardinal Richelieu, Monseigneur Camille de Neuville canonically recognized the monastery in Lyon on December 30, 1655.

(To be continued....)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Sr. Mary Rose!

Today is the ? birthday of Sr. Mary Rose (of our Sister community in Cleveland, Ohio)
Who would think this sweet little baby would become an Incarnate Word Sister?

Sister Mary Rose serves her community as part of the Leadership team. We pray for them as they prepare for Chapter this year (we are right behind them, ours is next summer!)

This is my favorite picture of Sister. I meet with Sr. Mary Rose and Sr. Rose Miriam some summers and we have journaling parties. I find that journaling clarifies my thoughts. I am so glad to have a couple of journaling friends!

Happy Birthday to my Sister in Christ. May God bless you and keep you!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Communion within the Church essential for flourishing of vocations, Pope Benedict writes

Today I read Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (Sunday, April 29th.) The Holy Father spoke of religious vocations as a communion.
He also emphasized the importance of living in communion with God and with our brothers and sisters and of making the Eucharist the center of our lives as vital to the flourishing of vocations.

I particularly like the following statement:

"At the centre of every Christian community is the Eucharist, the source and summit of the life of the Church. Whoever places himself at the service of the Gospel, if he lives the Eucharist, makes progress in love of God and neighbour and thus contributes to building the Church as communion. We can affirm that the "Eucharistic love" motivates and founds the vocational activity of the whole Church, because, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus caritas est, vocations to the priesthood and to other ministries and services flourish within the people of God wherever there are those in whom Christ can be seen through his Word, in the sacraments and especially in the Eucharist. This is so because "in the Church’s Liturgy, in her prayer, in the living community of believers, we experience the love of God, we perceive his presence and we thus learn to recognize that presence in our daily lives. He loved us first and he continues to do so; we too, then, can respond with love" (n. 17)."

You can read the article here:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Faith Sharing at the Bay

On Friday, April 20th, I met with my faith sharing group for a very awesome shared lectio time. Sr. JoAnn, Sr. Rose Miriam, Sr. Raquel, Sr. Maria Elizabeth, Theresa and myself met at the Corpus Christi bay. We were reflecting with the Sunday reading (Jesus appears to the disciples the third time.) I really loved this faith sharing because looking at the water made it so much more real, the disciples more present, the Gospel more "ours." We were the disciples and Jesus was asking us: "Do you love me?"

Yes, Lord,

we love you!

we love you!

we love you!

After that we tried catching fish for dinner but we couldn't figure out from which side of the boat to cast our net. So, we ended up picking up some fish from Boat N' Net. It tasted almost as good as it tasted to the disciples.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Palm Sunday 2007

Today at the Procession with Palms the reading from Lk 19:28-40 says that Jesus was going into Jerusalem and had need of a colt. The Disciples bring it to him and as he comes into Jerusalem people throw their cloaks on the road and as he approaches the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of his disciples begins to praise God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds they have seen. They proclaim out loud:“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd then say to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” But He replies, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”

I love this reading because the Incarnation of Christ is made evident. Christ does not ask for a horse, or a chariot, he asks for a donkey! Jesus wants to be the King of the Poor, the Word Incarnate who came to experience the vulnerability of the poor, the voiceless, the defenseless. Jesus' commitment to enter our lives, share our experiences, and walk in the path of our suffering begins. The fulfilment of God's gift for us enters the final hours.

In the reading, the Pharisees try to silence the crowd who wants to praise God. In today's world there are many voices who are raised to silence people's cry for God. Last year in his Easter Message, our Holy Father asked us to pray specially for Africa, Darfur, Uganda and Zimbabwe, for Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Holy Land. Let us continue to pray for them and also for Chiapas and Oaxaca in Mexico, for all the countries in Latin America and the world where the people, the Children of God suffer. Let us pray a lot for the nations to respect human rights, religious freedom and the dignity of the peoples. Let us pray for the missionaries who take the Word to places torn by war, hunger, and violence. Let us pray that the voiceless, the defenseless, the vulnerable will find their voice so they they, us, the stones and all of creation will be able to worship God without fear and cry out: "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"