BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE JESUS AND MARY CONGREGATION
OCTOBER 6TH 2017
Reflections from today’s scripture readings, and J.M. history
Today, we celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of our beloved congregation of Jesus and Mary. We gather, united with our sisters around the globe, in rejoicing, reminiscing, appreciating, keeping on going, one moment at a time, forward into what will be. Knowing right well that, as we read, from Ecclesiastes: “whatever is, has already been, and what will be, is now,” and we EX-IST from, with, through and toward the ONE GREAT (I AM).
We are all very aware of who, when, and where, our Mother Foundress began this work; we know that she lived in a time and place which was pretty much like the time and place we are in, right now: as it was then, our Church, is struggling with help and criticism; our country is edgy; still our Brother Jesus calls us to carry on His WAY as his followers, to “GO AND DO LIKEWISE”, as the good Samaritan, being moved to compassion, toward the least and bearing His message, and example. LIVE, GROW, LEARN, SHARE, and LOVE with all our hearts: though many parts, we are ONE BODY IN THIS CHRIST, called to sincerely love one another with mutual affection; to be compassionate, forgiving, with God’s help, kindly, honestly, and deeply .
About our Mother Foundress, St. Claudine, we have read and prayed, and gotten to know her as we try to walk in her footsteps. St. Claudine, or, as she was lovingly called by her beloved brothers and sisters, Glady, having had a loving upbringing in a well established family, prospering in the silk industry; having had many years of education, Claudine was taught the arts of being a good house wife and mother. When she returned home from the Abbey of St. Pierre formed and taught by Benedictine sisters, she was then a young teenager, and soon found that life had changed. The historical French Revolution was sparking. Her family suffered when her father had to leave the city in order to confide the four younger children to the care of his sister. Unfortunately, he was not able to return. Her brothers enlisted, and were involved in the turbulent state of frenzy in Lyons. Claudine tried to find her brothers when they had been arrested. She followed a group of prisoners, her brothers being in line, led to execution. Claudine’s life came to a moment of shocked experience, witnessing her brothers and other young men, executed, shot, and dumped into a ditch where the soldiers hit and finished them with bayonets. Francois had managed to give a letter to Claudine’s companion: Both, Louis and Francois had written this farewell letter: in it, Claudine read: “Forgive, Glady, as we forgive”. From this moment, she faced her life as a new page.
OF COURSE, we all know the story. But, if we hope to actually KNOW St. Claudine, we have been told that we can see and find her, learn from her, in her descendant RJM’s….!!??? WELLLLL!
Although we certainly do our best, we often fall short of our Saintly Mother’s goal,…. still, we ARE Claudine’s daughters: our prayers, efforts, hopes, and dreams, are, in each of our hearts, deeply rooted in Christ’s own heart.
Our book of constitutions begins with the clear map of who and how we are today, (as we were in the beginning and trust we shall ever be…to the end of our history: apostolic, called to live the Mystery of Christ, sent from the Father, by the Spirit, to announce the Good News of Salvation.
NOW, 200 years after Claudine’s birthing our Congregation, we bear in our hearts, the inherited gift of “INTIMATE EXPERIENCE OF GOD’S ACTIVE GOODNESS” which filled Claudine with ONE desire: TO COMMUNICATE THIS KNOWLEDGE, and ONE anguish SEEING OTHERS WHO DID NOT KNOW GOD.
Though our book of constitutions, put together by Claudine, and arranged, and re-arranged, through the years, is our book of RULES…. Since I am sharing my reflections with you all, I admit that #11 has grasped the “cockles of my heart” from the very first time I was allowed and privileged to read this treasured book.
What more would I wish for, but to “LIVE MY COMMITMENT TO LIVE IN CHRIST IN A SPIRIT OF PRAISE, JOY OF HEART, FREEEDOM OF SPIRIT, CONFIDENCE AND GENEROSITY.! Seeking God in all things and all things in God!!!
I have listened to “Les Misérables” musical, and always, St. Claudine and our early Jesus and Mary sisters, helping the “miserable street children” and those who so needed love, and healing from the wounds of war…. May I share the last epilog song?
DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING
From LES MISERABLES
“To love another person is to see the face of God”
Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night? It is the music of a people who are climbing to the Light!
For the wretched of the earth there is a flame that never dies. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord, they will walk, behind the plough/share, they will put away the sword! The chain will be broken and all will have their reward!
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing? Say, do you hear the distant drum? It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes!
WHEN TOMORROW COMES!