MEMORIAL: APRIL 5th
…Venerable Rosalie Cadron-Jette… was born in Lavaltrie, Canada, in 1794. During her lifetime in her part of Canada, who would take care of unmarried pregnant women: shelter them, feed them, and provide medical attention before, during, and after the births of their children? No one, it seems, except Venerable Rosalie.
LOVE AND CARE FOR THOSE IN NEED
Venerable Rosalie grew up on a farm, her father earning a comfortable living. Even at a young age she showed love and care for those in need. She would help orphaned and abandoned children, mend clothes, take food to the hungry and visit the sick. According to the custom at that time, Venerable Rosalie married a man much older than herself: she was 16 and he was 33. She gave birth to 11 children, four of them dying at a young age. However, Venerable Rosalie became widowed at the age of 38, her husband dying from a cholera epidemic.
ONE NIGHT, A FRANTIC KNOCK SHOOK HER FRONT DOOR
The providence of God led Venerable Rosalie to her eventual ministry. One night, a frantic knock shook her front door. Hysterically, a woman begged to be let inside. She screamed that two sailors were chasing her with a hatchet intending to kill her. The woman was hidden in the house and the two sailors arrived. Having not found the woman in the house they eventually left. It later emerged that the woman, whose name was Jean-Marie, was working as a prostitute. Venerable Rosalie encouraged Jean-Marie to change her life. (Many years later Venerable Rosalie received a letter from Jean-Marie thanking her for her help and advice and stating that she had emigrated to the United States and was now happily married).
THE “HARMFUL TALK OF LOCAL PEOPLE”
For many years after her encounter with Jean-Marie, Venerable Rosalie dedicated her life to assisting single pregnant women and prostitutes, this at a time when being single and pregnant created a great stigma. Word spread that Venerable Rosalie helped people in need and the local Bishop asked her to help six children who had become orphans. Within a few days homes had been found for all these children. When more prostitutes and pregnant women were coming to Venerable Rosalie and staying with her to be looked after, some members of Venerable Rosalie’s family confronted her by saying that she was dishonouring the family name and that her reputation was being ruined by the harmful talk of local people.
“I AM STAYING HERE”
“It makes us feel bad to hear the things that people are saying about you. You are going to come home with us”, they said. They picked up her belongings and waited for Venerable Rosalie to come out and come home with them. Instead, Venerable Rosalie said, “Take everything I own, if you want; but as for me, I’m staying here.”
DOING GOD’S WILL
After all, she felt she was doing God’s will by looking after these women. Venerable Rosalie obtained bigger premises and never turned away any woman in need of shelter. Eventually, other caring women joined her in her work, leading to the formation of the Institute of the Sisters of Misericorde. Sadly, Venerable Rosalie then became ill with a kidney disease. As her health worsened she prayed for the pregnant women and prostitutes in need of help and advised her sisters to always love their work of caring for them.
SACRIFICES AND WORKS FOR GOD’S GLORY
Her Bishop came to her with the Blessed Eucharist and said, “My dear child, you may die now; go and receive your crown in heaven which God has lovingly prepared for you to reward you for all the sacrifices and works which you have so generously undertaken for His glory.” The next day, 5th April 1864, Venerable Rosalie died.
The cause for her canonisation was presented to the Vatican. In 2013 Pope Francis declared that Rosalie should be called ‘Venerable’, a step on the road to being declared a saint.
Some years after Venerable Rosalie’s death, one of her sisters declared at a religious meeting that ‘Rosalie placed herself beyond caring about the judgments of the world, when she placed before herself only conforming to the holy will of God.’ Good advice for all of us!
– From: Spiritual Thought From Fr. Chris, 4/2017