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“HAVE COURAGE” – ST JOAN ANTIDE-THOURET

“[On]  24th August, one of the saints remembered by the Church is St Joan Antide-Thouret. She was born in France in 1755 and lived at a time of great change during the French Revolution but this did not stop St Joan from living the life and vocation that she wanted.

A time of great change during the French Revolution

At the age of sixteen, after her mother had died, St Joan looked after her father in the village of Besancon. However, in 1787 she felt called by God to enter the Sisters of Charity at Paris. There two serious illnesses interrupted her religious training and in 1794, due to the turmoil around them, the sisters had to disperse.

Due to the turmoil, the sisters had to disperse

St Joan returned to her hometown and ran a school for the village children. When political conditions improved the local Vicar General invited St Joan to open a bigger school and, after some reluctance due to her feeling inadequate, this was achieved in April 1799. Six months later St Joan added a soup kitchen and a dispensary.

In obedience to her Bishop

Some critics denounced her for not returning to her original community of sisters. She countered this by saying that she had not yet taken religious vows and was now acting in obedience to her Bishop. St Joan also ran a female asylum at Belleveaux, which housed orphans, criminals, the homeless and women with mental illness. She and others laboured there in the asylum under hopeless conditions, and opponents again criticised her for undertaking this work.

Let’s despise the world and its false gods. Let’s despise its honours. In vain would we seek our happiness in them.

However, St Joan pressed on with this work, encouraging others with her example and writings. In one letter to a fellow worker she wrote: ‘How are you? Still holding on firmly to the handles of the plough? Is the ground hard and dry? Is the corn growing well? The weeds not stifling it? If so, dig out the weeds with a hoe, without damaging the corn. Have courage. The good corn of the elect will ripen and will nourish you for eternal life. Prune the vine well. You will drink the good wine in long draughts in paradise. But to merit this happiness, let’s not tire of fighting during this exile. Let’s despise the world and its false gods. Let’s despise its honours. In vain would we seek our happiness in them. It will benefit us greatly to receive nothing from the world but ingratitude and opposition. This will detach us from it and attach us closely to God alone. You face many troubles in serving these poor people entrusted to you. I am sure that you do so from charity and the love of God.’

This will detach us from the world and attach us closely to God alone.

By 1810 St Joan’s community had spread to Switzerland, Savoy and Naples, where St Joan had gone to administer a hospital. In 1819 the Pope approved this order as the Daughters of Charity. St Joan died in Naples in 1826. She is an inspiration to those of us who wish to do the work of God whilst fighting against opposition, misunderstanding, criticism, feeling inadequate and the pettiness of others. St Joan did it and so can we.”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/2015

 

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HOW TO BECOME A RELIGIOUS SISTER (CATHOLIC NUN)

“From discovering a community to taking the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience

Religious sisters are called by God to live a special life as brides of Christ in service to the Church. Because becoming a religious sister is a serious commitment, there are several stages in the process:

1. “Come and See”

A time of visiting various religious orders to learn about them, meet the sisters, and explore different charisms. At this time, a woman feels called to religious life, but doesn’t know which order to join.

2. Aspirancy/Pre-Candidacy

When a woman feels called to a particular religious order, she starts the application process. While in application, she is called an ‘aspirant’ because she aspires to join the order.

3. Postulancy/Candidacy

When a woman’s application has been accepted, she joins the day-to-day prayer and work of the order, albeit in an exploratory way. She learns more about the sisters, and begins formation, perhaps taking classes in theology and scripture. This is a time of further discernment. Length can vary depending on the person and the order.

4. Novitiate

At this stage a woman is called a ‘novice’ because she is new to the order. For a period of about two years, the novice lives the life of the order in nearly every way and continues formation. This period is analogous to being engaged; the dating is over and now she is moving toward making vows.

5. Vows

When a woman and the community feel sure about her call, she vows poverty, chastity, and obedience, which together are called the ‘evangelical counsels.’ In most orders (though not all), members profess perpetual vows after a period of three or more years after they first take vows. Note that while the process of formation is similar, each religious community has its own particular nuances. It’s best to ask the vocation director of a particular order about their process.”

– From the leaflet: “Archdiocese of Southwark, Vocations” – web address, further reading: http://www.southwarkvocations.com (external link).

 

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DO YOU CRAVE FOR A RADICAL CHANGE OF YOUR LIFE? ARE YOU CALLED TO BE A CATHOLIC NUN? – “THE WHOLE WORLD IS DESOLATE BECAUSE NO ONE REFLECTS IN THEIR HEART” (JER 12:11)

ARE YOU CALLED TO LIFE IN THE COMMUNITY OF THE CHRISTIAN RETREAT?

“The Christian Retreat was founded in 1789 by Fr Anthony Sylvester Receveur. In an age when faith and moral values were in decline, he offered ordinary people a means of drawing close to God. Through practising meditation and making a spiritual retreat, their lives were transformed.”

LIKE THE EARLY CHRISTIANS, WE HAVE LEFT EVERYTHING FOR JESUS CHRIST

“The house of prayer is ecumenical and welcomes Christians of all denominations and people of good will.”

“Today we witness an even greater breakdown in society, resulting in loss of faith, disorientation, loneliness and fear: Meditation and spiritual retreats are as relevant and as needed in the 21st century as they were in the 18th.

IF YOU KNEW THE GIFT OF GOD (Jn 4:10).

Today our life is CHALLENGING US to follow Jesus and to listen to his Word.

• “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6).

“The Word of God is never ambiguous. It speaks to the heart of every person whom God calls to solitude and retreat, and who listens to His voice” (Fr Anthony Receveur).

WE CENTRE OUR LIFE ON THE WORD OF GOD
• THROUGH Prayer Meditation Worship
• BY Witness Teaching Evangelisation
• IN Truth and friendship Justice and solidarity Peace and harmony

• “We have no other plan for the Christian Retreat than the simple plan of the Gospel” (Fr Anthony Receveur).

Today our life is RADICAL. It challenges worldly values.

“Whoever would come after me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me” (Lk 9:23).

BACK TO BASICS

“The Spirit of the Christian Retreat is opposed to the spirit of the world. We find it in retreat, silence and meditation, in lives directed towards God and towards Jesus Crucified” (Fr Anthony Redeveur).

THE RADICALITY OF OUR LIFE redefines the values of the world in the light of the Gospel. “Our Congregation’s motto of ‘All by the Cross’ calls us to enter the Paschal Mystery of life, death and resurrection. We strive towards conversion of heart and a deeper love.

In answer to the call of God to serve:

• I AM VULNERABLE

• I AM OPEN

• I AM AUTHENTIC

• I AM JUST

Today our life is DIFFERENT.

Our business is THE CARE OF SOULS.

We live in a world thirsting for meaning, for love, for peace, ultimately FOR GOD. In our Congregation, we reach out to people who feel they are spiritually rootless and have lost the true meaning of their lives. For their sake:

• I AM PRESENT

• I AM STRONG

• I AM FAITHFUL

• I AM FRIEND

“Like the early Christians, we have left everything for Jesus Christ. We have one heart and mind and form a single family” (Fr Anthony Receveur).

Achievement, wealth and pursuit of pleasure are the focus of many lives today. Religious life has different values: • Celibacy: the total gift of ourselves to God and a life of love and companionship with our Sisters; Poverty: recognising our dependence on God and one another • Obedience: listening and discerning the will of God. • “Desire each day more intensely to please Him who alone can satisfy your heart” • “Confidence in Divine Providence gives us courage and joy, it is an inexhaustible treasure” • “We imitate Jesus in His obedience to the Father” (Fr Anthony Receveur).

Phone/ write to: Sr Anne Dunne (East Molesey, Surrey, near London) : info@christian-retreat.org ; phone: +44 (0) 20 8941 2313 or Sr Margaret Buckley (Co: Galway, Ireland): 00353 90 96 79 311. ” Web: http://www.christian-retreat.org (external link).

 
 

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HOW YOU CAN BUILD YOUR VERY OWN CHAPEL FOR THE HEART OF JESUS

“St Margaret M. Alacoque, the beloved apostle and confidante of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, always strove with great zeal to make loved this Heart, insulted by the souls who were the closest to her. At the end of her term as Mistress of novices, she left to her beloved daughters this little text; a true inheritance of her soul, ardent with divine love.

A CHAPEL FOR JESUS

‘I believe that you are unable to give to the Heart of Jesus a more certain and pleasing proof of love than by giving hospitality to Him in the edifice of your heart, which He Himself has constructed.

THROWING OUT ALL IDOLS

Firstly, though, you are to rid yourself of all the idols which you have adored for so long, such as pride, your own will and any attachment to the things of this world.

CLEARING THE SITE

And after having driven out all the enemies of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from this “chapel” (because this in fact is what you should call your hearts), you are to clean and purify it from every impurity, eliminating every passion and inclination which has not already been mortified.

LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS

Having done this, you are to lay down the ‘carpet’ of purity of intention, which consists in doing everything to please Him. Then, by means of profound humility, you are to lay down the foundations of His ‘throne’ which you will then raise up to allow the Sacred Heart to reign.

VARIOUS ORNAMENTS

The ‘ornaments’ of this throne are to be rich and precious, just as He deserves, and such that you will be able to procure them in a holy way.
GOLD OF HOLY LOVE

The first must be all gold, a symbol of holy love, which will bring you so far forward in. His friendship as to induce Him to give Himself completely to you, as the Bridegroom to the bride, to whom He will lovingly declare: ‘All that is mine is yours and all that is yours is mine, because love creates union.

AZURE OF SWEETNESS

The second ornament is to be the azure of sweetness, which will permit you to converse with Him as loved ones with their beloved, in the most sublime effusion of love, manifesting to each other their sentiments.

BLACK ORNAMENT

The third ornament will be the black of a true mortification of the senses.

GREEN ORNAMENT

The fourth is to be the green of hope and faith in His loving goodness, as that of children towards their father who will never abandon them, so long as they do not abandon him.

VIOLET ORNAMENT

The fifth will be the violet of profound silence, which you will obtain by eliminating every useless word and comment and which will permit you to adore Him in silence as your King.

Therefore, from time to time, you will be able to choose one of these attitudes according to your desire.

THE PAVEMENT, THE LAMP AND THE BELL

The ‘pavement’ of this chapel is to be love of humiliations.

The ‘lamp’ or ‘torch’ which you must always keep alight, is the love for this divine Heart, which you will furnish with the wick and oil of good works.

The ‘bell’ will be generous faithfulness which is to gather together all your spiritual faculties, so as to be able to render continuous homage.

THE CEILING

The ‘ceiling’ will be painted with the blue of a holy serenity and interior peace, which will keep you constantly unperturbed in the midst of the daily happenings and always conformed to the will of the Lord.

THE DOOR

The ‘door’ of the chapel will be a cross, to highlight that all those who will enter there will be crucified, because before reigning in glory, it is necessary first to reign on the cross.

THE HINGES

The ‘hinges’ which sustain the door will be made of submission and obedience, in such a way that you will be ever prompt to suffer and do whatever you must do.

THE LOCK, THE KEY, THE DOORKEEPER

The ‘door lock’ will be: ‘I want to suffer without complaining, because the Heart of Jesus does not allow me to be afraid of anything.

The ‘key’ will be steadfast perseverance in the love and service of this most lovable Heart.

The ‘doorkeeper’ will be the presence of God, Who permits nothing to enter which may in any way dirty or, worse, profane this holy chapel.

CRYSTAL WINDOWS

The ‘windows’ will be fortified by the crystal of true and sincere simplicity, through which will filter the light of a living faith, that will make you seek God only for love of Him alone and to do all for the greater glory of the Sacred Heart, without stopping at tastes and spiritual consolations, but thanking God for all in the same manner.

This is the way in which to construct the holy chapel which the Sacred Heart desires you to make within yourself.'”
– From “De Vita Contemplativa” Year VII – Number 6 June 2013

 
 

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