Echoes of the first part of our session at our Mother House -Angers.
It was a real joy to have begun our Session with The Model of Leadership of St. John Eudes by Sr. Francoise Le Brizaut. Her presentation has brought St. John Eudes close to us; a really human father, full of realism, active, tenacious, whose character was at times authoritarian but yet knowing how to collaborate with others. As God was the centre of his life, he allowed himself to be guided by the Word as well as by the advice of persons imbued with the spirit of the Gospel. All this in order to form Jesus in his heart and so become the saint whom we are honouring today.
We had been aware of the call of St. John Eudes , a call to portray our true name “ Sisters of Our Lady of Charity” so that our communities should really be visible signs of that charity which is at the heart of our community life.
For St. John Eudes the Mission of Our Lady of Charity is to imitate the charity in the heart of Jesus and in the heart of Mary. To put love at the heart of our specific Mission is most pleasing to God because nothing is so dear to His Heart as the salvation of persons. To make our life an immense garden of charity by a life filled with the Divine Presence which is a constant expression of charity.
“ If I have all the eloquence of persons or of angels….. If I speak without love I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.
We have felt through reading certain passages of his writings that he incorporated the Word of God into his daily life. John Eudes was a man of prayer, one who listened, and a man that showed immense love. This is the heritage he has left to us his children.
The teachings presented by Sr. Anne Josephine Carr showed St. Mary Euphrasia as a woman of great Faith, her courage never faltered when faced with difficulties. She teaches us that being a leader does not necessarily imply knowing everything, but before all else to welcome knowledge as a divine gift. Leadership as well as being a gift demands of us realism and humility. This of course demands of us an openness both towards ourselves as well as towards others in discerning our true motivation in assuming leadership roles. This invites us to have a humble and honest spirit , recognising and accepting our limitations and faults. Mary Euphrasia accepted the support of her spiritual guide, Father Alleron ,who reproached her of an excessive sensitiveness in leadership. For our part, we too are called to have confidence in persons who could help us in this great responsibility since the future and the life of our Congregation is in our hands. We should act with discernment and wisdom, not in fear of newness but in our role as leader to know how to discern the signs of the times.
The testimony of pardon and mercy given by St. Mary Euphrasia towards Mgr. Angebault and also towards Mother Mary of St. Mechtilde challenge us in this Year of Mercy to imitate her spirit of forgiveness and of mercy.
The links that both St. John Eudes and St. Mary Euphrasia formed with lay partners testify to their openness of spirit in sharing the Charism with others and in receiving from them the support needed for God’s work to grow throughout the whole world.
With our Contemplative Sisters we felt that intercession is at the heart of their life. We too all are called to live that contemplative aspect in our relation with our Saviour in order that our Apostolate bear abundant fruit for the glory of God.
We found the sharing of the different language groups most edifying and enriching as also the reflexions and sharing of the provinces singly or in community, a sharing which opened our eyes to the socio-political realities of the different countries and localities. We feel challenged to show increased interest in the socio-political realities in our countries.
“Full of joy as we walk in the footsteps of St. John Eudes”
The pilgrimage to Caen was for us a great grace, a moment of resolve. It was a joy to walk in the footsteps of St. John Eudes, to touch the soil of his birth place, the spot where he grew up, and where later he traversed far and wide announcing and preaching the Gospel message.. Our hearts were full of gratitude, of immense joy to be privileged to tread the soil of our father, John Eudes and of our first sisters. This visit enabled us to better appropriate our history , and it left in us a thirst to deepen our Spirituality as Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd.
Article written by the French speaking group Rimoa Meeting