Adoration in Thanksgiving

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I looked only for an eternal heart that I could always find in life, in death, and Our Lord alone is this Eternal Heart.   -Mother Marie Ste Claire Bouillevaux

France has long been called “The Eldest Daughter of the Church” because she was the first nation founded by barbarians to accept Christianity after the Roman Empire fell. We know there were Christians in France centuries before Clovis, King of the Franks, was baptized on Christmas day in 496, but his acceptance of Catholicism would shape the history of Europe from then on, leading eventually to Charlemagne, and the Holy Roman Empire.  Most of the other Germanic tribes at the time had been infected by the rampant Arian heresy, so we can thank God (and his wife St. Clotilde) for Clovis’ acceptance of Catholicism, for the history of Christendom might have looked very different had he also embraced heresy.

Despite the demonic horrors of the Masonic French Revolution, which would sweep France some 1,300 years after Clovis’ baptism, spilling the blood of so many Catholics, the Church in France has been a fruitful branch, bearing the beautiful and fragrant flowers of so many saints and religious orders.  The roots of our own religious order, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, trace back to Paris, where we were founded in 1854 by Mother Marie de Ste. Claire Bouillevaux and Fr. Bonaventure Heurlat, a Capuchin priest.

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 3.08.38 PMJoséphine Bouillevaux, who was, providentially, born on the Feast of Corpus Christi in Maizières-lès-Brienne, was raised in a devout family, devoted to the Holy Eucharist.  The parish Curé, Fr. Jean-Baptiste Heurlat, who had founded a school in Maizieres, also felt called to begin an order of nuns who would be attached to his parish.  Knowing that Joséphine, a teacher at the school, desired to lead a contemplative life, he began to form her and the other teachers in the religious life, helping them to live according to a common rule.

Joséphine had been inspired by the Gospel account of the ten lepers in Luke.  After healing ten men afflicted with leprosy, only one of them returned to thank Our Lord.  Her heart was pierced by this ingratitude, and the words of Jesus, “Were not ten made clean?  Where are the other nine?,” lead her to say, “Is it not right then that His Eucharistic love should be glorified by unremitting thanksgiving?”.  This guiding principle would later be evidenced in the motto of our order: Deo Gratias Per Jesum In Sanctissimo Sacramento!  Thanks be to God through Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament!

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 3.08.47 PMFollowing the call to ever greater perfection, Fr. Jean-Baptiste entered the Capuchins, taking the name Bonaventure.  Before his entrance, he told the Father General of his desire to found a religious community of nuns, and was given the support of his future superior in achieving this goal.  He was invested in the Capuchin habit in 1851, and one year later received the vows of Joséphine Bouillevaux as a Third Order Franciscan, giving her the name Sister Marie de Sainte Claire.

On December 8, 1854, the day of the Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Sister Marie de Sainte Claire placed her spiritual projects, desires, hopes and fears under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She also confided to Mary all her daughters present and future by an act of consecration; this marked the official beginning of our Order. One week later, on December 15, octave of the Immaculate Conception, Father Bonaventure invested the first four postulants in the Franciscan habit. Mother Marie de Sainte Claire, as Foundress and, at age 34, the oldest in the house, was named Superior.   (source)

Troyes Monastery PCPATwo years later the newborn order was transferred to the city of Troyes (providentially, this city was the birthplace of Pope Urban IV, who had established the feast of Corpus Christi as an official feast day of the Church in the 13th century).  That same year, 1856, permission was granted for perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, which the order has continued ever since.  In 1899, having received official approbation as a religious order from Pope Leo XIII, the community was established as a Congregation of Pontifical Right, with the privilege of solemn vows.

From France, this Franciscan vine spread throughout the world, and today we have monasteries in Poland, Austria, Germany, the US, India, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan.  The love of Jesus in the Eucharist is a fragrant flower which spreads its sweet scent across the world.  We pray that our life of adoration in a spirit of reparative thanksgiving continues to bring grace to the world and all who live in it, whom we lift up to God in prayer each day.

On this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception we gratefully recall that the Most Pure Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 3.16.18 PMVirgin is not only our Mother, but also our model, protectress and guide.  Each sister of our order receives a new name at her investiture in the habit, and this always include some form of Mary.  As the adorer and contemplative par excellence, we turn to her in everything, and she teaches us to remain faithful and close to Jesus in all things.  We are privileged to begin here on earth, what we will spend eternity doing in heaven: adoring and contemplating God.  In our tabernacle, He is hidden, but in eternity we shall finally see him Face to face.

Adoremus in Aeternum, Sanctissium Sacramentum.

 

Let us adore unto eternity the most Holy Sacrament!

Prayers for Paris

9190483_f520As more details unfold from Paris, we pray for those who have been killed in the terror attacks, for those injured, and for all who are suffering.

Prayer for Victims of Terrorism

Loving God,
Welcome into your arms the victims of violence and terrorism.
Comfort their families and all who grieve for them.
Help us in our fear and uncertainty,
And bless us with the knowledge that we are secure in your love.
Strengthen all those who work for peace,
And may the peace the world cannot give reign in our hearts.  Amen.

In 1638, King Louis XIII consecrated himself, his family and the nation of France to Our Lady of the Assumption, as a way to thank her in advance for the birth of an heir to the throne (his wife was two months pregnant at the time, and she did give birth to a son, the future Louis XIV).  Here is part of the royal edict consecrating France to Our Lady: Continue reading

Real Men Wear Red

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.03.09 PMToday marks the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Our Lord appeared in the 17th century.  Although devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had already been revealed to St. Gertrude centuries before, it is almost always thought of in conjunction with today’s saint.

This devotion to the Sacred Heart is not something that belongs to the past.  Like Our Lord Himself, it is outside of time, and it is still quite relevant today.   Most interesting is the devotion in connection with religious persecution.

What are we talking about?

On June 17, 1689 Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary saying that He wanted the King of France (Louis XIV) to consecrate himself and the nation to “my adorable Heart.  It wants to triumph over his and, through him, over the hearts of the great ones of the earth. It wants to reign in his palace, be painted on his standards, and engraved on his arms, so that they may be victorious over all his enemies. It wants to bring low these proud and stubborn heads and make him triumphant over all the enemies of holy Church.”

Regrettably for France, and the rest of the world, Louis XIV did not consecrate his kingdom to Our Lord’s Sacred Heart. Nor did his son. Nor did his grandson – until it was too late.  Exactly 100 years to the day that our Lord gave this message to St. Margaret Mary, the National Assembly stripped Louis XVI of his power.  Less than four years later he met his fate at the guillotine.  The night before his execution he consecrated France to the Sacred Heart, but the enemies of the Church were already well on their way to triumph.

How different might things have been if Our Lord’s request had been heeded.  Despite the lack of confidence those three kings apparently had in Our Lord, there have been many faithful who have painted the Sacred Heart on their standards and engraved It on their arms.  The Vendean army  in France, the Cristeros in Mexico, and the Catholic Carlists during the Spanish Civil War, all wore badges of the Sacred Heart of Jesus into battle.

As many in America grow more and more intolerant of Christianity let us entrust ourselves and our beloved nation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  During our time in this vale of tears we must hold fast to the promise He made to St. Margaret Mary: “Fear nothing, I will reign in spite of my enemies.”