Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Do You Believe in Coincidence? I don't!

Mother Adele Garnier with
the Basilica of Sacre Coeur
in the background
We've had two deaths in our parish lately of two mothers/grandmothers and I decided to write cards today offering Masses for the repose of their souls tucking in a copy of a newsletter I get from an abbey in France, Saint-Joseph de Clairval. The inspiring little document always features a saint or blessed or holy man or woman. Many I've never heard of, but delight in being introduced to them.  The one I picked up first today spoke to me profoundly because of its focus on suffering and the encouragement to offer them in reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The newsletter (dated April 12, 2015, I save them all) was dedicated to Mother Adele Garnier, a 19th century sister born in the Diocese of Dijon, France in 1838 who was deeply devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was instrumental in starting perpetual adoration at the Basilica of Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, in Paris.

During a long period of illness, she went to Lourdes and was inspired to offer the society she hoped to found to adoration in "reparation to the Heart of Jesus, under the protection of Mary Immaculate." As she wrote to Cardinal Guibert, the archbishop of Paris:

In this France that He loves and where it has pleased Him to reveal the torrents of love and mercy of which the Holy Eucharist is at once the ocean and the canal, does [Jesus] not wait for souls, the objects of His special mercies, to unite themselves with Him, consecrating themselves forever to prayer of reparation at the foot of His altar, obtaining through their humble supplications a reduction in the rate of sacrileges and a lessening of the contagious spread of indifference and forgetfulness?"
The building of the basilica hadn't even begun, but Adele already had the vision of perpetual adoration which would begin August 1, 1885 and continues to this day uninterrupted. Despite many trials including exile in London during an anti-clerical period in France, Mother Adele persevered. Her fledgling society located at Tyburn where many English martyrs died and later back in Paris near the basilica.

What particularly struck me reading Mother Adele's story was a section on suffering taken from St. John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Salvifici Doloris:
The redeemer suffered in place of man and for man....Each one is...called to share i that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed.... Faith in sharing in the suffering of Christ brings with it the interior certainty that the suffering person completes what is lacking in Christ's afflictions (cf. Col. 1:24); the certainty that in the spiritual dimension of the work of Redemption he is serving, like Christ, the salvation of his brothers and sisters. Therefore he is carrying out an irreplaceable service. In the Body of Christ, which is ceaselessly born of the Cross of the Redeemer, it is precisely suffering permeated by the spirit of Christ's sacrifice that is the irreplaceable mediator and author of the good things which are indispensable for the world's salvation.
Abbaye Saint-Joseph de Clairval
in Flavigny-Sur-Ozerain, France
In her last agony which lasted from October 1922 until her death on June 17, 1924, Mother Adele was only rarely able to attend Mass. Nevertheless, she was able to say, "I believe that I will be cheerful up to the final moment!" That reminds me of my own mother who was smiling and joking in the last few days before her death in 2002. Mother Adele offered her sufferings "so that all nations might become Catholic." What a world that would be! Of course before that, we need to pray that all Catholics would become Catholic.

Let it be so, Lord! And please give us all the grace we need to endure our sufferings in reparation for the sins against your Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Finally, as Mother Adele and her sisters ended their congregation's little rule: "Amen, Alleluia!"

No comments:

Post a Comment