Written on: October 16, 2018
Following is a yearly tradition from our President, a letter written to the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, encouraging them as they walk in the footsteps of their Foundress, Saint Marguerite d’Youville. Although written specifically for the Congregation, the words of Sister Denise Roche are meaningful to all who desire to live a life of deeper meaning, and to also walk in the footsteps of St. Marguerite d’Youville, the first native-born Canadian to be declared a Saint.
Once again it is time for us to celebrate the feast of our beloved foundress, Saint Marguerite d’Youville. As I reflect on her feast this year, I am most aware that, at this time in our Congregation’s history, we reflect Marguerite’s mission more closely than ever before.
Her compassion for the poor and inclusion of everyone in need of her refuge are an example to us all of the situations that are our surroundings now.
Unlike us, Marguerite never had a Motherhouse in which to live, but surrounded herself with others in need of her gracious hospitality and loving care. She found resourceful ways to attend to their needs, while never refusing to welcome more people into her place of safety and healing.
Marguerite seemed filled with a love of God and all of God’s children which gave her a new energy to face new and challenging obstacles which arose with great frequency. The difficulties which faced her, even in her older years did not deter her from her mission.
Now, at this time, the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart have been called to leave behind a place and time of familiarity and move into a new era in our lives and in the life of the Congregation, even as we age and our physical abilities diminish.
Like Marguerite, we are being asked to share our life and our hospitality with others who are also facing hardships in their own lives and who often find comfort from a caring person whose faith and trust in our loving God brings peace and comfort to their own lives.
Often, we focus on what Marguerite did and certainly her determination and tireless commitment to all those in need is an example to be followed. But, sometimes the underlying affection and spirit which inspired her to achieve all that she did are not recognized by those who are familiar with her life.
Yet, it was her overwhelming love for a providential God that caused her to recognize the pains and loneliness of others and spend herself tirelessly to let them experience the love which she believed God extends to us all.
Let us ask that this same generous love inspire us this year as we celebrate our beloved Marguerite on her feast and let us determine, though our lives are changing, that we will continue, wholeheartedly, to follow her example of love leading to service.
Sr. Denise Roche, GNSH
Here is a link to the Feast Day Liturgy Reflection.