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Blessed Imelda Lambertini—This eleven-year-old became the Patroness of First Communicants

Blessed Imelda                                                nobility.org

By Larry Peterson

Some children exhibit a  spirituality that is so powerful that they become an actual phenomenon. However, unlike child prodigies, it is not their mental capabilities that transcend the norm. Rather, it is a  connection with God Himself that takes them to a place reserved only for them. Imelda Lambertini was one of those chosen as God’s messenger. And she began doing God’s work when she was only five years old.

Imelda was born in Bologna in the year 1322 and was an only child. Her father, Count Egano Lambertini and his wife, Castora, were devout Catholics. Count Egano was well respected and was known for his ongoing charity, especially to the poor and downtrodden in the city of Bologna. When Imelda was baptized, she was given the name, Magdalen.

Magdalen grew and was inspired by both of her parents who told her stories about Jesus and Mary and of the saints. They instructed her in the faith, and her mother had a particular devotion to the souls in Purgatory. Magdalen prepared a place for herself in her room where she could pray. She wanted to think about the Child Jesus as much as she could.

On her fifth birthday, she asked if she could receive Holy Communion. At that time a child could not receive until they attained the age of 14. Magdalen, accepting the emptiness she felt,  would have to wait.

When Magdalen was nine years old, she already had a deep desire to live in a convent. Her love for Jesus was unmatched and all she could think about was that the best thing a person could do was to save their own soul. She desperately wanted to live in a place of prayer where she could just focus on loving Jesus. She began pleading with her parents to let her join a convent.

Interestingly, in those days, it was not uncommon for parents to allow their children who professed a desire to become a religious person, to allow them to move into a place of prayer and worship. Magdalen was granted her wish by her parents and moved into the convent of St. Mary Magdalen, outside Bologna.

Young Magdalen seemed much too young to wear the Dominican habit but she pleaded with the sisters so passionately they gave in. She was filled with joy when they gave her the habit and began calling her Sister Imelda.

Nine-year-old Sister Imelda began to immediately devote herself to prayer and penance. Even though a child she worked so hard at obeying the order’s rules and doing the right thing.  She became a role model for many of the sisters that lived with her. Sister Imelda found a corner in the rear of the convent garden and built a small replica of Calvary there. She would go there and meditate on the sufferings of-of Jesus. The one thing that Sister Imelda longed for more than anything was to be united with Jesus through Holy Communion. She even asked the other sisters,  “how is it possible to receive Jesus into one’s heart and not to die?”

God’s plan for Sister Imelda Magdalen came to fruition on May 12, 1333. The little nun was eleven years old. She knelt alone in the corner of the choir watching as the other sisters received Holy Communion. She wanted to receive Communion so desperately that she was praying and weeping. She remained where she was as Mass ended and watched as the nuns and priest left the chapel.

The nuns who were on their way out suddenly smelled a beautiful fragrance. Following the aroma, they headed back to the chapel and, to their amazement, saw a brightly lit Host hovering above Imelda’s head. The nuns hurried to get the priest.

Still vested,  Father returned and saw the miraculous sight. He held the paten and knelt in adoration before the vision. As he knelt the Host slowly descended onto the paten. Father knew what to do. He gave the Host to Sister Imelda who, at that moment, received her First Holy Communion. Incredibly, the love and joy that was felt by the young nun was too much for her. Upon receiving Communion, she closed her eyes and died, filled with her Savior and His love.

Sister Imelda Magdalen was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1826. She has been declared the patroness of First Communicants.

Blessed Imelda, please pray for us all.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

A Cold Front in May? If so, blame the Ice Saints.

Ice Saints                                                               en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

The following three saints are known as the Ice Saints.  Their names are St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, and St. Servatius.

  • Mamertus was the bishop who introduced us to the days of prayer and fasting known as Rogation Days. He died in 475 A.D.
  • Pancras is a much-loved boy saint (especially in Europe) who was beheaded in the year 313 during the persecution of Christians under the emperor, Diocletian. He was only fourteen years of age yet refused to reject his Christianity. He paid the ultimate price.
  • Lastly, there is St. Servatius who was Bishop of Tongeren (now the Netherlands). Early biographies of Servatius suggest he was born in Armenia and was a cousin to John the Baptist. It followed that made him a distant cousin of Jesus (This is not documented). He died in 384 A.D.

These three saints have their feast days on May 11, May 12, and May 13; respectively. So why are they known as the Ice Saints?  The reason is as obvious as it seems; it is because of the weather. What follows may be true but more than likely it is documented folklore with millions of believers.

Most of this has to do with Northern Europe. In that part of the world, the month of April can have quite a few days that are warm and sunny. Then along comes the month of May. Slowly but surely, as the days move on, the temperatures begin to drop. There is an extra onslaught of biting cold, wind, and rain and people have to turn on their heat and start wearing sweaters again.

This ongoing weather anomaly in Europe has a long history and is called “Eisheligen.” This refers to the period in May when, according to the stories told by farmers, the weather is much too unstable to plant crops. Why would mid-May be too early to plant? Because of the danger of frost. Many folks thought this was a bit ridiculous, but most farmers did not. Planting did not start until after “Eisheligen.”

This whole business of the Ice Saints began when students of Galileo examined weather documents and realized that the days from May11 thru May 13 often brought a spell of cold weather. This weather invariably caused frost which would be the last frosts of spring.

In Germany, the legend of the Ice Saints led people to believe that there were special “iron nights” which was prone to frost but they confused them with dates ten days apart from the others. They believed the dates were from May 22 thru May 24.  Their mistake was they failed to take into account the change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar in 1582. The change caused ten days to be removed. Therefore the dates moved to May 11th  thru the 13th.

So as it happens, Saints Mamertus, Pancras (aka Pancratius) and Servatius, are mostly known as the Ice Saints. Their individuality has been compromised by the legend. There is a proverb in England  that says, “Ne’er cast a clout til May be out.” A “clout” was clothes, and the saying simply meant “don’t take your clothes off until the end of May.

Ironically, scientists have been unable to determine if the legendary weather patterns actually cause frost in May. No matter, even with all the kerfuffle over climate change, when the month of May comes around, most Europeans will still talk about the Ice Saints.

Saints Mamertus, Pancras (Pancratius), and  Servatius were real people and are venerated saints. In fact, there is a Major Shrine dedicated to St. Pancras in Rome and a Major Shrine at the Basilica of St. Servatius, located in the Netherlands.

We humbly ask the Ice Saints to pray for us all.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Saint Marie of the Incarnation—the “Mother of the Catholic Church in Canada”

Marie of the Incarnation                                                  en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Marie Guyart was born on October 28, 1599, in Tours, France. By the time Marie was fourteen, she had already asked her parents if she could enter the convent. In her book, The Jesuit Relation, written in 1654, she wrote that she had experienced a visit from Jesus when she was seven years old. She wrote that Jesus had come to her, reached out, put His arms around her, and hugging her said, “Do you wish to belong to Me?”

She says she told Him loudly, “YES!” Marie also wrote in her book, that from that point forward she could only think of “Goodness.”

Although Marie constantly spoke of becoming a religious, her parents betrothed her to a man named Claude Martin. When she was eighteen, Marie did as her folks wanted and married him. The couple had a son but Claude died when the boy was only six months of age. Marie was twenty. The year was 1919 and Marie was suddenly a young widow with a baby to raise.

She then moved in with her sister and her husband, Paul Buisson. Paul owned a thriving transportation business, and Marie began working for him. She possessed great organizational skills and soon took over management of the Buisson business. However, over the ensuing ten years, her primary focus and desire were always to enter the spiritual life.

Marie’s intense desire to become a religious was always present.  When Claude Jr. became a teenager, she began making plans to enter the Ursuline order. Marie’s sister was willing to raise the young man as her own. Marie was heartbroken to leave young Claude, but she believed that he would be better off with a father figure in his life. Paul treated the boy as his own son, and her sister loved him dearly. Those factors sealed her decision to become a nun.

Marie joined the Ursuline order in 1632. She received the name of Mother Marie of the Incarnation. It was sometime during 1636 that Mother Marie had a vision of a beautiful place filled with mountains and forests and beautiful lakes.  She was told that this place was  Canada, and she was supposed to go there and build a house for Jesus. It took her several years, but she managed to raise the necessary funds.

Mother Marie garnered the support of the Jesuits.  She was given the charter to establish centers in New France (Canada) by none other than Louis XII.  On April 3, 1639, she and two other Ursulines, set sail for land she had never seen but only dreamed of.

They arrived in Quebec on August 1, 1639. Mother Marie and her companions immediately set about doing missionary work by attending to the many Indian people in the area. Soon several more Ursuline nuns joined them, and the nuns moved into a small house donated to them for use as a convent. By 1642 the nuns had managed to have a permanent stone building built.  It became the first school in Canada and was known as the Ursuline Monastery of Quebec.  (Today the building is one of  the National Historic Sites of Canada).

Mother Marie’s unique management skills enabled her to organize the new school and convent into a functional and efficient operation. There were Iroquois, Algonquin, Montagnais, and Ouendat natives in the area and Mother Marie worked with the Jesuits and learned their languages even writing dictionaries in all the languages. Slowly but surely women began joining the order.

Ten years after Marie had entered the Ursuline order, her son, Claude,  became a Benedictine monk. Mother and son kept in frequent contact, and when Marie left for Canada, they kept up a regular correspondence with each other and this continued for more than thirty years. Mother Marie of the Incarnation passed away on April 30, 1672.

She had spent 33 years in the Canadain wilderness. Claude wrote a biography of his mom. In it he wrote, “Her zeal for the salvation of souls, and especially for the conversion of the Indians, was great and so universal that she seemed to carry them all in her heart. We cannot doubt that, by her prayers, she greatly called down God’s many blessings upon this new-born Church.”

Mother Marie of the Incarnation is recognized as one of the primary reasons Catholicism grew and flourished in Canada. There is even a statue in her honor standing in front of the Quebec parliament.

Saint Marie of the Incarnation was canonized by Pope Francis on April 2, 2014. We ask her to please pray for us all.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

From Jehovah’s Witness to Catholic Priest an Interview with Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M.the man who made that Journey

Father Daniel Bowen O. de M. orderofmercy.org

By Larry Peterson

Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M., distinctly remembers how every Sunday when he was growing up his mom would take him and his two brothers to Kingdom Hall. Their mom was a Jehovah’s Witness, and this was their church. It was as far removed from the Catholic church as one could imagine.

Young Daniel believed in God but was filled with doubts. By the time he became a teenager, he had decided he had enough of “church” and told his mom he did not want to go anymore  His father told his wife that Daniel did not have to go if he did not want to. Daniel seized the moment and stopped going.  After all,  he came first—all else came second.

The years passed by and Daniel more or less forgot about God. Once in college, he became more self-absorbed about his own needs and what might make him happy. Then he met a Catholic girl named Lisa.

Lisa told Daniel that if he wanted to date her, he would have to go to Mass with her. He did, and he liked it. Then she introduced him to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. That was it. The young man, as the saying goes, was “hooked.”

Eventually, Daniel and Lisa took different life paths. The Holy Spirit had seized hold of Daniel Bowen and was not about to let go.  On August 15, 2015, the Solemnity of the Assumption, Daniel Bowen was ordained a priest. He now serves as Vocation Director for the Mercedarian Friars U.S.A.

You can find Father Daniel’s inspiring story HERE. It is a beautiful story of a man who took his leap of faith holding hands with the Holy Spirirt—ENJOY

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now let’s ask Father Daniel some questions:

(Interviewer’s questions in Bold:     Father Daniel is (Fr. D) responses in Italics)

When and how did you receive your call to become a priest? Was there a moment in time or an event when you heard the Holy Spirit calling you?

  • D: “People began to ask me the question: Did I ever think about being a priest. I hadn’t, and so I had to ask God about it. It took a few years to figure it out, and then seminary to figure it out the rest of the way. No man knows for sure until he is laying on the ground before a Bishop on the day of his ordination. It is totally a Holy Spirit thing, and prayer is an essential part of it all.”

 Tell me your number one reason for being a priest?

  • D: “To know, love and joyfully serve God, and to love my neighbor as myself. To be a servant to God’s servants. All for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”

What attracted you to the Mercedarians? (The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy)

  • D: “The Order was founded by the Blessed Virgin Mary, so this Marian aspect was most attractive to me. Also, the 4th vow, the Redemptive Vow, the willingness to lay down one’s life for another in danger of losing their faith – this “all in” aspect always spoke profoundly to my heart.”

 According to the General Rule Of Survey from the Univ. of Chicago, in 2015, among those 18 to 34 years old, 30 % do not have any religion at all. Many do not believe in God. Secularism seems to have infected many the world over. As the Vocation Director for the Mercedarians, your job must present quite the challenge. How is this going for you?

  • D: “I am still working on getting my wings, so to speak. Yes, it can be seen as a challenge, but I prefer to see it as an opportunity. God still calls people to Himself. Christ’s death and resurrection is completely relevant to every generation, even those who feel it does not need to apply to them. First is helping others know that our Lord, the God of love and mercy is real and necessary to live a life of complete fulfillment. To help them realize the Christian faith is about relationship – God’s desires us to be in an intimate relationship with Him. And then to facilitate an encounter with Him. Once men know this, then they can begin to find what the mission and plan that He has for their life. Could God be calling me to be a priest and/or a consecrated religious? And if the answer is yes, then one is best to find out if this is truly His calling, and if so acting on it.”

What advice would you give to a young person who is considering religious life?

  • D: “It is a great gift given by God to some, not all. It is a precious calling to be intimate with God and others in a way that no other lifestyle can match. It is a summons to love fully and without holding back. To proclaim boldly to our world that not only God exists, but He knows and loves us. That I am willing to forsake the goods of this life and world, in order to embrace, here and now, the blessing that God desires for us in heaven. My advice: Go for it!!! Do not be afraid, or put it off, go find out if this is God’s will for your life. If it is you will have the best life. If it is God’s will, then there will be a peace and deep, profound joy that will be under it all.”

 How do you, as a priest, deal with negativity about the Catholic Church in the media, when asked about it by a layperson?

  • D: “Some people were negative towards Jesus in His life here on earth. It is no different today. The Catholic Church is the body of Christ, yes there is a very human element, but there is also a divine element present here, that should not be so easily dismissed. For all her faults, and only the Lord knows why He permits them, the Church is the most charitable and truth-bearing place on the planet. She is the spouse of Christ, and so must be present to continue to bring Christ’s authentic presence, so that all generations may have the opportunity to encounter Him. Staying close to our Lord in prayer is key to keeping one’s head above water, especially when our faults are clearly manifested – keeping our hearts, minds, and souls on the Lord. Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

 What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?

  • D: “Helping others to believe that the faith is real, and then to fully surrender one’s life to it. Seeing people fall deeply and madly in love with our Lord, and seeing that transformation take place is most rewarding. Experiencing the good work our Lord is able to accomplish through people who desire Him to work in their lives is a beautiful blessing. Challenging is seeing those who fall away from the faith, or keep saying no to God, seeing the resulting destruction this does to that person and to others and knowing how much it hurts our Lord, this is challenging. But following Christ is a summons to love, and it is an invitation that one must be free to choose or reject. Otherwise, it really isn’t love is it?

Go here and listen to Father Daniel  discuss the kind of men  the Mercedarians are looking for

 THANK YOU Father Daniel for taking the time to do this interview. May God bless you as you move forward in your priestly ministry.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Sister Mary Ephrem—God’s ‘Little White Dove’ and the apparitions of Our Lady of America

Sr. Mary Ephrem Neuzil                                                              public domain

By Larry Peterson

Mildred Marie Neuzil was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on August 2, 1916. A few days later Mildred was baptized in Most Holy Trinity Church on Montrose St. in Brooklyn’s, Williamsburg section. Shortly after that, Mildred’s mom and dad moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Mildred’s dad, a home builder, had heard there was more opportunity in the Cleveland area and off they went.

There was a pronounced spirituality that surrounded Mildred. At the age of 14, she entered the religious congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, in Dayton, Ohio. When she was 17, she made her first vows as a professed religious and was given the name, Sister Mary Ephrem, a name that means “doubly fruitful.”

Sister Mary Ephrem’s duties were a combination of domestic chores and teaching kindergarten. When she was 21 years old, she was sent to work at the Chancery in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was here she would meet a holy man who would, as time went by, become her confessor and her mentor. He would also become an archbishop. His name was Father Paul Leibold. Neither of them had any idea of the special plans God had for each of them.

It was in 1940 when Sister Mary began receiving interior messages and revelations with specific detail and clarity. These messages were coming directly from Jesus and she was being told that her mission was going to be one that would help provide for the sanctification of the family. She began maintaining a diary and documenting all of these things.

One of the quotes taken from her diary was as follows; “Pray, pray, pray, oh My Little White Dove. Pray and sacrifice yourself for the souls of poor sinners. How many are lost because there are no prayers said for them, no sacrifices made for them.”

Jesus even gave Sister Mary a message for Father Leibold. He told her to tell him, “—not to become discouraged at the crosses awaiting him, for I the great High-Priest, go before him carrying the heaviest part of his cross—I seek only the humble and lowly of heart.”

It was after this message that she turned to Father Leibold for guidance. The priest had only been ordained a short time before. The year was 1940. He would be her confessor and her advisor until he died in 1972.

Before 1956, Sister Mary spent time in many different locations. She worked in Rome City, Indiana; Denver, Colorado; North Dakota; back to Cincinnati, and on to Ottawa, Ohio. Here she was visited by St. Michael the Angel of Peace to prepare her for what lie ahead. She was told that Satan would do everything to keep her from doing what Jesus wanted.

The Blessed Mother first appeared to Sister Mary Ephrem on September 25, 1956. She was wearing a blue mantle and a white robe like Our Lady of Lourdes. Our Lady gave Sister Mary a message which was a promise of  “great miracles of the soul” for her children in the United States if they would heed the call for repentance. She also expressed her pleasure in the fact that the American Catholic Church had dedicated a national shrine to her in Washington D.C.

The very next day, on September 26, Our Lady appeared to Sister Mary holding a lily in her right hand. She was dressed all in white without any decorations of any kind. Her veil was white and reached to her waist. Her mantle and robe were also pure white and a gold clasp held her mantle together. She wore a golden crown and her heart was encircled with roses and sending forth flames of fire. Sister Mary wrote that Our Lady said in a beautiful voice, “,I am Our Lady of America, I desire my children honor me by the purity of their lives.”

The Blessed Mother showed Sister Mary a medal she wanted to be struck honoring Our Lady of America. She gave a sketch of it to Bishop Leibold, and he had it made. He placed his Imprimatur on the sketch.

Raymond Cardinal Burke presented this letter to the USCCB in 2007: (see entire letter here)  What can be concluded canonically is that the devotion was both approved by Archbishop Leibold and, what is more, was actively promoted by him. Also, over the years, other Bishops have approved the devotion and have participated in public devotion to the Mother of God, under the title of Our Lady of America. 

 copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

St. Agnes of Montepulciano—St. Catherine of Siena called her, “Our Mother, the Glorious Agnes

St. Agnes of Montepulciano                                                   aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

The Dominican Order has five women who are canonized saints. The two best known are St. Catherine of Siena, the stigmatist and a Doctor of the Church, and St. Rose of Lima, the first woman canonized a saint from the Americas. The other three are St. Margaret of Hungary who became Empress of the Byzantine Empire, St. Catherine de Ricci, the stigmatist, and lastly, St. Agnes of Montepulciano.

St. Agnes, who may be the least known of the five, could be the most important among them. What tells us that is, it was St. Catherine of Siena, who knelt by Agnes’ incorrupt body and said, “Our Mother, the Glorious Agnes.” As Catherine bent forward to kiss the foot of Agnes, it raised up so Catherine could easily reach it. St. Agnes had died almost 300 years before that moment.

On January 28, 1268, a baby girl was born into the wealthy De Segni family, in Montepulciano, located in the Papal States (central Italy). The child was named Agnes, and from an early age, she displayed an outward and obvious devotion to God.

By the time Agnes was six years old she was asking her parents to please allow her to enter the convent. When they told her she was much too young, she pleaded with them to move closer to the convent so she could be near to it. On one occasion Agnes was traveling to Montepulciano with her mom and some of the household.  The group passed by a house that was up on a hill and was known as a place of ill repute. Suddenly, a flock of screaming crows soared down from above and attacked little Agnes.

With claws outstretched and beaks flailing away they scratched and clawed at the seven-year-old, causing her to bleed from her head and arms which she was using to cover herself. The women in the group had to fight the shrieking birds off by waving their shawls and yelling at them. The ladies knew that the evil in the nearby house did not want Agnes anywhere near it. It had been a demonic attack. Years later, Agnes would build a convent on that very site.

By the time this child was nine years old she had convinced her parents to allow her to enter the convent. She was so young this was against church law but, Pope John XXI gave Agnes permission to enter the Franciscan monastery. The nuns who lived there were known as the “Sisters of the Sack” because the garments they wore were so coarse. Nine-year-old Agnes happily wore it every day.

When Agnes was fifteen, she found herself in need of another special dispensation. This time it was so she could become the abbess of a new convent in Proceno. She desired to be in a contemplative state where she could simply pray and commune with those above. But she did not complain and humbly followed the path that always seemed to appear before her. On her day of consecration as abbess, showers of tiny white crosses floated down inside the chapel on the people below. Being a fifteen-year-old abbess was unheard of, and everyone took this as a sign of heaven’s pleasure with Agnes.

Agnes was graced with many visions. Probably the most legendary and the one for which she is best known is was when Our Lady appeared to her holding the Baby Jesus in her arms. Our Lady allowed Agnes to hold Him and caress Him. Another time the Blessed Mother gave Agnes three stones and told her to keep them in honor of the Blessed Trinity. She told Agnes that one day she would need them.

Agnes had another vision which told her that she was to leave the Franciscans and join the Dominicans. In 1306 she was asked to return to Montepulciano to build a new convent. She had no money, but she did have the three stones the Blessed Virgin had given to her. Using the three stones as a “cornerstone,” she raised money and built the convent. The sisters embraced the Rule of St. Augustine and joined the Dominican Order.

Sister Agnes died on April 20, 1317. It is said that the children of the city woke up the next morning and sadly cried out, “Holy Sister Agnes is dead.”

Agnes was canonized a saint by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. The Dominicans celebrate her feast day on April 20.

St. Agnes of Montepulciano, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier; She founded an order to help orphaned, abandoned, and wayward young girls. Today her vision is spread around the entire world.

St. Marie Pelletier                                                         denvercatholic.org

By Larry Peterson

As the blood-soaked French Revolution was coming to an end, a baby girl was born on an island off the coast of France. Her parents had been exiled to the place by French Revolutionaries. It probably saved their lives. The date was July 31, 1796. The baby was christened Rose Virginie Pelletier. She was the youngest of eight children.

Rose’s father died when she was ten, and her mom put her in a boarding school. Close to the school was a convent which belonged to the Order of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge. The order had been founded by St. John Eudes to provide care and protection for young girls who were homeless and alone and at a high risk of exploitation. Rose knew she wanted to be one of those nuns.

In 1814, completely taken with the nuns and their mission in life, Rose joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, located in Tours, France. She was given the name of Mary Euphrasia which would be her name from then on. About eight years after she took her vows, she was named Mother Superior of the convent.

Most of the sisters at Tours were older and had been victimized by the horrendous religious persecution of the French Revolution. The majority of them just wanted to live contemplative lives in prayer and solitude. Sister Mary Euphrasia founded a new community called the “Sisters Magdalen.” They would live a life of solitude and prayer raising needed funds through the making of vestments and church items such as altar cloths and altar bread. Today they are known as the Contemplatives of the Good Shepherd.

But Mary Euphrasia’s true calling was to help the orphaned, abandoned, and vulnerable young girls that seemed to be everywhere. In 1829, the Bishop of Angers, France, asked Sister Mary if she would come to his diocese and establish a home there. She did as requested and went to Angers. She found an old factory, opened it as a home, and called it “Bon Pasteur” meaning “Good Shepherd.” Soon other bishops were requesting her to come and open homes in their dioceses. Help for young girls alone and marginalized was on the way.

Mary Euphrasia felt it was her calling to fulfill all of the requests.  Soon there were homes in Le Mans, Poitiers, Grenoble, and Metz.  She quickly realized that her ministry was growing and would need a Mother General and a rule for the order. And so it was that on April 3, 1835, Pope Gregory XVI, granted approval of the order known as the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. From that day forward all houses of the order would be under the Motherhouse of the Good Shepherd located at Angers.

Having Papal authorization for her ministry, Sister Mary was free to begin sending sisters to different parts of the globe. Convents were established in Germany, Italy, Belgium, and England. The order was subject to the Holy See, and a cardinal-protector was appointed to handle any problems that might arise. There were some bishops who wanted jurisdiction over the order, but the rule of the order did not provide for this. The Pope defended Sister Mary and, as a result, there were a few bishops who were not receptive to a nun who had the good favor of the Holy Father. This unwanted friction did cause some very unpleasant times for Sister Mary, but she stood strong and weathered any difficulties that arose.

Sister Mary Euphrasia served as Mother General of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd for 33 years. She died in 1868 leaving behind 3000 religious and 110 Good Shepherd convents located in 35 countries around the world. She was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XII on May 2, 1940.

Today there are approximately 5500 sisters of the Good Shepherd, both active and contemplative, and they are located in 72 countries around the world.

Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019