Saint Jeanne Elizabeth des Bichier des Anges (1773-1838) and Saint Teresa de Jesus Jornet Ibars (1843-1897). While these women lived in different places, at different times, their lives are similarly marked by the call of the Lord and their immediate response—the formation of religious orders to spread the Gospel and assist those in need. In their respective countries, these pious saints are looked upon as models of faithfulness, charity, service to others, hard work, and openness to the will of God.
Saint Jeanne Elizabeth des Bichier des Anges was born in the Chateau des Anges near LeBlanc, France, Her father, the lord of Anges, sent her to the convent at Poiters to be educated, at approximately age 10. She did not return home until the death of her father (to prevent the family’s property from being confiscated by the state), when she was nineteen years old. On his deathbed, she met Saint Andrew Fournet, who would play an important role in her future.
Following her father’s death, Jeanne Elizabeth found herself embroiled in a court battle to save her family’s property and possessions. Having studied law, she argued the case in court, and won. Expected to marry and make the property her home, Jeanne Elizabeth had no intention of marriage, instead looking to the Lord. On the back of a picture of Our Lady, she had written: "I dedicate and consecrate myself to Jesus and Mary forever."
Appointed the first superior of the Order, Jeanne Elizabeth worked tirelessly to spread the Gospel and establish new houses—by 1830, shortly before her death—she had personally established over 60 houses throughout France. In Igon, in the Basque country, she met Father. Michael Garicoits, who served as spiritual adviser of the house there. With her encouragement, he founded a men’s congregation of the order, named the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Betharram.
Saint Teresa de Jesus Jornet Ibars was born in Catalonia, Spain. She was raised by pious, Christian parents, but due to financial reasons was sent to live with her aunt on the family farm. There, she was expected to work her daily chores—many of them quite strenuous and exhausting—which she did without complaint. From this early age, Teresa demonstrated great charity, but did so discreetly so as not to attract praise or attention herself. Despite her grueling chore schedule, she managed to attend school, becoming a teacher in Lleida.
"The more poor people, the more benefactors.” With every house, she traveled further to find those who would support the work of the Lord through financial contributions and vocations. It was exhausting work, but she never expressed anxiety, proud and confident in the Lord’s providence.
The lives of both Saint Jeanne Elizabeth and Saint Teresa de Jesus demonstrate to us that there is much we can each accomplish in the world—serving the Lord through service to one another. Saint Jeanne Elizabeth saw poor uneducated rural communities in need of spiritual guidance. Saint Teresa de Jesus witnessed the elderly, abandoned and unable to provide for themselves. Through the grace of God, and the courage of these great women, both created the change that was needed. How often to do see what needs to be done, and chose not to do it? How often do we ignore the call of the Lord to help those in need, those in our own communities? How might we better the lives of our fellow man in service to Christ?
Year 2: Day 238 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Charity, Service to others, Social Justice.
Requested Intentions: Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C); Financial assistance and employment (B); For a family’s intentions (T); Successful examination results (B); Healing of a friend with cancer, for all those who help others (B); Healing and love (L); Grace and healing (V); Healing of a heart, consecration of a marriage (M); Health of a family, intentions of apostolate (H); For repentance (J); For a family in trouble (R); Healing, successful relationships for son, financial success (J); Success of a company (L); For a religious society (J); Healing of a husband, strength as a faithful caregiver (D); Healing of a son (T).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."