Mother Generals

 

By Faith...

La BeauceLa Beauce

 

 

How can we not recall the witnesses of faith in the history of our Congregation? There are innumerable names of sisters who have left their mark, as living witnesses of their faith in everyday life through the simplicity of their lives. Many of whom we have known, with whom we have lived. It is good to remember them in community and thank God for them. Today we are invited to retrace the footprints left by our superior generals. By faith, their lives were filled by God and they knew how to keep the Congregation alive by fulfilling their mission.

BY FAITH... MÈRE AGNÈS REVERS knew how to put her organizational skills and practical sense at the service of the common good in order to strengthen the community in fidelity to the original spirit while at the same time attend to material needs and administration. Her faith helped her to overcome the internal difficulties of the community and to maintain with a vision for the future everything in relation to the mission.

BY FAITH... MÈRE LA CROIX with her simple, poor and faithful life led the Congregation during the difficult years of the French Revolution. She lived with great pain the dispersion of the Community, with a great charity she took care of her sisters, looking out for their future and awakening in them a lot of confidence. She said: "you have taken the sisters out of their house of stone, but you cannot take them out of His heart, the spirit remains and gives them life".

BY FAITH... MÈRE AUGUSTIN despite her reluctance, accepts her election and begins her generalate in a very difficult time: the Reconstitution of the Community. Her main mission is to replant the religious spirit of Marie Poussepin in the small remnant of sisters and welcome those who wish to return and renew their consecration. With great hope, trusting in Providence she works for new vocations and their formation. She finds a house to reunite the community and, among sorrows and joys, carries the heavy burden of the time with great confidence and courage in the future of the Congregation.

BY FAITH... MÈRE POTENTIENNE in the midst of hardships, demands and confusion among the clergy, is sustained by prayer. Tireless and selfless, full of tenderness and compassion, she faces the situation. She becomes the mother of the neglected. She insists on the formation of poor girls, always faithful to the legacy of Marie Poussepin.

BY FAITH... MÈRE ADELAIDE lives as her predecessors in a turbulent time that demands creativity, strength, and above all prayer. Mère Adelaide was renowned for her ability to work and her talent in order and administration. She dedicates herself to strengthen communities, make visits, and prepares communications to stay connected to her sisters and offer them appropriate advice and support. Her faith leads her to follow the way of discernment. Each sister receives the General Rules not as law but as a way of following Christ.

BY FAITH... MÈRE SUZANNE was very intelligent, innovative and tenacious in her resolutions. She strengthened the foundations, managed well the economic needs of the Community, demonstrating good reflection and prudence. Her active faith prevents her from being paralyzed in the face of difficulties. She is concerned for vocations and she searches with her sisters for the will of God.

BY FAITH... MÈRE ASSOMPTION embodies and updates the service of Charity by herself attending to the cholera victims and encouraging the sisters to do the same. She wanted to respond to the needs of the sick and poor in whatever way they could. During her Generalate she opened multipurpose works in marginalized areas. In faith she welcomes the guidelines of the Church for religious life. From this time onwards the sisters begin to make vows. She edits a Manual for the sisters.

BY FAITH... MÈRE SAINT PIERRE as a child discovered her vocation: “I want to be a missionary” and for that she filled her life with Charity. “There charity happens" was the expression of those who knew and witnessed her goodness, mercy, wisdom and simplicity. Her living faith moved her to see the face of Christ in the poor, the sick, orphans, through those who devoted to them their time and love. Animated by faith, she gave herself to the service of the Congregation. She was concerned about the expansion of the Dominican Charism of Marie Poussepin and made many foundations for the service of Charity. She opened the way for the formation of the sisters and was able to carry the cross of misunderstanding and humiliation.

BY FAITH... MÈRE DU CALVAIRE in simplicity and strength assumes the government of the Congregation during a critical time in the Community. By faith, she opens new horizons for the Presentation: Spain, Colombia and Iraq are witnesses of her limitless audacity. Her faith in the sisters, her missionary spirit and vision for the future leads to the establishment of the first province of the Congregation: the province of Bogota. She was fraternal and cared for each sister. Her advice, her letters enabled her to be presence in each community and in their entrusted mission. She does not rest until she received the recognition of an institute of Pontifical Right for the Congregation.

BY FAITH... MÈRE JOSEPHA from the time she joins the Congregation, offers her brilliant intelligence, her fiery temperament, her big heart and her availability at the service of the mission. It is her spirit of faith that energizes her life. It leads her to dedicate all her forces during her 33-years as a superior general to make 190 new foundations, as an expression of the Charism and fidelity to the Original Vision. Her love for Marie Poussepin inspires her to begin the Cause of her Beatification, which will be continued by her successors. She became interested in trying to get the recognition of our origins as Dominicans. She obtained from Pope Leo XIII the rescript with the official name of the Congregation: “Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation “.

BY FAITH... MÈRE LEON JOSEPH sustains her spiritual life with constant prayer; her love for the Church is unshakeable. She faced difficult times because of World War I, yet with hope and serenity, she knew how to lead the Congregation for 18 years through the most difficult issues with sensibly, clarity and firmness. For love of the Foundress she insisted with all her strength to continue on the process for the Cause of Beatification. She made no foundations in France due to the political situation but supported the existing missions. She worried about the communities of Spain and Colombia. She visited Colombia for six months leaving her mark, especially in the line of education.

BY FAITH... MÈRE THÉRESE AUGUSTA in a spirit of fortitude, wisdom and prudence, she accompanies the Congregation in the difficult years of World War II. Only her faith in Providence and her spirit of organization helped her to face the unexpected exodus of the sisters from the Mother House due to the invasion of German troops. The community leaves for Benais (France), "as they leave they pray the Magnificat with a broken heart but full of trust in the Lord's protection." They remained eight months there. Mere Therese Augusta instils peace and serenity; she creates a family atmosphere of mutual help with simplicity, participating in household chores, without neglecting the care of the Congregation. She sent a circular letter to the Congregation explaining what had happened. All by faith.

BY FAITH... MÈRE THÉRESE DES ANGES begins her Generalate with a very significant event which was very much in agreement with her Dominican spirit: the definitive affiliation of the Congregation to the Order of Preachers as the culmination of the great work of her predecessors. She assumes and presents the demands of "aggiornamento" as a challenge to the Congregation. Proposed by the Vatican, she convenes, prepares and presides over the extraordinary General Chapter of 1969. With missionary zeal she expands the Congregation to nine countries, “the mission is everywhere." “Together we want to be a small cell of the Church, that humbly participates in the coming of the Kingdom of God to this world which desires to be more just and more human." Thanks to her vibrant faith, she gave thrust to an increase in the renewal of our religious life oriented towards the future, facing the Church and the world.

BY FAITH... MÈRE MARIE SAINT THÉRÈSE lives her mission as Superior General at a time of great changes on the political, social, economic and ecclesial fronts of our world. She feels the need for a renewal since religious life has become more secularized, vocations have diminished, and tensions and difficulties within the communities demand options that require returning to the essentials. It is she with her faith, integrity and simplicity, who invites the Congregation to follow Jesus as the only standard for our life. The elaboration of the Constitutions implemented with the guidelines of Vatican II, returns to the genuine sources of the Community. This mission commits all the sisters and she says, "Together we can build in a solid way and our Congregation will endure".

BY FAITH... SISTER INÉS MERCEDES MEJÍA TORO, could not grasp the reality of the Congregation without situating it within a much broader scope on various contexts: the influence of violence, poverty, injustice and religious indifference. It was a world without peace awaiting our response. Our faith required firmness, clarity, vision, courage, commitment. She found in the Word of God, her light and strength to inspire the Congregation to seek an option for justice. Formation and mission were emphasized strongly during her Generalate of 15 years. At the end of this time, the Congregation is present in 33 countries. On November 20, 1994, the Beatification of Marie Poussepin occurs in Rome when Sr. Maria Fabiola Velasquez was newly elected Superior General.

OUR HISTORY CONTINUES... with Sr. Maria Fabiola Velasquez, Sr. Monique Colrat and presently with Sr. Maria Escayola Coris...

Text: Sr. María Betsabé Guevara