A renewed spirituality leads us to go beyond borders


“Teacher, what shall I do…?”
(Lk. 10:25)

“We recognize the ways of God in the life of each sister who in creative fidelity follows the example of Marie Poussepin, “Social Apostle of Charity”. Led by the Holy Spirit, we are inspired to move forward to a deep spiritual renewal to give meaning and strength to our life. This enables us to create anew our community to follow Jesus Christ and to go beyond borders with audacity and creativity. The Charism of our Mother Foundress roots us in the contemplation of the Word and in the reality of life. With a look of mercy, we want to reach out to the poorest and most vulnerable with compassion in order to search with them new ways of working for human dignity and complete liberation in Christ. (Cf. C 86) The call of God and the response to follow Christ urge us to recognize Him in others, to let ourselves be formed and transformed by Him through prayer and daily life as consecrated women, sent to be living witnesses of the Gospel of the Kingdom and prophets of hope”.

Source: Document of the 55th General Chapter - 2019

St. Dominic - altar detail in the chapel (La Grande Bretèche)St. Dominic - altar detail in the chapel (La Grande Bretèche)

The Dominican spirit

The Dominican spirit of Marie Poussepin’s Work is manifested through the solidity of its Institution. Like Dominic,she knew how to draw from three different sources in order to inspire this project of evangelical life in the Church:
  • A spiritual strength: “vita apostolica”.
  • A regular form of life: fraternal community.
  • A mission: To announce Jesus Christ in the exercise of Charity.

All of it encompassing Dominic’s particular way:

  • Fidelity to the evangelical counsels.
  • Piety in prayer and in the common celebration of the Liturgy, mainly the Eucharist and the Divine Office.
  • Steadfastness in study.
  • Perseverance in regular observances.
  • Unanimity in common life.

Our Foundress established her work upon solid foundations. They allowed her to channel her generosity without losing the originality of the initial project: a Dominican community at the service of Charity. The unity of the project is the expression of an “organized, prudent, reasonable and constant charity” (cf. Thery). Consequently, the consolidation of the work she wanted to perpetuate and expand was possible: “they may bring wherever they are called, the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his mysteries", and therefore could "live in the house of Sainville and the establishments, the life Our Lord lived on earth…”( cf. R I, XXVII).

A Dominican Community at the service of Charity

The community structure is at the basis of Marie Poussepin’s Institution. There, communion was built, mission realized and the original vision lived. The first sisters went away from the community, in order to perform the service of charity, while maintaining always the reference to the ‘House’, which gathered them. They returned regularly to it as the favorable place where they could “renew themselves and keep the unity of the same spirit” and find the suitable environment for study, silence, interiorization and rest. 

The community of Sainville

There was, in Marie Poussepin’s community, a true unity between community and missionary action, between regular observance and the service of Charity. Her community, whose originality was a conventual way of life dedicated to the works of charity, was a “unified whole” where the elements of her original vision could be lived.

Community, rule, superior, and community assembly were the elements guiding and enabling this original vision. Sainville’s organization is the pattern which allowed for continuity and actualization of a unique project, present in so many different places and situations.

The fraternal community is the flourishing of a communion kept alive by mutual trust and full participation (cf. R I)

Source: "Marie Poussepin and Her community: The Service of Authority"

A Marian Spirituality

The spirituality of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation, as it was for Marie Poussepin is Christo-Centric and Marian. She places her Community under the patronage of the Virgin Mary in the mystery of her Presentation in the temple.

Stained-glass chapel (La Grande Bréteche)Stained-glass chapel (La Grande Bréteche)

The Presentation of Mary in the Temple

It is one of the twelve major feasts of the oriental liturgical year. It invites us to live this mystery in Christian life, to celebrate it with joy "carrying with the virgins, our lighted lamps.” This celebration became part of the Roman calendar in 1585. A very old tradition accounts that when the Virgin Mary was very young, her parents, Joachim and Anne took her to the temple in Jerusalem, along with another group of girls to be instructed in religion and duties towards God. This is narrated in the Protoevangelium of James, one of the apocryphal Gospels.

In her mystery of the Presentation, a mystery of listening and contemplation, of acceptance and gift, which radically consecrates her to the Lord with a “Yes” which is renewed day after day, Mary is for us a “model of fidelity and of gift” (C 15), of a life totally fulfilled in love. As a woman, she received the Word within her to give Him to us. Like her, we receive Christ to offer Him to the world. This attitude of offering is expressed in the annual celebration of the feast of the Presentation of Mary, in which we renew our religious vows and offer ourselves to our brothers and sisters through the service of charity. As a mother who does not forget her child, expression of God’s own maternal tenderness, Mary teaches us mercy and “we can always have hope” in her intercession. 

Source : Diverse documents of the Congregation


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