A contemplation on Marie Poussepin personified in the light of Proverbes 31:10-31

on 12 Jun, 2020

Bogotá (Colombia), 06/10/2020, Sr. Carmenza Avellaneda Navas.- This text can be understood as a personification of Wisdom, wisdom in action. In a certain way, it is a new portrait, a praise of the ideal woman with which the author closes the book of the Proverbs, as per contrast to a less positive conception of woman.

It is the portrayal of a woman embodied with integration and harmony, who directs her everyday life well and brings peace and joy to others.

Who can find a woman of worth? Far beyond jewels is her value. Her husband trusts her judgment; he does not lack income. She brings him profit, not loss, all the days of her life.

She seeks out wool and flax and weaves with skillful hands. Like a merchant fleet, she secures her provisions from afar. She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household, a portion to her maidservants. She picks out a field and acquires it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength; she exerts her arms with vigor.

She enjoys the profit from her dealings; her lamp is never extinguished at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. She is not concerned for her household when it snows—all her charges are doubly clothed. She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing. Her husband is prominent at the city gates as he sits with the elders of the land.

She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs at the days to come. She opens her mouth in wisdom; kindly instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband, too, praises her: “Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all.”

Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Acclaim her for the work of her hands, and let her deeds praise her at the city gates.

This text has a profound symbolism with an external and internal dimension.

This woman is worth more than pearls or corals… Her hands search, distribute, plant and work with the spinning wheel and the spindle; they reach out to the unhappy; they are extended to the destitute; they weave, sell and trade; they are hardworking and generous hands. 

She organizes her house: her lamp is lit from early morning; she distributes the tasks; she watches over the management of her house.

She seeks, discerns and reflects…

She seeks out wool and flax and weaves with skillful hands… She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She enjoys the profit from her dealings; her lamp is never extinguished at night… She makes garments and sells them

Marie Poussepin weaves and spins... in the factory to make stockings; she seeks the well-being and recuperation of her family situations; she offers opportunities for improvement to many young apprentices whom she leads to a fruitful and self- determined life. 

In the House of Sainville, weaving and spinning is a means of self-management and solidarity, which makes it possible to share the goods with those who need them.

She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household and also the works… She girds herself with strength; she exerts her arms with vigor.

Marie Poussepin, an organized businesswoman and housewife, daring and tireless... looks for the good use and benefits of material and spiritual goods. She builds a house where her sisters can live the Gospel in an original way, embodying her project aimed at building the Kingdom. "By wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is established. (Prov. 24:3) She lays the foundations and with the work of the community, builds up a chapel in which the sound of the bell calls everyone for prayer and contemplation of the mystery of God’s merciful love and Providence.

She rises while it is still night... She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. As a hard-working, intelligent and practical woman, she organizes the rhythm of the hours in such a way that time can be spent in the presence of God and also for the mission, tasks entrusted to her, personal and community growth of her sisters and for the service and well-being of all those who need it, whether they are outside or inside.

She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.  Marie Poussepin, a woman anchored in the reality of poverty and misery of her people, uproots herself from her city to go and live in the village of Sainville, afflicted with scarcity and misery. She carries within herself the reality that she touches with her hands; she plans, searches, and discerns how to respond to the education of orphan girls by raising the level of instruction, to the health care needs by giving dignity to the sick through attentive, kind, and effective service.

She makes a well outside the house, so that everyone may come to fetch water, which then becomes a sign of the source from which eternal life springs up.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs at the days to come. She is not concerned for her household when it snows. She has her security in God and puts her trust in the faithfulness of those who will succeed her in the Work of Providence that the Lord has placed in her hands. She assumes with strength the difficulties that mark her life and the realization of her goals.

Marie Poussepin's gaze transcends all boundaries. She looks far ahead with her eyes on the future, with regard to formation, proclamation of the Gospel and administration. Her policies go beyond the continents and times. Her missionary vision soon extends to the fields of Beauce through the presence of her daughters...; the parishes and dioceses call out in their urgencies and needs...; the poor are at the door. She dreams, plans, foresees and her dreams are becoming a reality.

She opens her mouth in wisdom; kindly instruction is on her tongue. Her words guide, teach, show the way, correct, encourage, exhort, communicate peace and trust and give security. Charity must be the soul that sustains and unites her community. Charity is poured out in service, at home as well as outside. Humility, simplicity, poverty and goodness give witness of life which becomes proclamation of the Word. To know and announce Jesus Christ is the end which leads us to and gives us a focus for our life.  

She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. The hands of our Foundress are folded in prayer; they are hands that work, cure, organize, produce, share, write, construct, welcome and offer a heart and a gift without reserve.

Between Dourdan and Sainville, Marie Poussepin lets God weave each day the fabric of her love in simplicity, poverty, humility and minority…In silence, she dreams and drinks from the Lord; she writes and dreams about her community. She puts her intelligence and action to do hard and organized work.  Prudence accompanies her decisions. Solidarity, love and service to the neediest, abide in her. Fortitude sustains her long life which is inspired by the Holy Spirit to “see what is right in the eyes of God and to accomplish it.” Faith makes her a fervent daughter of the Church

Let her deeds praise her at the city gates.

In this YEAR OF GRACE, we are very happy to proclaim once again her praises and to praise together the Weaver of Stockings from Dourdan, the Daughter of Providence, the social Apostle of charity and the strong woman filled with WISDOM, who through her community is present in many places, and who wishes to welcome the path open to follow Jesus Christ today in newness and coherence. A way of authenticity, service, inclusion, centrality, synodality, Mercy and LOVE!

Marie Poussepin challenges us; she calls us today ... The immediate future is opening paths of commitment and determination for us.

”Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her; one who watches for her at dawn will not be disappointed, for she will be found sitting at the gate.” (Wis. 6: 12- 14)