Walking in the Footsteps of a Legend

on 20 Aug, 2020
Hits: 1761

Ranchi (India), 08/20/2020, Sr. Jini Joseph Mazhuvanchery.- We have become kings, priests and prophets of the kingdom of God as we were plunged into the holy waters of baptism. These words sound very lofty, when we hear them in isolation.

Blessed Marie Poussepin was a prophetess of her time who dared to cut across the barriers of ignorance and misery that had gripped the society of her time. Her significance is in that she dared to accomplish what she knew to be right in the depth of her heart. This is a humble effort to see why she is called the “Social Apostle of Charity” and how we try to follow her in our day and age.

Sr. JiniSr. JiniRooted in God: Marie Poussepin took all her decisions in the company of the Lord. When she saw the tragic situation of Sainville, an inner voice prompted her to leave the comforts of her hometown, Dourdan. She did not know how to go about, but she knew the Lord was calling her to do something for these people. It occurred to her that educating girls and teaching them some skills like knitting stockings would assure them some financial assistance.

Following in her footsteps, in 2016, our community in Ranchi, India along with the support of the Provincial government decided to start a new mission. We were five members in the community at that time. Our involvement with the prisoners in Hotwar (Ranchi) Prison, gave us the impetus to take care of the children of these prisoners. These children not only carried a stigma but also were uncared for. We knew that the Lord was calling us for it, but nothing was clear to us as to how to go about it. We spent a lot of time with the Lord and also asking for the intercession of Marie Poussepin to have the light to take the right decision. Thus, Marie Poussepin’s Girls Home was started.

Marie Poussepin Academy in Nagpur, By  Shaista, teacherMarie Poussepin Academy in Nagpur, By Shaista, teacherGenerosity of Heart: Our choice of ministry here in Ranchi, was not accidental. It was the definite choice of our Province to stand by the most vulnerable. From the magnanimity of her heart Marie Poussepin’s charity gushed forth. Her charity was not a sporadic one but an organized one which flowed unceasingly. In modern terms, her works of charity could be termed as sustainable development, embracing the whole person for a lifetime. Our thrust in caring for these children is the same. Her mode of engaging herself with any situation was simple and realistic. Whenever a possibility emerged, she took it to the Lord for guidance, and at the same time, she also believed in her intellectual capacity which the Lord had bestowed on her. The Lord provided us with a rented house to start the apostolate. It assured us that when He wants us to do something for Him, He will provide for it. Bl. Marie Poussepin’s tangible presence was felt strongly all through. This is the secret of choosing her name for the girls’ home. On one occasion one of the girls remarked, “it is because of Bl. Marie Poussepin we are here”. It shows their affinity to her.

By Jespy G. S., Marie Poussepin lay Associate, ParuthiyoorBy Jespy G. S., Marie Poussepin lay Associate, ParuthiyoorUnconditional Trust in Divine Providence: By the end of October 1712 Marie Poussepin developed a serious sickness and the whole community was worried. It was coupled with some unhappy events in her family. On top of that, the needed permissions for the congregation from the civil and ecclesiastical authorities seemed to be too far away and it pained her. Some sisters wavered in their vocation and left the group like the disciples who left Jerusalem after the death of Jesus. Some sisters went out of the convent and started a new congregation wearing the same habit. The enemies tried to attack Marie Poussepin from all sides, but they lost the battle because the Lord was with her.

Like Marie Poussepin, we too had our share of hardships and hurdles. At times we had to face unfavorable government authorities. Our challenges were so many that if it were not for the direct intervention of the Lord, nothing could have come about. Accompanying the children belonging to the age group of seven to sixteen, who hardly had any discipline, is challenging. The only way to help them is by perseverance, understanding and accompaniment, as Marie Poussepin did.

Daring for Christ: Borders were never an end for Marie Poussepin but were new avenues to be explored. It was unheard of, in her time, for a woman to engage in business. Circumstances of her family forced her to enter into the family business. She not only introduced machines for making woolen stockings but also trained the poor apprentices without fees and offered them the profit of their work. She also took courage to begin an apostolic community of the Third Order of St. Dominic which was unimaginable for her contemporaries who were contemplative orders or congregations. Passionate missionary zeal would overflow from the fire of love and charity that burned within her.

By Sr. Teresa DSouza By Sr. Teresa DSouza

Everything that our commitment to these children implies, can’t be expressed in words. It reaches out to the bitterly battered families of these children. We make sure to extend a helping hand for their spiritual needs as well. We have a ‘get together’ of the parents and family members of these children once a year, in view of nurturing their faith. Children have the possibilities to get connected with their parents through phone calls regularly. It was very consoling for us to hear the remark of one of the girls, “I came to know God after coming here.” They not only excel in extra-curricular activities but also in leadership roles in the school.

Our Holy Mother Church endowed Marie Poussepin with the title of “Social Apostle of Charity” for her unceasing love for the most vulnerable. Her charism is still alive in thirty-six countries of four continents. The existence of her congregation even after three hundred and twenty-four-years, speaks volumes of her charisma. We make humble efforts to walk in the footsteps of this great legend of the Church. It is only fitting that the epitaph of Marie Poussepin reads, “She saw what was right in the sight of God and did it”.

May the celebration of this year of grace of her Beatification inspire us to closely follow her, the “Social Apostle of Charity” in our world today!