Celebrating 25th anniversary of her Beatification
Marie Louise of Jesus, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom, was beatified May 16, 1993 by Saint John-Paul 11. To mark the 25th anniversary, a festive celebration was held at the Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre Basilica in France. Sister Louise Madore, Superior General of the Daughters of Wisdom introduced the ceremony with these words:
“Good morning to everyone of you who came today to celebrate with us the 25th anniversary of the Beatification of Marie-Louise of Jesus co-foundress of the Daughters of Wisdom.
With his heart filled with emotion, on May 16, 1993, Father Garnier, then bishop of the diocese of Luçon, asked Pope John-Paul II that Marie-Louise of Jesus be proclaimed Blessed.
That event allowed the Daughters of Wisdom from all over the world, and I would even dare say the Montfort Missionaries and the Brothers of St. Gabriel, to better discover the endearing face of the first Daughter of Wisdom. For most of us, Marie Louise came out of the shadow of Louis Marie of Montfort to be presented in all the originality of her person and of her call.
Montfort wanted to give the name “Daughters of Wisdom” to the Congregation whose co-foundress was Marie Louise. That name revealed the profound spiritual experience that Montfort was living at the core of his being: the overwhelming encounter with the folly of the love of Wisdom, of Christ Wisdom for humanity. He later described this in his book entitled: “The Love of Eternal Wisdom.” Indeed, it summarizes all of Montfort’s spirituality. It thus reveals to us the source, the passion and the vitality that guided his deep relationship with God, his missionary commitment and his path of conversion.
It was self-evident for Montfort that these women, who wanted to consecrate themselves totally to God, should engage fully in the same spiritual path as his. In fact, in the Rule of Life of the Congregation, written in 1715, Montfort said that the inner aim of the Daughters of Wisdom was the acquisition of Divine Wisdom.
With Marie Louise in mind, I remember the urgent call to holiness in the world today that Pope Francis expressed:
“I want to evoke so many unknown and forgotten women who, each in their own way, supported and transformed communities by the power of their testimony.”
Marie Louise certainly was one of these women who, through her courage and great faith, came to settle here at St-Laurent so that the tomb of Montfort become the cradle of the Congregation and also to assemble what was left of the Montfortians so that the small company of Missionaries that Montfort so desired could go on.
Pope Francis said that each saint is a mission, every saint is a project of the Father to reflect and incarnate an aspect of the Gospel, at some moment in history.
Throughout her life, Blessed Marie Louise of Jesus revealed the folly of Wisdom through the daring missions she established among the very poor and the marginalized. People often called her “Bonne Mère Jésus,” for she reflected the tenderness of Jesus in all her actions.
I invite you today, to take a few minutes here, at her tomb, to pray her. As a good mother, she will listen to what dwells in your heart. I invite you to speak with one of the Sisters, to come and visit our house where you can come to know her better.
In this basilica, she is just as present as Montfort. Both are deeply united by the Love of Wisdom who was at the heart of their life and mission.
Soon, there will be a new edition of the “Love of Eternal Wisdom” published to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Beatification of Marie Louise. I hope you will have the grace to read it so you too can discover the essence of Montfort’s spirituality. From heaven, Marie Louise will be very happy that, following Montfort like her, all of us will discover the folly of love of Wisdom for humanity.
Sr. Louise Madore, DW, Congregational Leader