The Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres

Introduction
Sisters of Charity
Chartres
Dialogue with Father de Truchis
A few names among many others...
Who are the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres?
How does one become a Sister of Saint Paul of Chartres?
All over the world
Religious... Teacher... why?
With the sick
The Book of Life of the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres
Conclusion
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Introduction

The history of the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres extends over three hundred years; it is a long history of Love, written in a mysterious way and hidden in the hearts of thousands of women.

After Marie Anne de Tilly and her companions, many others decide, even today, to leave everything in order to follow Christ and to serve their brothers and sisters under every horizon.

The initiative of Love belongs to God. It is He who calls and gives strength to answer, while respecting everyone's freedom.

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Sisters of Charity

"As the Superior of the school of the Daughters of Levesville, I am attempting to improve four girls in reading, writing and piety, in order that they may become good school teachers.

I have fallen in a condition where my general strength is falling me, owing to constant ill-treatments and abusive speech uttered against me for having left the world, having given myself to God, for the welfare of the Church and the service of neighbour.

May it please God to give me the grace of forgetting for ever the persecutions I have unjustly suffered and which I forgive with all my heart.

I had undertaken to bring up poor girls, among whom it seemed to me that I was at last only beginning to breathe and to live."

Extracts from the will of Marie Anne de Tilly
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Following Marie Anne

"Charity is practised in actions, it inspires us, daughters of Saint Paul, with a devotion to our brothers and sisters which we carry out to the point of sacrifice."
Mother La Croix
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"We are dedicated to Charity, our aim is to multiply the number of those who adore Jesus Christ."
Mother Maria
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"The persons we have taken charge of are formed in the image of God, their soul is the price of His blood. The more faults they have, the more compassion we must feel for them."
Mother Maria
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"The poor and the sick must not be kept waiting. It is an honour for us to serve them; we must do this with great respect."
Mother La Croix
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"True piety is always cheerful, earnest, pleasant, it is in no way strained."
Mother Maria
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"We hope that through the mercy of our Lord we may live only for Him and for the dear little ones whom He entrusts to us, as we give ourselves entirely for His Love and for His Glory."
Mother Benjamin arriving on Mission
   The church of Levesville

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Chartres

According to a century old tradition, devotion to the "Virgin who is to give birth" existed in Chartres before the Christian era.

For two thousand years, how many pilgrims have walked towards the sanctuary built by the hands of man, with the faith of those devoted to Our Lady! The road is long that leads to this sign standing on the horizon of the wheat fields. On the man-made hill, prepared by the builders, the Cathedral, majestically opens its doors to the pilgrim.

The glorious Christ on the royal portal, invites one to go in. After the radiant light of the plain, the dark coolness of the nave is astonishing. The stained-glass windows diffuse a soft blue light, the Virgin on the beautiful stained glass presents her child for the veneration of visitors.

At the entrance of the left ambulatory, Our Lady of the Pillar catches the eyes of those who await help, hope, a light on their way.

Chartres attracts pilgrimages and the main aisle vibrates with Hail Mary's. Chartres gives witness to the faith of a whole nation.

Chartres illustrates the history of a country which chose Mary as its privileged advocate.

If the Sisters of Saint Paul had to choose the site of their Mother-House, would they not have preferred the Marian City ?

Providence provided for them because the Virgin Mary is their Protectress and their model.

The verses of Charles Peguy have celebrated this stone masterpiece.

            "Tower of David, this is your land of Beauce.
            It is the hardest car of wheat that ever ascended
            To a sky of clemency and serenity
            And the most beautiful ornament within your crown.
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            A man from our home country has brought to life,
            From the very ground to the foot of the Cross,
            Higher than all the saints, higher than all the kings,
            The blameless spire which cannot fail.
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            It is the stone without a blemish, without any flaw
            The highest prayer that was ever born,
            The most earnest reason that was ever given out,
            And, towards a sky without limits, the highest line."
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The cathedral of Chartres: rising towards heaven.  Tympanum of the royal portal of the cathedral of Chartres. Small steeple of the Mother-House in Chartres. 
 

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Dialogue with Father de Truchis

Father Charles de Truchy devoted forty five years of his life to help the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres (from 1713 to 1758). He started keeping the records of the resolutions and promises made by the Sisters. He had been trained at Saint Sulpice during ten years and had a great influence on the early stages of the Congregation.
* The Editor : Father de Truc,his, you were well acquainted with the first Sisters of Saint Paul when they established themselves at Chartres; did Barbe Foucault, first Superior General elected by her Sisters, talk to you about Maric Anne de Tilly. about Father Chauvet ?

- "The Levesville foundation was born simply, under the eyes of God, in response to the material and spiritual needs of the villages in the Beauce. Father Chauvet, who had been well trained at the Seminary of Avignon, felt great concern for his parishioners. Marie Anne de Tilly was pious and attentive to the needs of the poor. The encounter of these two personalities contributed to the foundation of a Religious Institute.

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* Did Maric Anne suffer a great deal ? Why such opposition ?

- At that time, it was impossible to conceive that a young lady from the nobility should go and live with peasant girls. There was therefore opposition among the Landlords, but also among the peasants. The latter did not consider favourably the foundation of a Community which they would have to support materially. They feared a financial burden which would be too heavy for their modest means.

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* Did this opposition interfe.re with the young foundation ?

- I do not think so. On the contrary it allowed a greater development. Father Chauvet "realised that such an establishment could not survive in a village and presented it to Monsignor Paul Godet des Marais, his Bishop, who entrusted the care of this institution to Father Claude Mar6chaux, a doctor in theology from Sorbonne and archdeacon of Blois.

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* Where did the young Community set up in Chartres ?@

- The young Community established itself in the suburb of Saint Maurice in 1708; it extended "to several areas in the diocese, most of which were large enough, in order that they might serve later on as centres for other schools, the establishment of which had always been intended in the most abandoned places".

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*Why the small schools ?

- Father Chauvet, like Marie Anne de Tilly, had noticed that "most of the girls were unable to do anything. In order to remedy this situation they gathered a few girls together so that they could be trained and sent to the most abandoned areas, not only to teach catechism, reading and writing to the children, but also to work in a manner suitable to their age and sex".

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* How could the Sisters subsist without an income ?
- The school was free; right from the start the Sisters worked for their living, following the example of their patron Saint Paul. They knitted woollen bonnets and stockings for the peasants of Beauce. Their work was so well done that it sold well. That is why the Sisters had difficulties with the confederation of hosiers at Chartres: this led to a lawsuit and the Sisters were unable to obtain royal recognition of their Institute.
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*There are few documents on the foundation of the Sisters of Saint Paul. Fortunately you were the instigator of their Book of Resolutions ?

- I had considered it advisable to put in writing the commitments made by the Sisters so that they might be able to remember it. I asked them to sign one after the other in the same book in order that a sort of "memorial" might remain.

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* Could you cite some of their names ?

- "Sister Barbe Foucault from Fresnay I'EveCque. She was received at Levesville, she was the second of those first assembled by Father Chauvet. She administered the General Hospital of Mantes for several years, to the great satisfaction of its directors. She was the first to be elected by the Sisters to govern the Community. Sister Barbe carried out this task for nine years, with great wisdom and resolution; she died at the end of the year 1726, aged approximately 45 years, worn away by sollicitude, work and penance.

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*Are there no other names ?

- There are many others. 1 shall now mention only Sister Charlotte de la Tour, from the Parish of Saint Sulpice in Paris. She only lived ten years in the Community. Her radiant piety was so noticeable that she was accepted without going through any tests. She had been most helpful by her good examples and teachings. She was assistant, then secretary and for some time Mistress of Novices. She died on the 20th of February 1727.

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*Were you present at the first departure for Mission in 1727 ?

- Monsieur le Comte de Maurepas, Secretary of State, had asked His Excellency the Bishop of Chartres for some Sisters to look after the patients at the Hospital of Cayenne and to teach the children of that town. Four sisters were chosen from the large number of volunteers.

    Here are the names of the first four missionaries:

                - Marie Mdry from Nogent-leRotrou,
                - Madeleine Bilharam from Chatenay,
                - Marie Malaire from a place near Mantes,
                - FranQoise Taranne from a place near Nogent-le-Rotrou."
The first departure was followed by many others. Foundations in the Far East followed one another during the XIXth century. Between 1850 and 1950, 791 missionaries left for the West Indies and Guiana, and 941 missionaries for the Far East.

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  First House of the Sisters in Chartres.

 

 
 
 

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A few names among many others...

The Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres humbly serve their brothers and sisters in humble tasks where they are hardly noticed; their charity is known to God only. Among them however a few names stand out.

Sister Maria Rouyrre was born at Versailles on the 19th of September 1791. She entered the novitiate in 1816 and signed the Book of Promises on the 2nd of August 1818. "Sister Maria had anundaunted moral strength together with an incomparable kindness of heart." After having suffered at the Hospital of Dreux, she was transferred to Blois where she assumed different tasks before being appointed Superior of the House. With her sisters, she fought an epidemic of cholera, when she was appointed Superior General in 1834. After her mandate, she returned to Blois, but this time to the mental hospital. "There is no minor post at the service of the poor."

In October 1855 she was again unanimously elected Superior General. Mother Maria established 25 foundations in six years. At the end of her mandate, she remained at the Mother House. She passed away on the 14th of January 1869. Mother Maria took active part in the spiritual renewal of the Congregation. She wrote a great deal: "One must go to Godthrough faith: seek Him purely and serve Him well; more for Himself with unselfish love than for the satisfaction one could receive fromemotional solace." "Our aim is to save the souls through corporalcharity; the greater the misery of those we serve, the more we shall be rooted in our vocation."

Sister Beniamin Le Noel de Groussy was born in 1821 at Pdriers, in Normandy.

After being Mistress of Novices at Chartres, she sailed with her companions on the 20th of December 1858 for Hong Kong where they arrived on the 20th of June 1859. The long voyage during which Sister Benjamin wrote daily notes on her impressions, led them to the Home of the Holy-Childhood where the Sisters have been devoting themselves since 1848, at the request of Msgr For-cade. Sister Benjamin experienced difficulties in maintaining the essentially charitable aim of the apostolate of the Sisters.

The year of the arrival of Sister Benjamin at Hong Kong, His Excellency Msgr Lefebvre, Apostolic Vicar of Cochin-China, summoned the Sisters of Saint Paul to Saigon. Foundations followed one another in Indochina at an amazing rate. Sister Benjamin did not write a single letter to Chartres without asking for new missionaries. She made plans for a local novitiate to be set up in the country itself. At that time, the idea seemed hazardous. After much suffering, Mother Benjamin received satisfaction - her missionary soul had seen right -. In 1878, Mother Benjamin was constantly travelling over the vast apostolic field established in the Far East under her care.

At the age of sixty-two, she was struck in full activity by a pernicious fever. She died on the 20th of May 1884, regretted by all.

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Who are the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres ?

* Sister, you have belonged to the Congregation of the Sistersof Saint Paul of Chartres for nearly ten years. How do you seeyour Congregation today ? Are you different from the Sisterswho live in other continents ?
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- We are all Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres, united by the same ideal, the ideal of Maric Anne de Tilly and her companions. Our life is organised around three poles: prayer, fraternal life and apostolic service of the poor. Since the foundation of our Institute, we have been committed to the education of children, the care of the sick and the handicapped, and catechesis. The Congregation still responds to the needs of faraway missions.
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* Why are you called Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres ?Couldyour name not lead to confusion by suggesting that Saint Paul isa saint of the diocese of Chartres ?
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- It is true that this confusion is possible. In fact he is the Great Apostle, the Apostle to all Nations. In the first Rule written by Father Mardchaux, who died in 1716, Saint Paul is mentioned as Patron of our Congregation. We love his writings and Pope Paul VI gave us the second Epistle to the Corinthians as our Charter of apostolic life. With Paul we say "Christ is my life" and we want to become everything to everybody in order that Jesus Christ may be known to all.
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*Your companions are "Sisters". What does this mean in your Community relationships ?
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- We call ourselves Sisters because all together we form a religious community. Together we are unceasingly building our fraternal life through dialogue, sharing; this requires openness, simplicity, righteousness and goodwill, in order to accept ourselves as different, although we have a common ideal. Of course there may be difficulties among us but we are assured of the reciprocity of forgiveness towards one another.
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*Teaching children in schools, taking care of the sick in hospitals, do lay people not do this as well ?
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- Our life is dedicated to God in response to a calling. We live this consecration by serving children, whatever may be their capabilities. We take care of the sick in the same spirit, and we see the image of Christ Jesus in each one of them. Of course, we collaborate with the laity; it is indeed in complementarity with them that we undertake to promote the development of the human person in all its aspects, such as the physical and moral well-being of the sick, the handicapped and the old people.
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*Your life may seem some what austere, would young giris not hesitate to enter it ?
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- Young people are still generous today and the person of Christ remains attractive to those who have encountered Him. Seeking efficiency, power, pleasure is not worthwhile in the long run. Christ seduced Saint Paul, why could He not attract people to follow Him today? Life with Christ brings forth Peace, Joy in one's heart, in spite of the inevitable sacrifices existing in every human condition.
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Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres #1 
Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres #2 
 
Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres #3 
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How does one become a Sister of Saint Paul of Chartres ?

The itinerary of a vocation varies according to persons, but the stages of progression are usually the same.

The decision to follow the footsteps of Christ comes from the heart, seized by the love of God. It is the answer to an inner calling: "Come, follow me"... a strong impression which carries away will power and invites one to give, to offer herself. This is followed by a time of discernment during which the young girl enters into a regular relationship with a religious Community. She tries to clarify her motivations, her wishes, her fears as she considers religious life.

She finds means of developing her spiritual life by giving time to prayer, reading, receiving the sacraments. She participates in the life of her parish as actively as she possibly can.

Determined to reply to the calling she has heard, the young girl spends several months in community with the Sisters. This is the time of Postulancyduring which she is initiated to prayer, to fraternal life and to the service of the poor. The Postulancy is a period of transition which enables her to discover what is the life of a Sister of Saint Paul. Then, if the Postulant so wishes, she asks to become a novice.

The novice Sisters live in a novitiate as a fraternal community. The congregation has fifteen novitiates in the world. The French novitiate is located in Chartres. For two years the novices receive a formation which enables them to know and to live the demands of consecrated life. Study and meditation of the Holy Scripture, initiation to personal and community prayer, study of the Book of Life lead to a better knowledge of the Lord.

Phases of apostolic experience allow the novices to share totally the life of the Sisters, at the service of children, of the sick, according to the spirit of the Congregation.

After two years, the Novice prepares to make her Profession. The one-year commitment is repeated annually for five years; it has as its object the vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. These express the will of the Novice to be with God and to belong to Him without any reservations.

During this period of temporary profession, the young Sister takes her place in the life of a Community of Sisters of Saint Paul. She deepens her spiritual life and pursues her theological formation. She also undertakes professional studies if these are necessary.

Regular meetings of the young Sisters with their directness help them to strengthen themselves in the happiness of their vocation. This is theperiod of Juniorate in preparation for the act of Perpetual Profession.

Strengthened by the Love of the Lord, the Sisters then commit themselves permanently to the service of the Lord and of their brothers and sisters. They will go and give to the world the hope and joy of faith in the risen Christ, following the example of their patron Saint Paul.

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Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres #5 
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All over the world

In 1727, thirty years after their foundation, four Sisters of Saint Paul embarked for French Gulana. This was their first contact with the South American continent.

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The first missions

After sailing between sky and water during five months, still in their rough homespun habits and their linen head-dresses, they landed on the burning beaches of equatorial climate. This first journey will be followed by many others.

In 1770, six Sisters leave for the Mascareignes Islands, at the east of Madagascar. After the great turmoil of the French Revolution and the recognition of their Institute in 1802, the Sisters embarked again for Martiniquein 1817 then for Guadeloupe in 18 19. A succession of epidemics has caused losses among the Sisters. Unceasingly replacements had to be provided. For more than a century, the Sisters committed themselves to the service of those who were banished to Guiana, until they were stopped by the secularization laws at the beginning of the XXth century.

However, from 1848, the Congregation responded to the call of the Far East. The mission of Hong Kong was founded in 1848, Vietnamin 1860, Japan in 1878, Korea in 1888, Thailand in 1898, China in 1900, and thePhilippines in 1904.

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In the twentieth century

In 1930 the Sisters landed in Canada and in 1963 in the UnitedStates. The Sisters then left for Africa. They arrived in CentralAfricain 1950, Madagascar in 1955, Cameroon in 1965. That same year they reached Brazil, after founding the mission of Taiwan in 1960. Two years later, the Sisters were in Indonesia, they disembarked in Haiti in 1972. In 1980 the Congregation set up in Peru and in 1985 in Australia. It must also be added that England,Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy opened themselves to the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres in the course of the XXth century.

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A family without frontiers

The Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres form a large international family whose members are happy to get together. There are today about 4000 Sisters, dispersed in twenty eight countries. The Communities speak and pray in their respective languages: they live according to the culture and the customs of the different countries where they are established. The meetings on the occasion of studies or international sessions are all the more enriching.

Everywhere the Sisters live the Paulinian spirit of their congregation, in accordance with their Rule of life. The schools of the White Lily in Japan, the schools of Saint Paul in the Philippines, the schools of Saint Joseph in Thailand as well as the schools of France or Africa, prepare the youth for the future., whereas in the hospitals of Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Martinique and elsewhere, the Sisters endeavour, with the help of the most modern equipments, to alleviate the sufferings of their patients. We must add that all these efforts would be vain without the Charity which fills the hearts of the Sisters.

"What you have done to one of these most humble of my brothers, it is to Me that you have done it."
Matthew 25,40
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The Congregation is present in the Philippines. 
 
Peru: the eyes of a child are trusting when he feels loved. 

 
The Congregation is established in the Far East: here in Hong Kong. 
The Congregation is present in Vietnam. 
 
A school in Madagascar. Education is one of the prioriies of the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres. 
Concern for sanitaion in Cameroon. 
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Religious... Teacher... why ?

In the footsteps of the Daughters of the School

Saint Paul College of Dumaguete started in a very small wayin 1904. It was very much like the way the Daughters of the School of Levesville taught the children not only how to read and write, but also how to pray, to assist at Mass, and to know more about God. There was no Catholic school then, in that area of southern Philippines.

After 88 years, the small primary school has grown m size and population, and has moved out to a bigger campus. With the development of education, science and technology from 1696 to 1904 to 1993, how can Paulinian schools in the Philippines meet the requirements of government and private school accrediting institutions,. and at the same time keep alive the spirit of Father Chauvet's School in Levesville ?

The school community of Saint Paul College of Dumaguete divided itself into six groups. Each of the six groups had adopted a small village in the two depressed areas of Maslog and Agan-an situated a few kilometers away from the school. This was done with the assistance of the local goverrunent office for social welfare. Each group has a team to plan and follow-up the activities and projects scheduledduring the academic term for babies and children, the out of-school, the teenagers, the adults, specially young mothers, the sick and the aged.

The activities in the six villages range from the catechetical and religious, athletic and cultural, to functional literacy, backyard gardening and livestock raising, to sanitation and hygiene, home economics and small business. And the expertise of one group is shared with the others for the benefit of all the families in the six villages. The membersof each group go out to the village most of the time. On special occasions and activities, the villagers are invited to avail of the school chapel, auditorium, gymnasium or open ballfield.

This outreach program of the whole school helps to remind everyone to reach out to the brother or sister who is deprived and in need. It helps the Paulinian teachers and students to faithfully live out the school motto, which is: " Caritas Christi urget nos !"

Saint Paul College of Dumaguete is the first of 37 Paulinian Schools in the Philippines today. Every school has its own program for the poor. With the economic situation in our country, and the series of natural calamities we have recently experienced, we can say that the poor is always with us. We have all the possibilities therefore to keep alive the spirit of the "Daughters of the School" and to become more faithfully and authentically "Sisters of Charity".Without this spirit and identity, could any of our professional endeavors be of much value ?

May Father Louis Chauvet and Mother Marle Anne de Tilly, who was the first Paulinian teacher, intercede for us and for our education apostolate always!

Sister Theresina (Philippines)
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I am thankful to the Lord for my time spent with children and adolescents, for all the kindness, patience, forgiveness, Love of God which they have shown me.

In the school where I teach, they are the sunshine, the freshness of a new morning, the life which is bursting and the trust which fosters growth.

I like to watch them because they give themselves fully to the present day and above all, because they have no ill-feelings, a smile always appears on their radiant faces. I love them when, at the end of the day, they rush up to their mothers' arms.

Sometimes I can also encounter the suffering Christ on small, thoughtful faces, behind certain glances which reveal sadness and anxiety.

The young people whom I accompany in reflection groups hustle me and question me: "And you ?" They challenge me to commit myself, to explain the Faith within me. They push me forward when I see their joy of living and their generosity, their trust and their thirst for God. They call me to go along with them, to intercede for them when they are going through difficult situations: "God, come toour assistance, Lord, make haste to help us."

For the life which is here and which is growing: Thank You.

In darkness and in suffering, Lord, be their Light, their Guide, their Strength.

As the amazed witness of Your Grace, which is active within them, I praise You for having called me to Your service among this world of children and of adolescents.

Sister Claire (France)
"The Lord has entrusted me a part of His mission with the children." #1 

 
"The Lord has entrusted me a part of His mission with the children." #2 

 
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With the sick

At the sources of a project of love

"I arrived in Montreal in 1968 and very soon looked after physically handicapped persons who attracted me because of the greatness of their needs. I went to their homes to take care of them and help them as best I could... My wish to devote all my time to them became stronger and stronger. A dream grew within me: to open a house for these young people, a true "Welcome Family".

In May 1979, my project became a concrete reality. From the month of September I was able to give a home to a few young people. Soon their number reached a maximum: five boys and girls, all suffering from cerebral paralysis.

I have always had the support of my Community, of the parish priests and of the Social Services Centre which has helped me and supported me in my project. Very devoted "manual assistance" and volunteers have helped me in every way to make life and integration in society easier for these young people and to give them relaxation and leisure.

At present, four of these are on wheel chairs and two of them cannot eat alone... My wish for these young people is for a happy home, that they may have a house where they feel welcome, loved, and where physical and moral assistance is given to them. One of our objectives is to lead them to adulthood by developing their sense of human and christian values: and also to help them to live as much as possible in harmony wiht themselves.

During the last thirteen years, life with these young people has led me to great respect and to much love. We live in a climate of love, affection, listening, sharing and joy. We are very fond of singing and music. Those who work in the home, the friends, my sisters and the parish priests are a great support to me. This is a happy experience, even if I have sometimes wept ! But the word of God has always been my strength. With Him everything is possible !

I think that the Rising Sun Home is a stimulating life environment, favourable to the growth and the blossoming of every one of us. I continue my mission voluntarily with the same enthusiasm and the same earnestness as on the first day. I am happy to live with my friends and I believe that they can give the same evidence for me.

In order to ensure a continuity, the task undertaken in 1979 has been set up as a Corporation in 1988. During the Summer of 1989, many parishioners and friends of Our Lady of the Snow, have joined us to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Rising Sun Home."

Sister Claire (Canada)

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At the hospital

"The ringing of the telephone wakes me up in the staff room. It's Isabelle again, the Emergency nurse: "the ambulance is on its way with a road casualty, a motor-bike driver probably suffering from a fractured thigh bone." It is 3.20 a.m... Jesus...

The long corridors of the hospital are empty. I like the atmosphere of the night in this hospital.

The silence is only interrupted by the ringing of a bell somewhere. A fleeting feeling of solitude sends me my thoughts back to my Community.

My sisters must be asleep at this time. I know that they too have remembered me today. The certainty of these few seconds of union in prayer is so precious to me - I love my sisters.

I have nearly reached Emergencies. A pain somewhere in my stomach tells me that my outward calm hides a certain inner tension. Jesus, give me Your hand as you have so often done before. I shall then be able to give more than my knowledge or my experience when I meet thissuffering brother and who may perhaps be unpleasant. I am the doctor who takes action, You are the doctor who cures.

I can hear Isabelle's voice again, the slamming of the ambulance doors. The reality of the search for unity in my life confronts me, the search for Truth, for Jesus Christ. And I am in my element,like a fish in water."

Sister Marie-Madeleine (Switzerland)

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At the service of alcoholic patients

"Thanks to the experience and testimony of former patients, I have discovered the sickness caused by alcohol.

I have learned more from them than from my nursing studies or from doctors. Of course I had been told about the plague of alcohol. But the possibility of a cure had never been mentioned.

Since I have been interested in this problem, I have seen some extraordinary moments. What a joy for me to see some of my patients again, transformed, several months, sometimes several years, after their cure. They are no longer the same men or women. Homes find a new happiness. I have seen the case of divorced couples who have remarried a year after the recovery of one of them. This was twenty years a go and I still hear from them.

It is real happiness to hear certain testimonies. Pierre had said to me: "I am so happy that I have no regrets for the past." He was brimming with life and joy. He had given everything to others.He was constantly bringing patients to the hospital in order that they might set themselves free from their bondage.

It is thanks to him that I have been able to understand and to love this group of patients.

As Marion Cahour says, alcohol is a hard drug. It brings about tears of blood.

The Lord reaches down to the bottom of this distress of man and regenerates him by giving him a new life. This man finds again his dignity. He becomes once more a man standing on his own feet.

Transfiguration is the feast of the pilgrims of the Living Water, and disfigured men recover their faces of Children of God."

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Experience of a parish community without a priest

"Le Vauclin, a village of approximately 8000 inhabitants, is situated in southern Martinique, a small island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. in Central America. As in certain countries today, vocations have become few and far between and the diocese is lacking in priests.

Our Archbishop requested three sisters from our Provincial Superior to do parish work. On September 15, 1984, the Sisters settled in the presbytery for a new important and delicate mission. Theywere very warmly welcomed by the parishioners.

Chosen among members of adult movements, we have trained catechists, funeral celebrants, celebrants of the Word, of neighbourhood meetings,of liturgy, of the distribution of communion. Little by little, the parishioners have become aware of their responsibility to look after their parish.

From Monday to Friday evenings, we hold meetings in the different areas with animators on formation. We dedicate ourselves whole heartedly to this form of evangelization, trying to help our brothersand sisters to find Jesus Christ in their lives. There are many obstacles because one must learn to listen to oneself, to show mutual trust, to share theWord of God by trying to live in accordance with it.

In the midst of our brothers and sisters, we have many visitors and are unceasingly grateful. These visitors thirst for the Word, for Truth, for this warmth which is Charity. How many gestures of reconciliation, of conversion have resulted from these meetings!

"Go towards the poorest", is this not our charism ? This presence of small communities, especially in rural areas, has put an end to them ultiplication of sects and brought radiance in the parish."

Sister Lucie (Antilles)
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With the lepers at Ambika

"For years, I felt called by God to the service of the poorest and now God has given me this opportunity.

These poor people are struck in their human dignity of men and women by the disease called "leprosy". This disease goes as far as leaving an external scar on some of them, setting them apartin society. These men need Love to help them to live, they need to feel loved and looked upon; this Love can only come from God.

My joy was therefore great to go towards them to bring them a little love by being at their service, by bending over each one of them to contribute to the healing they expect and, thus, to transformtheir lives by turning this village into a family.

How grateful they are ! Though they are poor, their small gestures teach us to share... We receive the fruit of their crop: sweet potatoes, cassava, leafy vegetables, sugar cane, a hen given to them during their allowed visits to their families. One of them, a pagan, had found a picture of the Holy Virgin; inevidence of his gratefulness, he had this Virgin carved. It was such a surprise for me to receive this gift on the Ist of January

During his stay with us this patient had not expressed the wish to pray, but now, the picture of Mary has changed his life, and in a few months' time, he will be baptized in his own village."

Sister Lucie (Antilles)

 
With Sick 1#
With Sick 2#
With Sick 3#

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The Book of Life of the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres

The Book of Life shows the aims of the Community of Sisters and the spirit in which they live and work. Here are some extracts from this Book:@

"After the example of Saint Paul, spurred on by the Love of Christ, the Sisters make themselves all things to all men. Faithful to the humility of their origins, they want to live the poverty and simplicity of the Gospel. (Art. 2-3).

The Sisters show that they belong to the Lord by the gift of themselves to others. Their apostolic witness flows from their consecration and bears its imprint (Art. 12).

By the profession of poverty the Sisters manifest that they acknowledge God as their sovereign and only good. In him they place their hope and expect from his goodness the true riches of the kingdom of heaven (Art. 20).

Fraternal life is strengthened at the source of divine Love (Art. 36). it calls for the sympathetic sharing of joys and sorrows, cares and difficulties, work and apostolate with understanding and tact (Art. 39). The joy of the Community testifies to the Love of Christ in whose name the Community is gathered together (Art. 40). The Sisters participate each day in the Eucharistic Sacrifice and sing together the Prayer of the Church (Lauds, Vespers and Compline) (Art. 48).

Since their foundation, the Sisters have devoted themselves to education, to the care of the sick and the poor. The first object of their lives, is the coming of the Kingdom of God (Art. 6).

The Sisters draw from the inexhaustible resources of charity so as to effectively serve their brothers and sisters especially the most needy (Art. 1 7). The apostolic life of the Sisters draws its inspiration from the life and teaching of Saint Paul. The Sisters of Saint Paul are available to all without distinction. They adopt the language and adjust themselves to the culture and customs of different peoples or of different social environments (Art. 52).

The Sisters recognize and heed the signs of God in the world. They have at heart the salvation of all their brothers and sisters, whose call they hear and try to answer with discernment and generosity (Art. 53)."

Letter from Paul VI to the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of their first departure for mission.

"Trials have certainly not been lacking in the course of your long missionary apostolate. True disciples are not above their Master (Matthew 10: 17-25). These past and present trials are true echoes of those experienced by Saint Paul, your model and your protector, in his second Letter to the Christians of Corinth which could be considered as the Charter of your Congregation. But you also know that the Apostle, in the midst of his sufferings, overflowed with the joy and hope, unceasingly drawn from meditation and from the preaching of the Paschal Mystery."

John Paul II to the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres :

"I beg the Lord to support the efforts of each one of the Sisters in order that by their lives and by their works, they may unceasingly proclaim the good news brought by Christ."

"I encourage the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres to renew their missionary spirit for the great apostolate which they accomplish."

The Friends of Saint Paul@

The group of Friends of Saint Paul is composed of lay men and women who undertake to learn the spirituality of the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres in order to live according to it. This association is linked to the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Paul by promises which are renewed annually.

The Friends of Saint Paul undertake to work for the coming of the Kingdom of God, in union with the Sisters of Saint Paul, especially through prayer and the offering of their day.
 
 

The Friends of Saint Paul #1
The Friends of Saint Paul #2
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Conclusion

"I would like to share with you the reasons which I have found as the source of the vitality of your Institute, and the strength of your religious family.

I think first of all about the quality of the evangelical seed, the seed thrown to the ground: by being faithful to your Mission, it is not your task that you have accomplished, you have sown the seed mentioned by-Jesus, a divine seed which in itself has a very great power; whether it rains, or whether it is night time, the seed continues to germinate, to grow - as the parable says - because it is authentic. It has the dynamism of the Gospel which grasps the heart and makes it bring forth fruit.It becomes a great tree."

Monsignor Sejourne, Bishop of Saint Flour
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