“There is no historical record more complete, more magnificent, and more beneficial than the Litany of the Saints, which evokes and invokes all the great souls who have illuminated our earth and with their virtues have advanced humanity.” (Directory of Spirituality, 257).
On the first of November, 2017, Solemnity of All the Saints, Sr. Marie Notre Dame de Rouen Legere freely made an oblation to God of all of her being: so that she too may be a concrete footprint that the Trinity leaves in history (Cf. Const. 257), tending toward sanctity with all her strength, having “a great and very resolute determination to persevere until reaching the end” (Directory of Spiritualty, 42).
For this occasion, being the first profession of final vows in our Institute in France, human strength and the divine good will came together.
We had a beautiful ceremony, beginning with an impressive entrance procession comprised of the sister to profess, a legion of altar servers, the pastor, Fr. Antony del Castillo, IVE, and our bishop, Msgr. Rey. The song, intoned by the choir, stressed that “today is a feast day”. For this feast, the family of Sr. Rouen came from the United States, and we could also receive Mother María Corredentora, General Superior, Mother María Sponsa Amabilis, General Councilor responsible for our Province, and the Provincial Superior, Mother María de la Contemplación. The faithful paid close attention to the ceremony, which was printed in a booklet made for the occasion. As the French soul is distinctly delicate, this allowed the people to understand the rituals very profoundly. One woman commented: “This is much more than a wedding. I married the best husband, but it is only a man, flesh and blood, and until death. She chose the best Spouse, and it shall be for all eternity”. The incense truly represented the prayers that were elevated to heaven during the solemnity. Several persons confessed that they had shed a few tears during the litany of saints, the recitation of the vows, or during the coronation. Another said: “This really was an anticipation of heaven”. The power of a well prepared liturgy was clearly seen. From it “grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end” (Const. 137).
Particularly moving was the song “Sicut Cervus” sung at the moment of the offertory, which expresses the desire of the newly professed, who had chosen for her holy card the verse of Psalm 42: Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum ita desiderat anima mea ad te Deus.
When the Holy Mass finished, we continued the feast with the typical French appetizers and delicacies, and the wedding cake. But the feast would not have been complete without our customary entertainment. And here, again one could see the joyful family spirit which characterizes our mission in France. The children from the school had prepared songs for the newly professed, writing lyrics especially for her. Also, God desired to show His pleasure: even though there was not a drop of rain, God, who above all laws of nature, demonstrated His power, placing a rainbow in the sky during the feast, symbol of His Covenant with humanity, sign of His Covenant with the newly professed. All Saints Day was, here in France, a feast on earth, celebrated by heaven, and an anticipation of the great feast to which we are all called.
From feast to feast, to the Great Feast,
Sisters of the Community St. Mary Magdalene
Missionaries in France