February 2nd, 2022
February 2nd is a date of triple importance for Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and our Associates. First of all, in 1804, 218 years ago, our congregation began when St. Julie, Françoise Blin de Bourdon and Catherine Duchatel consecrated themselves to God and promised to devote their lives of service to educating poor girls free of charge. Catherine left soon after that due to poor health. Others came to help with this mission.
Secondly, On February 2nd, 1806, Julie had a vision during prayer that her sisters would serve people all over the world. In these past two centuries, many women have followed God’s call to serve as consecrated women religious on five continents in the footsteps of Julie and Francoise, living the Gospel of Jesus and proclaiming Julie’s charism of the goodness of God. What a privilege it is to be a daughter of St. Julie and a sister of Mary!
The third reason this date is significant is that February 2nd is World Day for Consecrated Life. In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted this special day on the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Candlemas Day on which candles, which symbolize Christ as the light of the world, are blessed to be used in churches throughout the year. Pope John Paul II started this yearly remembrance to give thanks for those who live Consecrated Life in the Church in our world and who are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.
There are a number of forms of consecrated life, among them are religious life, which includes those who live in contemplative or apostolic orders. There are also men and women hermits, secular institutes, apostolic societies and consecrated virgins, who live in the world, take vows to God and serve under a local bishop.
So let us celebrate February 2nd with our sisters and associates throughout the world giving thanks for the legacy of Julie and Francoise which continues to be alive and well in our world today. Let us also be grateful for all who live consecrated life and pray for more women and men to answer this call to be Christ’s light in the world today.
Sister Stephanie Thompson, SNDdeN
Ohio Province Vocation Director