He summoned the twelve and began to send them out two by two.
There was a reason Jesus sent the disciples out two by two. I think it was because doing anything of lasting value on our own is very hard, if not impossible. We need an ally, a trusted confidant, a partner in crime. Two heads are better than one (if it’s the right one anyway).
This was true for St. Julie. How much harder would her road have been without her closest friend and steadfast supporter, Françoise? Thankfully, we’ll never know.
At first glance, it would seem unlikely that two people so different from each another would form a collaboration so strong it couldn’t be shaken. St. Julie’s family knew deepening poverty as she grew up and was educated in a village school. Françoise was the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat whose friends included Madam Elizabeth of France, the sister of Louis XVI. She was educated by governesses and attended private schools.
They both faced and endured persecution from French Revolutionaries who sought to imprison or kill them. They both withstood war, violence, hardships, and deep sorrow. Perhaps most painfully, they were later betrayed by friends, priests, and bishops.
What they did share was a deep love of God and a desire to be led wherever God might take them. Despite it all and with complete trust in God’s goodness, they educated poor children, prepared children and adults to receive the sacraments, and provided spiritual advice to those who sought it. Throughout it all, they continually made known God’s goodness in word and deed.
Would either St. Julie or Françoise been able to accomplish this alone? Maybe, but I can’t imagine how.
Their friendship is more than a great story of unwavering faith, courage, patience, determination, and total trust in God. It’s just one building block upon which the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur was founded.
It’s a story the Sisters continue to live out every day. Together as volunteers, we live it out alongside them.
It’s hard to do anything of lasting value alone. Thankfully, we don’t have to.
Be well. Do good.
Director of Volunteer Engagement