New Traumas To Bear

Julie found it difficult to be so far from home. It devastated her to be unable to go home to help her family or to comfort her mother when her father died. She worried for brave friends who had put themselves in danger to protect her. And she mourned deeply the deaths of her friends, the Carmelite Sisters at Compiegne. Revolutionists had beheaded the sixteen nuns at the guillotine.

Julie’s sadness and worry took further tolls on her debilitated body, and she suffered a new paralysis that caused her to lose the ability to speak.

A vision, a dream 

During these dark days in Compiegne, Julie experienced a vision. In it she saw a group of religious women gathered around Jesus. There were dressed in distinctive habits and veils, and wore crosses. Julie said God tol

d her that these Sisters were to become her spiritual daughters. She must have wondered, how could a woman as disabled as she be chosen by God to establish a religious congregation.

Two years later, Julie moved to a small apartment in Amiens. Another noblewoman who visited Julie in Cuvilly had invited her to stay there. It was here that the foundation of a new religious congregation soon began to take shape.

Friends change everything

 Viscountess Francoise Blin de Bourdon with St. Julie PictureOne day, at the suggestion of a mutual friend, a member of the aristocracy -- Viscountess Francoise Blin de Bourdon -- visited Julie in Amiens. When Julie saw Francoise approach her bed, she said “I saw you at Compegne,” referring to her vision of nuns gathered around Jesus.

Francoise was thoroughly confused by Julie’s greeting. In addition, she was repelled by Julie’s disabilities and her garbled speech. It was not the best of beginnings.

But Julie immediately admired and enjoyed Francoise, who came with a character that was genuine, spiritual and strong. And as time passed, Francoise came to know and appreciate Julie’s deep faith and loving spirit, and the two women became close.

Another new friend, Father Varin, began to visit Julie after hearing her remarkable story. He declared that she must have been destined to do some special work in the name of God. Despite her difficulties speaking, Julie carried on a conversation with the priest about relations and her faith. Gradually, through this unusual speech therapy, Julie regained the ability to speak normally.

The children came first