21 September: Birthday of Marie Madeleine d’Houët


It is with quiet endearment that I recall the events of my day today, Saturday 21 September 2013 – the anniversary of the birth of FCJ founder, the Venerable Marie Madeleine d’Houët.

Much like the post I wrote on her feast day, I had plans and desires to ‘make something’ of the day, if not physically by attending Mass with the Sisters in the Epping North community (after which was a short presentation given by Sr Maureen on the life of Marie Madeleine), then praying or reflecting more deeply on her life and legacy. It was a day of celebration for me, and also for the Sisters who have been such gracious companions to me in my role as Mission and Identity Promoter.

My husband and I made our way across town, (and then some!) to join the Sisters in thanksgiving. But when we got there, we received a phone call notifying us that my husband’s aunt was in hospital in a coma, “unlikely to last through the night.” So naturally, off we went again, this time to the hospital, sadly missing out on Mass and the presentation. Would this day come and go without anything ‘special’ to show for it?

Of course not! It was already beautiful in the way the setting sun dripped through the clouds. And as it grew dark, the lights from the highways and CBD enchanted me like the sighting of a circus tent. And although I missed out on meeting the Sisters, I knew I had to be present at the hospital, if nothing else then for moral support.

Somberly we arrived at the hospital, at the same time as my husband’s parents, unsure of what was going to happen but steady in our resolve to be there. We prayed the chaplet and called for a priest to give dear Kathy the anointing. My husband and I left soon after, but on the way to the car, we found the chapel and I saw this:

Alfred Hospital window, Keeping-Company.com

A window panel from the original Alfred Hospital, Melbourne.

Although our aunt’s situation is critical and we suspect her last days are upon us, being there and at prayer was peaceful. I like to think that Marie Madeleine would be pleased – I imagine, with her gentle smile. Yet even so, there it is, portrayed so beautifully in the window panel – the charism of the Sisters and the Companions-in-Mission – in waiting, watching, praying and being with the other, whomever in need.

So I close now, with thanks for the life of Marie Madeleine d’Houet, with thanks to God who called her to all she did in her life, and with thanks to the Sisters of the Faithful Companions of Jesus who in their hearts, desire daily that they will walk with us.

Happy birthday, beautiful lady!

Written by Geralyn Tan.

5 thoughts on “21 September: Birthday of Marie Madeleine d’Houët

  1. Thank you so much for a beautiful reflection! Many Blessings, Sr. Ann Marie FCJ Calgary

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