I am not trying to be biased and over-emphasizing education this month but Julia just happens to come the day after John Baptist de la Salle. But that is not a reason to dismiss her for her example is perhaps even more inspiring. Foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame, her sisters assist in education, especially of the poor, all over the world.
Having been served and taught by this order, I have to admit I did not appreciate them until later. At the time I failed to understand their dedication, their rule, or their love but I can now say, with maturity and hind-sight, that they molded and taught me with patience and enthusiasm; they also created an environment of high quality spiritual and secular education.
All that said, Julia did not set out to create a teaching order or even an order for that matter. Her whole life from an early age she dedicated to the Eucharist and to teaching others about Christ. Even after paralysis struck her, she would teach children gathered about her bed. This was her call. It was others who formed the order around her, those who saw her daily vision and efforts and wanted to transform it into something bigger. Like me though, many in post-revolution France did not appreciate her service and confused those who serve the Church with her corrupt leaders; she lived during danger, war, and persecution, but served Christ through it all. It is a harrowing tale that you should take some time to familiarize yourself with.
We must be aware that we follow Christ as individuals but that we follow him within his Body. Do not do things for vain glory but for Christ and you will allow him to influence the world through you, even down to the smallest individual who looks back with gratitude and a bit of shame.
Do not be troubled at your losses; keep very calm and quiet, no one could have foreseen what has happened. Never can you thank God enough for having been preserved from much worse misfortunes. Many times a day my heart flies to you, and this forced delay is no little sacrifice to me. Let us stand firm in all our vicissitudes and trials, seeking only the greater glory of God. Oh! would to heaven, would to heaven that we had as much love for God as we have for ourselves! Simplicity is the true way to find God. Let us get ready for death by a life which is all for God and our duty. Grace has its moments, and passes quickly—let us be very faithful to it. Oh my daughter, how much we need to watch over ourselves if we are to acquire the habit of living in God's holy presence, that habit so necessary to our spiritual advancement!
-- From a letter to the convent of Fleurus, after it being pillaged
Things to Think About