Saints and Saint-Sulpice

 
Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame

The date of 12 January marks the memorial of Saint Marguerite BOURGEOYS, especially for the Sulpicians of the Province of Canada.

Saint Marguerite was born in Troyes (France) on 17 April 1620. As she matured, she wished to consecrate herself to the Lord’s service and elected to go to New France (Canada) to teach children at Ville-Marie (Montreal). Within a short time, a small community of other dedicated women formed around her, and in 1669, Mgr François de Montmorency-Laval, Bishop of Quebec, formally approved the founding of the community, whose statues were officially approved in 1698. Over time, she experienced considerable opposition and misunderstanding, and she died in voluntary obscurity on 12 January 1700.

Agnès de Jésus

On October 19 each year the Sulpicians rejoice with the Dominican Sisters of Langeac (France) in celebrating the memorial of Blessed Agnès de Jésus who was instrumental in fostering the priestly vocation of Sulpician founder, M. Jean-Jacques OLIER. 

Born on 17 November 1602 in Puy-en-Velay, France, Mother Agnès entered the newly established Dominican monastery at Langeac at the age of 21. She became Prioress only four years later. Although her life was short-lived, she had an incredibly rich spiritual life and strongly believed in promoting priestly vocations in the Church. Mother Agnès died on 19 October 1634 at the age of 31. Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Agnès on 20 November 1994, and she has become known in France as “the spiritual mother of seminaries.”

In one of her letters to Father Olier Mother Agnès wrote poignantly about the power of the cross:

“Much more love is necessary before one is favored with the cross. Ah! Grace! Ah! Inestimable favor! How I long to acquire you! Sweet Savior of our souls, make us worthy of this grace, if it pleases you. Pull us out of ourselves so that we may be all for you. O Love, our only hope, our total refuge, our complete desire, make us worthy of this cross: grant us the favor of dying on it.” (From the Sulpician Ordo, Fasc. IV.A, p. 13)

 

St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort

April 28 holds another special place on the Sulpician liturgical. It is the feast day of a famous priest-preacher, St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, who attended the newly established “Little Seminary of Saint Sulpice” in Paris.

 

Born in the village of Montfort-sur-Meu in Brittany in 1673, De Montfort arrived in Paris at the age of twenty and began studies at the Sorbonne, where he lived the life of an impoverished student. He then entered the seminary of Saint Sulpice in Paris and was ordained a priest in 1700, celebrating his first Mass in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church of Saint Sulpice.

 

De Montfort was highly influenced by the spirituality of Sulpician founder Jean-Jacques Olier, from whom he also took an emphasis on the Cross and on devotion to the Virgin Mary. He also became renowned for his apostolic zeal and for preaching many missions among the poor throughout his ministry in the West of France, in his native Brittany. He especially promoted devotion to the rosary and wrote both poetry and treatises on spiritual themes, especially centering on Mary.