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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Message from Sr. Leonora, Provincial | Novena Day 7

Message from Sr. Leonora, Provincial | Novena Day 7

Day 6: Praying for those with financial difficulties
In the early days of our congregation, many stories are told about Blessed James Alberione’s tremendous faith in God’s care for the growing numbers of young men and women who were following him in the Daughters of St. Paul and the Society of St. Paul. One story that stands out for me is a conversation that the young founder had with the sister in charge of the chicken coop. Alberione asked her, “Were your hens good today? How many eggs did they lay?” She told him that there had been only a few eggs that day, not enough to feed the community. It was cold, autumn, and a very unfavorable season.

Blessed Alberione responded, “Listen. Go and gather all your hens together and tell them that this is not good. We have not decreased in number; rather we have increased. Therefore, the eggs must also increase, not decrease. Will you do this?”

The sister responded that she would, and the next morning while feeding the chickens, she gave the hens a little sermon, even threatening them with ending up in the pot should they not obey the founder! That evening when she went to the henhouse, she was surprised to fill a large wicker basket with eggs. Excited, she immediately went to show them to Father Alberione. In his typical brief manner, he answered her, “There’s enough eggs, I see, for everyone. Now go and thank the Lord and don’t complain.”

That was more than half a century ago. I smile, because it seems that the same situation repeats itself year after year in our congregation all over the world. 

Our founder told us it would be better to be in debt than to be settled and safe with everything we needed. And that’s just the way it has been, ever since the beginning.

So here we are in 2016… and things haven't changed all that much. We are still totally dependent on Divine Providence for everything we need, just as the founder predicted we would be. So I find myself repeating the words of Blessed Alberione to my sisters: trust, and don’t be afraid. Just give everything you are and all that you have to the daily work of our mission and prayer, and you will see that God will provide for us also. And he does just that, through the persons he has chosen to participate in our mission through works of charity, prayer and evangelization.

I personally have been stationed in the US, in Germany, and in Russia. In every country, over and over again, I have realized that there is absolutely no way that the mission of the Daughters of St. Paul—or of the Church, for that matter—could go ahead without women and men who understand that the world today needs Jesus. 

It’s true that we give up many things to follow our vocation, but you also give up many things to truly live yours in the Church. 

I want you to know how valuable you are to the Church, to Jesus, and to us. We are unable to perform our mission alone. Together we are Church, together we are apostles, together we do good and extend the kingdom of Christ on earth.

Would you consider helping us replace our generator this year? As I watch some of our sisters who are very elderly, I’m concerned that if one or more of them were to become oxygen-dependent, or if we needed emergency assistance during a blackout, we would be in a very difficult situation and unable to respond adequately. This is one of the concerns that weigh heaviest on my heart.

I personally want to thank those among you who have already given so generously to helping us replace our generator

I’m afraid I’ve gone on too long here, but I wanted to end with a thought from our founder. "All who collaborate will receive the reward of an apostle,” he wrote. “The Lord will not make any distinction. He will give the reward according to the love with which it [the offering] was made. The merit belongs to all those who collaborated.” This is an echo of the words of Jesus himself, "He who helps an apostle will receive the reward of an apostle."

Know that you are certainly in my heart and in my prayers, and in those of all our sisters. God bless you!

Sr. Mary Leonora Wilson, FSP
Provincial of the Daughters of St Paul
United States and English-Speaking Canada

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