Love and tiny fragility

There is always something rather miraculous about the survival and continued existence of a baby born prematurely, or with serious health problems. When that tiny fragility begins to grow and thrive, to run around, grow up, take its place in the world, then it is indeed lovely and wondrous to behold. And when that baby was born two months prematurely in 1779 - a time when infant mortality was high, even in the best of circumstances - to an ordinary family in a small town, while a fire raged nearby, then the miracle of survival is doubled. And when we recall that this baby ended up living, despite various accidents and ailments, for another 85 years, working hard, resolving problems and travelling long distances right to the end... then it is truly marvellous.

Today the Society celebrates the birth, in inauspicious circumstances, of St Madeleine Sophie Barat: a tiny fragility who not only grew and thrived, but who went on to found and direct our congregation until her death - seeing it, too, develop from a tiny fragility to over three thousand women educating even more girls and young women throughout Europe, North and South America and in North Africa.

But as I marvelled at this with Sophie, she drew my attention to something even more wonderful. Don't focus on the fact that I survived my birth, she whispered, focus rather on the fact that I survived Jansenism. Focus on the tiny fragility which came through an upbringing filled with fear and a forbidding God, and yet was called to know and reveal a Heart overflowing with love. And then focus less on my tiny fragility than on the Love in and by which I was created, for and by which I was strengthened and sustained. 

Love... that's the reason why I lived... Focus on that...


  1. Wonderful!!!!! Love the final message from Sophie!!!! Happy feast day to you all.


Post a Comment