Feast of St. Julie Billiart (April 8)   Leave a comment

SAINT JULIE BILLIART, A.K.A. SAINT JULIA BILLIART (July 12, 1751-April 8, 1816)

Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Born into a farming family in France, St. Julie Billiart dedicated her life to teaching and serving the poor when she was fourteen years old.  “The Saint of Cuvilly” lost the use of her lower limbs for twenty-two years.  The apparent cause of this paralysis was delayed nervous shock after someone fired a shot at her father when she was twenty-two years old.  While confined to her bed, the saint received communion daily, prepared children for first communion, made altar linens, and devoted herself to contemplative prayer.

It is true that the French Roman Catholic establishment supported the oppressive, Absolutist monarchy, hence the Revolutionary hostility toward Holy Mother Church.  Yet two wrongs do not make a right, and the persecution and martyrdom of many faithful Catholics was unjustified.  Thus, in 1790, St. Julie Billiart rallied faithful Catholics at Cuvilly to oppose the local priest, who supported the new regime.  She also helped fugitive priests find safe harbors.  Thus, for the sake of her own safety, she relocated to Compiegne then Amiens then Bettencourt then Amiens again.  All along the way the saint continued her prayers and good works.  At Bettencourt she met Father Joseph Varin, who helped her establish the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, devoted to teaching girls, poor children, and religious educators, in 1803-1804, at Amiens.

In 1804, after saying a novena to the Sacred Heart, St. Julie Billiart was healed of her paralysis.  Restored to physical wholeness, the saint spent the remainder of her years building up her nascent religious order.  A subsequent Bishop of Amiens was hostile to her work, but the saint relocated to Namur, Belgium (hence Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur), where the bishop was supportive.  So the good work continued.

St. Julia Billiart died in 1816, while repeating the Magnificat.  Pope Piux X beatified her in 1906 and Pope Pius VI canonized her in 1969.  Her deeds confirmed her frequently repeated words, “How good is the good God.”

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GREGORIO ALLEGRI, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT APOLLONIA, MARTYR AT ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BLAISE OF SEBASTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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My Collect and Lections:

Blessed Lord of compassion, we thank you for the love of you that St. Julie Billiart demonstrated by her life of prayer and service, of good words and works.  May her example, shining brightly these many years after her death, enkindle in us the flame of love and devotion to you and service to our fellow human beings, for your glory and the benefit of other.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 116

1 Corinthians 13

Luke 1:46-56

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Novena Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Jesus, Savior of the world,

in your Holy Gospel you tell us:

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you” (Matthew 7:7).

Moved by your divine promises,

I come before you to ask

(Here we state our needs.)

I address you as my Savior,

Whose heart is an inexhaustible source of grace and mercy.

Sacred Heart of Jesus,

friend of the human race,

consoler of the afflicted,

strength of those overwhelmed by their trials,

light of those who walk in darkness

or in the shadow of death,

I put my whole trust in you.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

AMEN.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have (cross yourself) mercy on me and mine.

AMEN.

From Novenas:  Prayers of Intercession and Devotion, edited by William G. Storey (Chicago, IL:  Loyola Press, 2005), page 35

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