Heritage and Spirituality
Ir. Rosa de Lima Pereira, RSCM
In our calendar of important dates of the RSHM, the 4th of March records the death of our dear Sister St. Jean, who with Father Gailhac, gave birth to our Institute, from the GIFT received from God by Father Gailhac.
On the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of our Institute, in 1999, I had the opportunity to hear a conference given by our dear Sister Mary Milligan, RSHM on Sister St. Jean. And Sister Mary referred to Apolonie – our Mere St. Jean – as the “woman of the three exoduses”! In fact, her life was equally divided into three “vocational” periods: 20 years as a young woman, 20 years as wife of Eugene Cure, and 20 years as RSHM, being then our First Superior General.
In her formative conference, Sister Mary Milligan has convinced me forever of certain traits that describe this WOMAN OF FAITH AND ZEAL, throughout her 60 years:
- From the first part – her first 20 years: Mary presented to us a well-educated girl, gifted, an only daughter with three brothers, having attended high school, as a boarding student, in a school conducted by women religious, – “Dames de Saint-Maur”. She suffered the loss of two brothers, reaching adulthood with only one.
Through her family, Apolonie met Eugene Cure, whom she came to marry.
- From the second part – of her 20 years of marriage – Mary presented to us the second exodus of Apolonie, which was the death of her parents, within only two months, just before her marriage. Her support, her consolation, was her decision not to fixate on suffering, choosing to weave her life with that of Eugene, her husband.
- The third part – after the death of Eugene – Mary introduced us to the “promise” cultivated by the Cure couple that, according to tradition, if one of them were to die, the other would commit to God in the priesthood or in religious life.
On November 4, 1848, Eugene died suddenly.
Sister Mary Milligan tells us: “We can imagine her many tears for her dear husband … A loss, a choice, a call to life! … And so on February 24, 1849, this courageous, generous, and intelligent woman made this exodus …associating with the dreams of Father Gailhac, thus beginning the history of the Institute of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, having in Apolonie its first Superior General, receiving the name of Mere St. Jean.
We close this little sharing with the words of Sister Mary Milligan, referring to that DAY OF MARCH 4, 1869:
The final exodus of Mere St. Jean is the one we will all experience.
She entered into the extraordinary mystery
throughout her life, she always chose.
French article below: