February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, is set aside in our Church as a special day to pray for women and men in consecrated life. Saint Pope John Paul II instituted the World Day for Consecrated Life more than 20 years ago, in 1997. The choice of the day was intentional: this Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.
On the same day, February 2, in 1809, in Murviel, southern France, Apollonie Cure was born who, in religion, went by the name of Mère Saint-Jean and was the first Superior General of the Institute of Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. The letters she wrote show that she placed her strength in prayer, in constant recourse to Mary, in the consolation experienced in the daily Eucharist, in the intimate and abundant joy that often flooded her spirit, in the faith that she fulfilled God’s will. Mother Saint Jean was a woman full of courage and tenderness, a woman who gave herself – as a loving mother – to abandoned and orphan children, to women in prostitution, to young women in education, to her Sisters with whom she journeyed, to Fr Jean Gailhac. Her courage, compassion and tenderness made M. Saint- Jean a great woman! Also in our time and world today, these qualities of courage, compassion and tenderness continue to be essential for us RSHM and for all those who, throughout the world, work to promote and give Life.