Coimbra May 2022
Dear Father Jean Gailhac
In 1890, you concluded your journey through earthly life, now enjoying the fullness of Life in God. Everything for you is LIGHT, BEAUTY and LOVE. Sometimes I ask myself how it will be to look at and follow, from the heart of the Trinity, the Institute of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary that you founded in 1849 to help you realize your great dream on earth: “To know God and make God known, to love God and make God loved, to proclaim that Jesus Christ has come so that all may have life” (Cf. Const. 7). Do you see it as a living account of the Good News of the incarnation, death and resurrection of the Word on this earth?
When I recall aspects of your history in this world and reread your opportune and adequate letters to the living reality of the sisters and the RSCM communities to whom you addressed yourself, I am captivated by the interior fire that moved you, the unbreakable faith that made you cross mountains, the boundless love with which you embraced the mission to which you were called, and the care to instil the same spirit in the heart of every religious.
Having Jesus as your only model, you practised what you said, giving credibility to your total surrender to God and to the service of your weakest brothers and sisters; you faced good times and not so good ones, keeping your mind on what was essential – the will of God that you tried to listen to in prayer and in the surrounding reality; you encouraged the Sisters to centre their lives in the hearts of Jesus and Mary, because there they would find unity, encouragement, and a proper way of living humble relationships with others: simplicity, compassion, mercy, closeness, gratuity, justice, peace.
I thank you, because you have seen very far, leaving us the appealing perception that the dream is always beyond the dreamer, not only as something to be achieved, but also as a stimulating energy on the journey. As it was for yourself, so it may be for those who embrace a similar life journey. In one of your letters, you say: “There is no rest on God’s path. To stop would be to lose everything”. I like very much this idea of permanent fidelity to the calls of God on life’s journey. Today, it is we – RSCM – who try to welcome and make known the legacy you left us. The dream continues!
In this globalised world, in continuous change, turned to technology, to power, to the wealth of some…and extreme poverty of others, it is urgent that we show God’s action in time, accepting the challenge to expand our ever present charism, to collaborate with others, to be new, to be creative, to simplify structures, to strengthen fraternity and solidarity, to respect all creation, to care for the poorest and most fragile.
I am sure that you are with us and bless our steps.
With affection and gratitude,
Maria Antonia, RSCM