Obligations Towards God and Our Neighbor
The Servant of God in a heroic way made an effort to bring glory to God. By a special grace, she understood very early the right of the Creator over His creatures and that everything has to be related to God. From then on, during her whole life all her thoughts, all her words and all her actions were focused towards this single aim.
Her understanding of the worship of God can be seen clearly in her way of praying, in her collectedness, in her humble attitude, in the mortification she imposed on herself in all circumstances in order to make this attitude more worthy of the presence God, an attitude which impressed everybody who approached her and which led them to God.
The Servant of God had such a zeal for the sanctification of Sunday and she suffered a lot seeing young people amusing themselves mainly on this day in a way that was very dangerous for their souls that she asked Father Reichard to permit the recitation of the Rosary on Sunday evenings. She went to all the houses of the parish to persuade people to come to the Church at the time agreed upon. She had the habit of decorating the altars, no matter how tired she was.
She honored Mary with a very remarkable devotion. She had absolute trust in the power of her intercession and invoked her in all circumstances; she celebrated her feasts with deep devotion – she dedicated her Congregation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She dedicated to her the altar of the original convent and had written on the doors: “Oh Mary, conceived without sin”.
She gave the Rosary as the first rule to her Daughters. She recommended that they should turn to Mary in all circumstances and especially at the occasion of conversion of sinners. She talked about Mary in a way which promoted a strong and profound devotion and total trust in her.
Mother Alphonse Maria had a very ardent devotion to her patron saints, St. Teresa and St. Alphonsus de Liguori. She wanted to imitate St. Teresa in her love for God and her patience in suffering. St. Alphonsus inspired her through the particular nature of his institute which was consecrated to the most poor and abandoned. St. Joseph was chosen as the main protector and consequently the Sisters turned to him in all their needs; all the extraordinary help at the beginning of the Congregation received was attributed to him. His veneration as a provider and protector always remains a great honor in the Institute. The Servant of God also had great devotion to her guardian angel. In the Original Rule of the novitiate, there was written: “The Sisters’ first thought must be to give themselves completely to Our Lord, to invoke the Virgin Mary, their patron saints and their guardian angels.”
She gave to the Holy Father, Pope Pius IX marks of veneration, of filial devotion, expressed in her words, in her ardent and continual prayers towards heaven at the occasion of the trials of the Holy Church in the person of its head, in the sufferings she joyfully accepted in order to obtain heavenly help for the persecuted pontiff. She professed total obedience to the supreme Magisterium (the teaching Church). Father Reichard testifies: “She also recommended the perfect obedience she practiced with such fidelity, to the children towards their parents, to the parishioners towards their priests, to the priests towards their bishops, to everybody towards the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church”.
She ardently wished the approbation of the Statutes by the Holy Father: “O, how I aspire and wish from the Holy See the approbation of our Statutes. May God remove all obstacles and grant us this grace!”
She expressed a joy beyond comparison when this approbation was given.
The Servant of God was perfectly aware of everything she had received from her parents, above all that they had given her the Catholic faith, that they had taught her truths of the religion, that they had given her the example of an honest and very Christian life. She thanked them through complete surrender in everything that was not against God’s order. She obeyed them by going to work every morning as they commanded her to and against the powerful attraction she felt to attend the Holy Sacrifice at Mass. When she was sick, she suffered because she could not give her family her share of work and service. She looked after her parents as far as the Rule of her Institute permitted her. At her Father’s death, she offered to suffer anything God wanted in order to deliver him from purgatory.
The Servant of God fulfilled her duties to justice without making exceptions. She wanted her work to be above all in the service of the poor, but she did not neglect the rich, who also have their needs. She received all her visitors with the same affability; none was refused.
She said to her Daughters: “Rich or poor, you are all equally dear to me. I only look at your vocation and your fidelity in responding to the divine graces. I must not value destitution or treasures, and through God’s grace, […] I do not value one of the children our Lord gives to me […] more than the other”.
She does not make differences between races or nations: “It can be observed that the religious spirit is the spirit of Jesus Christ, that this spirit is the same for all countries and all peoples, that it can exist with the character and customs of all nations. The care the Sisters give to the sick is the same for the suffering humanity in all countries.”
She always behaved with liberality and generosity. She did not permit the Sisters to ask any remuneration for their care. She did not ask the postulants for a dowry, she only accepted what was offered. She wanted the Sisters to take the poor abandoned sick in their houses. She had a supplementary ration distributed to the workers. If the sick did not have sheets and bed-linen, she brought them some or made Sisters bring them. She fed the poor, although she did not have any reserves.
The Servant of God was kind to everybody, even when she suffered exceedingly. Father Reichard testifies: “She is kind in spite of her sufferings.” “Mother Alphonse Maria suffers, same gentleness, same affability.” “The happy mood on the face of the Superior can also be seen constantly in her Daughters.” “She expressed gratitude for all services rendered.”
Her words and actions were always true and sincere. She was sincere and straightforward towards the guide of her soul and did not hide anything from him, although it was extremely tough for her to have to tell him everything. She made a vow to reveal to him everything. She incessantly prayed for having this uprightness of conscience: “Grant me the grace to know myself and the obstacles opposing Your grace at work in my soul. Show me these obstacles in such a way that I can be open about them towards my confessor. Then help me through my confessor’s mediation so that I can remove these obstacles.”
She was truthful to the people who came to her to ask her advice and to whom, under the inspiration of grace, she had to reveal their vices, their lapses, and their faults. No matter how much it cost her, she did not disguise the truth in any way and did it with the greatest charity. Many conversions followed this openness. She was truthful to her Daughters, and she reprimanded them for their mistakes without diminishing their seriousness. She wanted a will power which could be said to be heroic to form them according to the ways of truth, no matter what it cost her.