The life’s motto of the Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer, Blessed Alphonse Marie, Eppinger were three words, ”Be silent, suffer and pray!” These words she received from her Divine Redeemer, when He drew her Himself with the rope of love into intimate communion with Him.
When Holy Father Francis, by the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (With a Father’s Heart) on December 8, 2020, announced “Year of St. Joseph”, he introduced St. Joseph, beside other qualities, as one whose “patient silence was the prelude to concrete expression of trust.” Likewise, Blessed Alphonse Marie, in silence, prayer and suffering knew God’s plan with her, to found a new congregation, which would take care of the needy. She placed all her hope in God’s hands. When she founded the Congregation, Jesus rewarded her hope and gave her a powerful patron, St. Joseph. Sister Joseph-Marie Perin in the book “The Life of Mother Alphonse-Marie” writes that the Savior said to her, “Behold, my daughter, my Father, St. Joseph, will be the special protector and patron of this house, This Order will receive many graces through his intercession, yes, very special graces.” (PERRIN, J.: The Life of Mother Alphonse-Marie, p. 62)
On the occasion of “Year of St. Joseph”, Pope Francis, through a Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, granted plenary indulgences. The Decree says also about St. Teresa of Avila, who recognized in St. Joseph the protector of all the circumstances of life.
One certain morning Blessed Alphonse Marie prayed during the Holy Mass to St. Alphonsus as the protector of the Congregation, she heard a voice from the St. Joseph altar, which directly said to her, “It is not St. Alphonsus but St. Joseph who is the protector of this house. He will preserve the good spirit of the house and no one will be able to harm it. In order to guide and direct this Congregation, you will receive the same graces as St. Teresa. As St. Teresa, so also Blessed Alphonse Marie, saw St. Joseph as the builder of the work which was entrusted to her” writes Joseph-Marie Perin in her book “The Life of Mother Alphonse-Marie”.
In what way are St. Joseph and Blessed Alphonse Marie near to each other, and what united them? It is silence. Which way? In the next few chapters, we will try to answer this question.
According to the example of St. Joseph, let us ponder with him in silence the life of Christ as He seeks to grow in our minds and hearts through this gracious “Year of St. Joseph”.