Liturgical Feast of Blessed Alphonse Marie
The Fifth Anniversary of Her Beatification
SDR Associates National Meeting
Brothers and Sisters,
The main challenge of today, if we may say so, is holiness. However, in order to live today to the fullest and the above mentioned challenge we may understand correctly, let us be taught by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which holiness or rather the saints defines as follows, Saints “contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were ‘put in charge of many things.’ Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.” (CCC 2683) This is important information on which we seldom reflect and which we forget about in our everyday lives. The saints do not neglect those they left on earth. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world. The saints are very useful to us and we should ask them for intercessions.
Since we are reminded of the definition on holiness from the Catechism, now let us base it on a concrete example of the lives of the saints. Of course, today we focus on the life of Blessed Alphonse Marie Eppinger. In the materials of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, there is a case of a miracle that happened at the intercession of Mother Alphonse Marie. There is mentioned a case of a French woman, in 1955. The woman was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction. Despite of surgery, as reported, the evening of May 28th, was almost certain, that the patient was dying. During this dramatic situation, the Superior of the hospital where the sick woman was hospitalized, took initiative into her hands and started to pray the novena to the venerable Foundress of the Religious Institute, of which she was a member. She also engaged her fellow Sisters in the prayer. Even the patient was joined as such in the prayer by putting a picture with a small relic ex indumentis (from clothing) of Mother Alphonse Marie under her pillow. The following day, the patient began to show an evident and unexpected improvement in her health status, vital physiological functions began to improve, and the pathological phenomena that brought her to the end of her life began to recede. The following examinations confirmed the absence of the disease and her complete recovery. So it is true that the saints care for those here on earth. However, one important condition is required. And that condition does not depend on the saints, but on those who are here on earth, that is, on us. In order for the saints to care for us, we must recourse to them, we must pray to them, and we must worship them. Because we are believers and because we practice our faith, we understand all of this, and I suppose we do it. We recourse to the saints and find it important and useful.
But what about those who have problems, or for some reason do not recourse to God or to the saints? They do not have to lose anything either. Just on the example of a miracle through the intercession of Mother Alphonse Marie we see how important it is when other people pray for those who have problems; when other people bring the sick and the suffering to the saints, and they bring them before the Lord and plead for them. That sick woman, as far as we can deduce, did not intercede for herself; she was on her deathbed, she must have been unconscious. The Sisters of the Divine Redeemer interceded for her, and thanks to their faith, prayers, and sacrifices a miracle of healing occurred. They did recourse to today already Blessed Alphonse Marie, which was very good. They obtained a miracle for a terminally ill person. The Gospel itself confirms that it works that way. On Wednesday of this week, we read at Mass the Gospel about the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law, who was suffering from a high fever. What did happen there? It was Simon who brought Jesus to her asking for healing. Jesus healed her with His word, which has great power. He ordered the fever to go away and the fever left her. It is also evident from other such situations described in the Gospels that Jesus does not choose the people He wants to help. Jesus bends over everyone and cares with love and great concern for everyone who comes to Him or who is brought to Him. And these are challenges for us. It is really necessary that we, who know the mysteries of faith and can be asked for miracles, to bring to Jesus and also to the blessed and the saints, other people, those who are sick and suffering, those who are struggling, those who have lost hope, and to pray for miracles for them. Let us bring to Jesus and to the saints other people who don’t know or don’t want or can’t come alone. Let us bring them to Jesus and the saints. It is important and meaningful.
This is, after all, the commitment that we have taken upon ourselves, we are already Consecrated, the Associates, and the new Associate Members, who will take upon themselves the commitment. It is written in your by-laws, “Each Associate of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer undertakes to participate in the work of redemption and to become a witness of God’s love before people in the following ways:
a) She strives to live an exemplary Christian life;
b) She offers to God her prayers, sufferings, labors and hardships of life for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of immortal souls;
c) She fills her life with acts of corporal and spiritual work of mercy, especially in her family, in her area and among the Associates;
d) She actively participates in the life of the local Church;
e) She visits and helps the elderly, the sick, lonely, and poor people.”
These all mean to come to Jesus and bring Him others.
St. John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation “Christifideles Laici” wrote, “The saints have always been the source and the beginning of renewal in the most difficult moments in the history of the Church.” From now on, Blessed Alphonse Marie is especially the source and the beginning of renewal for us in the most difficult moments. Let’s come to her and bring others to her; and at her intercession, miracles will continue to happen.
Brothers and sisters, let’s use all the possibilities revealed to us today and draw from the rich treasure of the Church, which is here for each of us. Amen.