St Elizabeth Bichier des Ages

Virgin, Cofounder of the Daughters of the Cross (entered heaven in 1838)

Dear Liz,

Your despondency is a waste of energy.  If Christ were in your place, would he complain, or would he get to work?  Ok, so you had your heart set on school A, but you didn’t get accepted and so you have had to come to school B, which you only applied to because your parents wanted you to.  You suspected that it was too small, too isolated, and too boring, and your orientation week has corroborated your suspicions.  So now you sit in front of your window and gaze longingly into the sky as if you were cooped up in prison.  What a waste.  You are acting like a spoiled child.  Does God not know how much you wanted to go to school A?  Does he not know what you think of school B?  Of course he does.  So, if you’re stuck there (which it seems you are, at least for this year), he must have a plan.  Your job is to discover it.  Somehow, you’ve got a mission to accomplish this year, and you won’t get it done by staring out the window.

In a curious way, your situation reminds me of today’s saint.  Elizabeth Bichier grew up amid the horrors of the French Revolution.  Her family remained faithful to the Church, in spite of the violent persecutions that swarmed all around them, so she was given a solid education and a strong foundation in the faith.  Her father died when she was 19, and she had to defend her family’s property against government attempts at confiscation, which she did admirably.  She and her mother took up residence in western France, and she intensified her efforts to care for poor children and to instruct them in that faith that the Revolution had flouted.  Her own exemplary behavior was bolstered by a private vow of perpetual chastity, and she began to recruit friends and relations to aid her charitable efforts.  Soon she joined forces with a young priest, later known as St Andrew Fournet, who shared her concern for reconstructing the ravaged French Church.  She contemplated entering a cloistered convent to better dedicate herself to the Lord, but St Andrew explained that her work was in the world, which had been overgrown with vice and ignorance. Under his guidance, she formed a religious order dedicated to the crucial task of spiritual gardening.  By the time she died, nuns and priests associated with the “Good Sister,” as they called her, inhabited 60 convents throughout France and northern Spain.

So you see, my good niece, happiness isn’t so much a matter of getting what we want as it is finding out and doing what God wants.  Count on my prayers.


Uncle Eddy

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