St Julia Billiart

Virgin, Co-Foundress of the Institute of Notre Dame of Namur (entered heaven this day in 1816)

Dear Julie,

The Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur were founded by a paralyzed French girl who had to be smuggled from house to house in the aftermath the French Revolution in order not be burned alive for her faith.  No joke. Her secret transfers aggravated a mysterious illness that had affected her for years, so much so that she could barely talk. Friends who helped take care of her caught the fire of her divine love and joined her efforts to teach the catechism to the poor, who had been left without instruction when the revolutionaries tried to extinguish the true faith.  Something St Julia said to her first group of followers as she began the Institute (which soon expanded to include a religious order and many schools dedicated to the Christian education of girls) reminded me of your recent letter (which is why I am emailing you today, of all days): “My daughters, think how few priests there are now, and how many poor children are sunk in the grossest ignorance.  We must make it our task to strive to win them!” I see from your own thoughts on the needs of the Church today that our Lord has laid a similar burden on your heart. Believe me when I tell you that you will never regret putting the interests of the Kingdom of God before all else. Of course, I don’t mean that you should stop studying, or quit the orchestra, or abandon your other responsibilities – maybe God is calling you to do something so radical, it is not for me to say, I just mean that your concern to make Christ known and loved in these difficult times is a gift from God, and he gives no gift in vain.  We haven’t had a violent revolution lately, but our young people still desperately need the light of true Christian values. Therefore, I wish you every blessing in your efforts to bring those values back to your campus and will ask St Julia to intercede for the success of your efforts. By the way, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1804 Julia was miraculously cured of her 22-year long illness – God’s timing can be quite unfathomable. Love, Uncle Eddy.

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