St Marie Victoire Therese Courderc

Cofoundress of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Retreat (entered heaven this day in 1885)

Dear Mary,

You are looking in the wrong place for peace of mind.  You can’t design it yourself, like you can design your own major.  Your heart is too big for that. Only God can satisfy you, only his design for your life will give you the peace you thirst for so badly.  I know you know this. You may even be saying right now that you have already given yourself to God. And I would answer… Then why do you still feel so thirsty?  Are you sure he isn’t asking you for more? Are you sure that you aren’t trying to block out his voice, that gentle voice that loves you too much to let you settle for spiritual mediocrity?

I want to share with you some remarkable words of wisdom written by today’s saint.  Marie Courderc found her vocation at a young age – about your age, in fact. She went to a local mission near her home village in southern France, and was so moved by the preaching of Fr Stephen Terme that she revealed to him her desire to serve God with her whole soul in religious life.  He invited her to join a new religious Order he had just founded in order to rejuvenate Christian education in the many villages and towns that no longer had Catholic schools (this was in the aftermath of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic purge). After overcoming her father’s resistance, she did just that.  Her teaching vocation soon evolved into the foundation of a sub-group of the original congregation, dedicated to giving spiritual retreats to women – today this Order is known as the Cenacle Sisters. She was the general superior for many years, until she stepped down in order to finish her life of love and consecration as a humble member of the community.

And here are the words I thought you would benefit from hearing.  They are hard, in a sense, but I think you’re ready. Don’t let them stress you out; pray about them:

… Then I had an overall view of the whole Catholic world and a multitude of altars upon which at one and the same time the adorable Victim was being immolated. The blood of the Lamb without stain was flowing abundantly over every one of these altars, which seemed to be surrounded by a light cloud of smoke ascending toward heaven. My soul was seized and penetrated with a feeling of love and gratitude on beholding this most abundant satisfaction that Our Lord was offering for us.

But I was also greatly astonished that the whole world was not sanctified by it. I asked how it could be that the sacrifice of the Cross having been offered only once was sufficient to redeem all souls, while now being renewed so often it was not sufficient to sanctify them all.

This is the answer I thought I heard: The sacrifice is without any doubt sufficient by itself, and the Blood of Jesus Christ more than sufficient for the sanctification of a million worlds, but souls fail to correspond, they are not generous enough…

All God asks is for each one of us trust him, to give him a blank check and let him determine the course of our lives.  If we do, then we’ll set his goodness free, and no personal plans, however creative they may be, could make us happier than that.

Your loving uncle, Eddy

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