At some point in time in your life, you probably have been presented with some type of task or responsibility and you have thought to yourself it really is not possible for me to do that. And then you have cited all of the limitations and excuses of why you cannot do what you are being asked to do. I know that I have done that many times.
Let's look at another saint who might not have seemed the most capable of resisting a hostile government, yet she showed the way to keeping the Catholic Faith in a very violent and dangerous time and joined the ranks of the many French holy women.
The Spiritually Precocious Child
Her Response to a Life-Changing Event
Resisting the Government and an Escape
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A New Friend and Starting a New Order
Julie was taken thirty-five miles from her home village to Amiens where she was able to hide. Her life reached another turning point in Amiens when she met the Viscountess Frances Blin. Thirty-eight years old, Frances came from a noble family and had spent her youth growing in piety and good works. During the Reign of Terror, Frances' entire family had been seized and imprisoned. Only because the architect of the terror, Robespierre fell from power, was her family spared from death. The two women became best friends and combined their efforts.
They initially went to the nearby village of Bettencourt where they taught the catechism to both children and adults. Through their efforts, the villagers returned to the Catholic Faith after the devastation of the influence of the secular revolution. Julie and Frances returned to Amiens and were encouraged by Fr. Varin and the Bishop of Amiens to found the Institute of the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1803. The women's religious community was founded in order to help and teach poor young girls. The began their work with two other religious sisters and eight young orphan girls.
On the feast of the Sacred Heart in 1804, Julie completed a novena which she made under obedience to her spiritual director. Julie was then encouraged to try to take a step which she had not done in thirty years. She took that step of faith, and she was completely healed of her paralysis.
Over the next twelve years of her life, Julie along with Frances and the other sisters, founded fifteen additional convents for Sisters of Notre Dame. She taught the young women how to grow in the interior life by drawing upon her lifetime of contemplative prayer. And, indeed, prayer was seen to be the key for the Institute. One bishop who knew Julie noted that she helped save more souls from her interior life than she did through her active ministry work. Julie died on April 8, 1916 at the mother house at the age of 64.
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