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190th anniversary of foundation of contemplatives

Submitted by: rgsphil
On: 10/11/2015

The Good Shepherd Congregation marks on November 11 the 190th anniversary of foundation of the contemplatives.

It was on November 11, 1825 that Mary Euphrasia founded the contemplatives.

Photo of Sr. Brigid and the Contemplatives during the 2015 Congregational Chapter in France.

Below is an excerpt of the drama on the Original Inspiration in the Founding of the Contemplatives. This was presented during the 2014 Congregationl Assembly of Contemplatives held in Quito, Ecuador.

Original Inspiration in Founding the Contemplative Sisters 


Narrator:“From her novitiate days until her election as superior, Mother Mary of St. Euphrasia’s duties had been those of mistress working directly with and for the penitents. She had observed that among their ranks were chosen souls, who having been restored to God and having tasted the supernatural life, felt themselves drawn by God’s grace to the religious state.” 

                                  (Monsignor A. Saudreau: “Grace et Fidélité”, Manuscript copy – 1928)


“The Good Shepherd was not only a place of welcome and rehabilitation, it was a place of Christian conversion…”

                                           Saint Mary Euphrasia and the foundation of the Magdalen Sisters, “The Crowning Work
                                           of the Good Shepherd”, Père Bernard Tenailleau, c.s.sp Angers - 1991 pp. 16


Scene 1 - Young women ask SME to found a religious group within the monastery of OLC


Girl: “Why do you not let us be sisters here? Just let us be sisters among ourselves here, those of us who wish to be.

                                           “In Truth I Am Their Foundress”, p. 274


Scene 2 - SME with OLC sisters


SME: “The young women are asking, even begging, for an opportunity to retire into deeper solitude, to draw closer to God, to practice penance.”


Older Religious: We cannot see how this can be. Experiments of this have failed in the past. Our Constitutions clearly forbid that they become members of Our Lady of Charity.

Constitutions 1 “The end of the institute”, Caen


Mother Mary of St. Victoire Houette: “There may be difficulties but with some of the younger sisters I support this project. With Mother Mary of St. Euphrasia I agree that it is a matter of organization and we will not go against the Constitutions.”

                                      Dr. Pouan-Life of Mother Mary of St. Victoire Houette, “Origins”, Angers, June 1995, p. 48


May 1825 - Election in the background.…….reading names on ballots……….


Mother Mary of St. Euphrasia Pelletier/ Mother Mary of St. Euphrasia Pelletier/ Mother Mary Victoire Houette/ Mother Mary of S.t Euphrasia Pelletier …… Mother Mary of St. Euphrasia, having received the required number of ballots, is elected as Superior.”


Scene 3: After the Election of Mother Mary of St. Euphrasia as Superior


SME: “Let me consult Father Alleron, my confessor, and Father Monnereau, the Ecclesiastical Superior of the Carmelite Monastery as well as that of our monastery to see if they are in agreement of establishing a foundation of the Sisters Magdalens….. (at her desk, she writes two letters)……… Now I will wait for their responses.”



Scene 4: PAUSE – sitting with her prayer book


Sister: “Mother, these two messages have just arrived.”


SME: “Thank you….. (opening letters and reading them silently)….. Praise God! They are in agreement. I will gather the Council.”


Scene 5: Summoning the Council


SME: Mothers of the Council I have something to tell you: “You have made me Superior. I am not worthy of it and am confused by it. But since you have made me Superior, we will found the Sisters Magdalens.”
- Ch. Portais, Ven. Mère Marie de St. Euphrasie Pelletier, Paris – 1898




A Sister of St. Magdalen, on the side of the stage, reads the description of the Mission of the Sisters of St Magdalen:


“The whole life of the Sisters of St. Magdalen should tend towards the realization of their vocation. Then, above all, they should understand well what God expects from them, they should know the mission He wishes them to fulfill. Let them attach themselves to a true spirit of prayer, to complete solitude and above all to a profound humility, often placing before their eyes the example of the Holy Fathers, who loved to live unknown and despised, passing their days and nights in the watching and the labors of a truly penitential life.” “Rules and Observances of the Sisters Magdalens of the Good Shepherd of Angers” - 1834/1857/1880, revised 1900.


On the other side of the stage: read by a Sister of St. Magdalen


Auguste Saudreau (1859-1946), who was a diocesan priest, spent many years as the chaplain of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Angers. He studied the life of the Sisters of St. Magdalen and wrote the following, which is included in the “Directory and Observances” “Directory and Observances, Monastery of Good Shepherd” – 1933, pp. 7-8



“Each religious family has its particular office: it should continue one of the works of Jesus, or rather Jesus wishes to continue in it one of his works. The Divine Master worked: there are Orders devoted to manual labor. He taught: there are teaching Orders. He healed the sick: there are nursing Orders. He pursued stray sheep: there are apostolic Orders. He consecrated long hours to prayer, passing his nights on the mountain in order to intercede for all: there are contemplative Orders. …… there are penitential Orders which strive to unite themselves to Jesus suffering, and with him to make reparation to the great God who is so offended. This is the function of the Sisters of St. Magdalen, who have been chosen from all eternity to be expiators, repairers of the Glory of God.”