Fraternite Notre Dame | San Francisco

Fraternite Notre Dame: Peoria, IL

Peoria, Illinois

To start this text on our religious life at the Monastery, let us first speak of the great spiritual retreat that we, the Servants and Handmaids of Our Lady, have had in another Monastery, the one of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, in Peoria, Illinois, about 3 hours away.
One week of retreat means facing our vocation again and telling ourselves like St Bernard, desirous to rekindle the ardor of his monastic life: "Bernard, for what have you come here?"
As for us, with His Excellency Bishop Jean Marie |as our leader, we have the inestimable grace to hear him preach loud and clear the supernatural pieces of truth, and to see the items that need to be amended, in order to fully live our religious life, which we cherish more than anything else.
We cannot reveal everything when it comes to the retreat, in order not to disclose the secrets of the King. But what we can say is that it was magnificent, that we fervently renewed our vows of religion into the hands of our Founder, Bishop Jean Marie, and that we have experienced intense moments.
This annual retreat resulted in arming us with courage to pray better, and improve our love and help for our brethren in need. In short, to be better Servants and Handmaids of Our Lady, under the staff of our venerated Superior.
(...) The following day, in turn, Father Jean Gabriel Marie celebrated the Holy Sacrifice for the first time. It took place at St Francis and St Clare Monastery in Peoria, IL. Our church there is clear and spacious, and perfectly accommodated the faithful who were so glad to surround the new priest.
Father Jean Gabriel Marie's dad was there. He had come from his Haitian mountains, and was very moved to see his youngest son, coming up to the altar. As on the previous day, Bishop Jean Marie served the Mass of the new priest whom he ordained.
In his sermon, Father Jean Gabriel Marie thanked the Bishop, and explained how his life had changed when he first met him. He recounted how the Bishop had come to bless a little chapel in the Haitian highlands. Throughout that day, he dedicated himself unreservedly for the poorest of the poor, living in those mountains and going out to the most destitute. This deeply moved the young Haitian boy, who decided to remain with Fraternite Notre Dame.
After Mass, a meal was enjoyed by the pilgrims who gathered with the Nuns, Friars and Priests and the Superiors of Fraternite Notre Dame, to celebrate this beautiful event. What a reward for the parents, to be with their children religious! They did appreciate it a great deal.
Another great day of ceremony was the Vesture of Brother Marie Emilien of the Lord's Transfiguration. Bishop Jean Marie explained that this was the first step in the religious life. He said that in the history of the Church, it was common to see young Friars in the Religious Orders. This used to add a special vitality and joy. Numerous saints had joined the religious life very young, and this is the best path towards sanctification, living a life of sacrifice, prayer and abnegation, rich in fruits of grace.
After having received his cassock, Brother Marie Emilien carried the Cross and requested to be admitted in the Order of the Servants of Our Lady.