On this day in 1915 Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey went to meet the Lord. Whenever we read the lives of the saints or the lives of men and women of virtue and valor who travel the road of life laid out for them by God with faith, courage, fortitude, and conviction, we are challenged to measure our own personal response to the call and will of God in our life.
These men and women of faith inspire us to live lives with hearts and minds raised to God. Often there is a captivating crescendo of intensity of faith and beauty in the last years, days, or (as in the case of martyrs) moments of their lives, in which we get a glimpse into the power of God moving in their souls and inspiring certain actions and decisions that leave us breathless with admiration. Finally we consider the moment when it is all finished for them, when their time on earth is completed, when the culmination of their lives and deaths are wrapped up in a beautiful gift of surrender and sacrifice for God. At this moment Our Lady prays for the the soul who meets God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit face to face. The eternal words of Scripture pierce the moment with a clarity that brings peace and welcome for a job well done.
"Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”...“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." Matthew 25: 34-36, 40What consolation for Sr. Marie! Her soul could be at peace. She had given everything for God. She had given up all the abundant comforts of a life of nobility to be one with the poor and to serve the poor. She gave up all earthly notoriety, her royal name, to become a humble hidden Spouse of the King of Kings! She gave up her royal castle and, in the last years of her life, the great crescendo, she followed God's invitation to find the little hidden treasure of the home of the Blessed Virgin; and this too she gave away.
Sr. Marie spent her life in service to God's children. How many hungry orphans and wayward children did she give a home, clothe, give drink, teach? How many of these same children, plus so many more of all ages, did she nurse back to health in her hospitals? How many tears did she dab away and replace with peace, comfort, and even smiles? How many souls trapped in spiritual prison did she minister to and pray unto deliverance?
Yes, Sr. Marie met Jesus with peace. She was a true Daughter of Charity. She became charity. She lived charity tirelessly and with good cheer. Today let us ask her to move our hearts to this true charity expressed in a loving response to Jesus' request to shelter, clothe, feed, and teach the souls He places in our life. And like Sr. Marie, let us fervently pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with a heart filled with confident and expectant joy for those in our lives bound in prisons of the mind, body, or soul.
In my heart I can almost hear the words this Servant of God was blessed to hear from the Redeemer whom she served in true charity, "Well done, my good and faithful servant....Come, share your masters joy." (Matthew 25: 21)
How fitting that we remember this dear Daughter of Charity, Sr. Marie, today on the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. God called Sr. Marie home on the day we commemorate Mary's perfect charity expressed in bringing Jesus to her needy beloved cousin Elizabeth. Sr. Marie follows the example of her heavenly mother. Mother begets daughter. Charity begets charity.
Servant of God, Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey, Daughter of Charity, pray for us.