" I am not a priest and cannot bless them, but all that the heart of a mother can ask of God for her children, I ask of Him and will never cease to ask Him." ~ Sister Marie
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Vigil of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Holy Mass for the Closing of the Diocesan Phase of the Cause of the Beatification and Canonization of Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey
September 13, 2014 – Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Most Reverend Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Your Excellency, Archbishop Bernardini
Brother Priests and Deacons
Particularly Members of the Vincentian Congregation and Daughters of Charity
Postulator, Members of the Tribunal, Commissioners, and other volunteers,
Family Members of Sr. Marie
Friends in Christ all,
St. Thomas Aquinas says that if we wish to become a saint, before anything else we must “will it.” God has made each of us for heaven. Heaven is our destiny, and if we indeed will it, we can trust that the Almighty Father will extend to us the grace to reach eternal life with Him.
On September 13, 1837, 177 years ago today, Adele Louise Marie de Mandat-Grancey, was born and began her earthly journey with a heavenly goal. Sensing her God given call, 13 year old Marie wrote in prayer, “Grant me, I implore, my God, a vocation to religious life. Give me the grace, O my God, to completely detach myself from the things here below and to aspire only to heaven.” She willed to go to heaven. She desired to serve God with her life and to be a saint.
Three and a half years ago, January 21, 2011, many of us gathered in this sanctuary for solemn Vespers to open the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Sister Marie de Mandat-Grancey, a Daughter of Charity. What a joy it is for me to once again welcome His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Bernardini, Archbishop Emeritus of Izmir, who visited me those four plus years ago on behalf of Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini, and asked that our Diocese take up this holy work. Again, some family members of Sr. Marie have traveled to be with us at this milestone in our journey. Welcome Baron and Baroness Jacques and Rosario de Mandat-Grancey. Welcome Baron Philippe de Mandat-Grancey. Please carry our esteem and love to those faithful and beloved family members back home.
The careful work of the Diocesan Phase of the Cause was directed from Rome by Doctor Andrea Ambrosi, the Postulator of the Cause and renowned in the Church as a brilliant and dedicated expert in these proceedings. Benvenuto e grazie, Dr. Ambrosi. He has been assisted, earlier, by Madelaine Kunz, who was so helpful to us at the Opening of the Process, and now by someone who knows our Diocese well: our own Miss Nina Bartulica.
For the work which concludes tonight, a diocesan tribunal was appointed which carefully shepherded the Process. Father Matthew Bartulica served as Episcopal Delegate. Father Joseph Totton carried out duties as Promoter of Justice, and Mr. G. William Quatman did so much as our faithful Notary, assisted by Adjunct Notary, Mrs. Patricia Montes. I cannot thank them sufficiently for their help.
Dr. Claude Sasso led the Historical Commission, and Scott McKellar chaired the Theological Commission. I wish to express my most sincere thanks to them and their Commission members, and to a host of translators and copyists who carried out their sworn duties with integrity and generous dedication. Their names are in our Mass program, and they are ‘writ large’ before God for this holy work.
I first went to Ephesus, seven years ago at the invitation of Bill Quatman, whose Grandfather, George Quatman, established the American Society of Ephesus, which had renewed and cared for the Shrine of Meryem Ana Evi, Mary’s House, in the modern era. On the flight to Turkey I met Mrs. Erin Von Uffel, and in her, I met Sr. Marie. If you know Sr. Marie you probably know Erin and her good friend and co-worker, Lorraine Fusaro. If you know Erin and Lorraine, you certainly have heard the story of Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey. I wish to acknowledge Erin Von Uffel, Vice-Postulator of the Cause, and Lorraine Fusaro. They are also co-founders of the Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey Foundation, and their work remains monumental to the promotion of this Cause.
What a joy and powerful reminder of God’s grace it has been to study the life of this holy woman. When there are around us so many instances of sin and faithlessness, the Church wishes to lift up for us heroic models of virtue, obedient participants in God’s providence, heavenly friends and intercessors. This is Sister Marie: a woman of heroic virtue; an instrument of Providence; and a patroness for peace between Christians and Muslims.
Adele Louise Marie is an example of heroic virtue. Nurtured in a faith-filled and loving family she set aside any opportunity for wealth and status to serve the poor of Paris, in the family of St. Vincent DePaul and St. Louise de Marillac, as a Daughter of Charity. At first, some of her family did not understand this extraordinary call. Marie persevered. She made her Profession and was successful and admired in her work in France. Her work with the Children of Mary catechesis and her training as a nurse would soon find expression in a new place far away. When the Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII, asked for missionaries to the East, Sr. Marie volunteered and went to Turkey. There she selflessly served orphans and the sick. She became superior and guided and shaped aspiring members of her community in prayer and charity.
Sr. Marie was obedient to Divine Providence. After reading the mystical visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describing the life of the Virgin Mary, Sr. Marie persisted in urging the at first-skeptical Vincentian Fathers to seek and find Mary’s House. When they had found the House, Sr. Marie arranged for the purchase of the property and devoted herself – aside her other duties - to establishing proper devotion at the Shrine of Meryem Ana Evi, Mary’s House, soon venerated as a meeting place of prayer for Christians and Muslims.
Pope St. Pius X would make inquiries about this place where Theotokos – Mary Mother of God, solemnly proclaimed at nearby Ephesus 1500 years earlier – lived her last years, where she entered into her Dormition, and from which spot she was Assumed body and soul into heaven.
Archbishop Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the future Pope St. John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, Pope St. John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI, would all make pilgrimage to the House of Mary, founded by Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey, obedient instrument of God’s providence.
Sr. Marie can be for us an intercessor in our prayers for peace between Christians and Muslims. The Muslims of Smyrna and the environs came to know and admire this strong and prayerful woman in her day. They were recipients in many different ways of her charity and they were objects of her prayer. When Mary’s House was rediscovered by Fathers Poulin and Jung, there were Muslim guides and caretakers in the party and among the early pilgrims. Today a million visitors come to pray at Mary’s House each year; many of them Muslims who, though they do not know Mary as Mother of God, still regard her, in accord with the Qur’an, with deep respect. They come and place their petitions at Meryem Ana Evi, asking Mary for the blessing of children. As Sr. Marie was God’s instrument for establishing this place of peaceful prayer for diverse believers, I pray that someday soon she may be recognized within the Church as a patron of peace for us, who so desperately need to know the Prince of Peace. At Mary’s House even today this is already happening: Mary is calling and gathering her sons and daughters, Christians and Muslims alike.
In the next moments I will declare this Diocesan Phase of the Cause closed. We will bless and seal the work which we have carried out faithfully as an offering to God’s glory, commending it to the deliberations of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and ultimately to the affirmation of the Pope. Again, I thank all who have contributed to this effort. I am grateful to all those who have given testimony about the life and virtues of the Servant of God; to those who have researched and studied her life. I am mindful of the wonderful book provided by the late Vincentian Father Carl Schulte on The Life of Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey and Mary’s House in Ephesus.
At the funeral Mass of Sr. Marie, June 1, 1915, Archbishop Giovanni Zucchetti of Smyrna praised the Daughter of Charity, comparing her to the valiant women of the Old Testament and to the Foundress, Louise de Marillac. Lamenting the fact that, as of that time, there were no canonized saints among the Daughters, he suggested that, outside the official action of the Church, and by divine prerogative, God would secretly beatify and canonize Sr. Marie.
What Archbishop Zucchetti surmised those nearly one hundred years ago, we have now undertaken through this effort. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is honored to present her Cause. Here, half a world away from where she grew up in France; so far away from Smyrna where she served tirelessly for 30 years and paved a path to Mary’s own house; here in Kansas City we lift a prayer that this holy woman who has inspired three continents and more, may be entered, in accord with God’s will, into the ranks of the heavenly court.
In the first Christian century, behind Meryem Ana Evi on Nightingale Hill overlooking ancient Ephesus, it is said that each day, Mary Theotokos walked the Way of the Cross and awaited the glorious reunion with her Risen Son Jesus in heaven. On this Feast of the Cross, let us ask Mary, whose maternal love was so often the inspiration for Sr. Marie’s charity, to direct the path of this Cause and assure its glorious completion.
Happy Birthday, Adele Louise Marie! Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey, intercede for us. Amen.