Dear Marie Madeleine,

You have been in my thoughts and in my heart all day today.  How you would have loved today’s feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I can imagine how you would have loved to have been at Mass with us today, indeed you were there in spirit as we reflected on the love of God made present in Jesus. 

 On the feast of the Sacred Heart, 1817, you had one of that series of religious experiences that defined your own call and the call of every other Faithful Companion of Jesus.  You heard Jesus speak to you from the crucifix, “I thirst.” At that moment you knew you had been placed at the foot of the cross, with Mary and the other women who followed Jesus.  You knew you were called to be Jesus’ companion in his suffering, in the suffering of God’s people and in your own suffering.  You knew that you would go with him to the cross and that you would stay with him until he sent you out to witness to his resurrection and to bring signs of life and hope to others.  You offered your whole self to Jesus, you held nothing back, and you were ready to do anything that God might ask. 

Were you surprised when you discovered that you were called to found a religious Order?  Were you shocked to realise that God would call like minded women to join you and that together you would be sent out as companions of Jesus?  Living as you did in “post revolution” France you must have wondered where to begin in order to slake the thirst of Christ that was raging so widely all around you.  You did begin though…you met needs as you saw them…sometimes through serving the poor and those who were sick, sometimes through pastoral care, sometimes through education , sometimes through spiritual nurture…you did as much as you could do to respond to  those who were “thirsting” for signs of God’s compassion.

As I went about my day today I wondered what you would say to me as I tried to live our FCJ call, your vision, my vision today…I could hear the “I thirst” spoken so clearly to you echoing in my heart.  I think you would tell me to look for signs of Jesus’ thirst in others and to do whatever I can to bring them the refreshing love of God.

And of course, you would smile, and give me a gentle hug and wish me a happy feast.

Happy Feast Marie Madeleine!

Your sister in Christ and in companionship,

Clare fcJ


  1. Victoire Finlay fcj Says:

    Dear Clare thankyou for your letter to O.V.M.– Yes, I’m sure she was as surprised to be asked to found a Religious Order as I was to join it !!!!! Perhaps if she (Madeleine) had lived today she might have been another spiritual Lady Diana and I a commoner but both united eventually in the same spiritual work / search for Justice and all that this involves… Over the years I have been asked why I haven’t changed back to my own Baptismal name of Patricia– but a). I promised O.V.M that if in spite of much opposition she helped me to Enter I would ask for her name– b) I LOVE my name Victoire tho’ at times it has been difficult for the people I visit to pronounce it so I just say to them think of the word ‘ abattoir ‘ O.V.M. and I ARE GREAT FRIENDS so thank you again Clare and God bless– Victoire fcj xx

  2. clarefcj Says:

    Dear Victoire, thank you so much for your response! I was very touched by your sharing re your struggle to enter and I am so glad that you made it! I have no doubt that Marie Madeleine is delighted too. I can see why you would be great friends – she would love your sense of humour and the way you connect with others. I can imagine the two of you on mission side by side – you would be very effective together as you are both “hands on” women! I will be laughing all night at your “abattoir” pronunciation point!

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