Penny Sanz, Reflection on Marie Rivier
Message for the 30th Anniversary, PM General Superior, Mother Angele Dion
To all of you, PEACE and JOY in the Risen Lord!
A certain number of you had the privilege of participating in the celebration of the Beatification of Marie Rivier, May 23rd 1982 in St. Peter's Square in Rome. 30 years ago already! Precious reminders of this event must surely remain engraved in the memory of your heart!
How can we celebrate this anniversary so that our celebrations will be pleasing to Marie Rivier? How can we "remember" this event in such a way that it will encourage us to better live our Christian lives in this year 2012, proclaimed "year of faith" by Benedict XVIth?
Already, projects are underway. I will indicate a few of these to you but I know that with your creativity you will know how to organize a variety of gatherings and activities in your area in order to allow others to meet the "extraordinary" woman that Marie Rivier was and continues to be for us today.
Do you not think that this year would be the favorable time to obtain the indispensable miracle so that the Church might publicly recognize the holiness of our "Blessed Marie Rivier"? What can we do to accelerate this process?
• Would not a first gesture, to bring about this miracle through the intercession of Marie Rivier, be to commit ourselves personally to allow the seed of holiness, planted in us on the day of our baptism, to grow?
• Starting on May 23rd, on the Web Site of the Congregation you will find a space set aside to make known your requests to Marie Rivier as well as the favors obtained. The greater the number of those who send in requests and favors, the more ardent and numerous will be our supplications and our prayers of thanksgiving, and thus our hope will be strengthened!
• Marie Rivier had a great trust in the Virgin Mary and in the prayer of children. She would love to say: "I obtained everything through the recitation of the rosary!" Like her, let us not hesitate to initiate children to prayer and to count on the "candor" of their prayer. In God's time, the Virgin of Smiles will obtain an answer to our prayers.
• "If two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mt 18: 19-20). Finding our strength in this promise of Christ, let us pray with confidence and constancy, alone or with a group, the prayer to ask for the grace of the canonization of Marie Rivier. Wherever we are, let us intensify our prayer for this intention. Let us also invite our neighbors and our friends to join us in this prayer.
We know the ardent desire of Marie Rivier to have a "house full of adorers" in order to keep the flame of zeal alive in all of her daughters. (C10) Already, the list is long of those who, every week, consecrate time to the Lord who is present in the Blessed Sacrament.
• The first mission of our houses of prayer and adoration is to respond to this desire of our Foundress: to be like Moses, interceding for the Congregation, the Church and the world.
• Every local community and especially our elderly sisters assure hours of adoration, almost daily. This is a mission to be continued!
• In many of our convent chapels or in parishes, Associates and friends of the Presentation are more and more numerous to join us in adoration, spending time present to the One that we recognize as alive in our midst.
• Groups of "young adorers" are forming here and there. This is an initiative to encourage, one in which we can also involve the parents.
Thus, coming together, each one accomplishing her/his little part, and taking into account the changing time zones, in the Presentation of Mary network we can assure perpetual adoration, a desire that was so dear to the heart of Marie Rivier.
Already, groups from different countries foresee organizing pilgrimages to the places of origin of the Congregation in France. This wonderful initiative supposes a close coordination with the sister responsible for welcoming such groups (S Viviane Charpentier). Perhaps, also, in the near future, we might have to think of support personnel to assure the continuation of this beautiful mission of evangelization? For several years now, the Associates of Bourg, Alès and Montpezat have been giving a helping hand when there have been many groups.
Other Provinces/Regions have opted for a Marian pilgrimage in one of the sanctuaries in their own country. This favors the participation of a larger number of persons.
The occasions for solidarity are numerous in your different milieu: welcoming and helping immigrants, the native people, sponsorship, volunteer work, working in soup kitchens, visiting the sick, the prisoners etc. All of these projects and gestures are ways of continuing the mission received from Marie Rivier, she whose heart had taken on the compassion of Christ for the poor.
Among the many projects that we have underway, we have retained ONE that was proposed to you during Lent (see the Web Site). It consists in providing the equipment necessary to furnish the orphanage that is being built on our land in Davao, in the Philippines. We are beginning to receive the fruit of your sharing and we are amazed. Bravo for your creativity to awaken in the children and in the youth of our schools the meaning of sharing. Thank you also to our Associates and our collaborators who so generously supported this project.
Projects to be realized during the course of the year in order to make Marie Rivier better known:
1) Web Site: Already on May 23rd, the HOME page of our International Site will have a special space reserved for Marie Rivier. Thank you for being faithful to visit it, for participating in it and for giving us your suggestions. It would be good if you could share with the sisters responsible for the Site your projects and activities that will be linked with the celebration of the 30th anniversary.
2) Works of art: Many artists over the years have painted, sculpted or written icons representing Marie Rivier or one of the mysteries that were dear to her (the Pietà, the Presentation of Mary, the Holy Family ...). With today's modern technology it would be easy enough for us to make a collection. So that this collection might be as complete as possible, we need your help. Thank you for sending to the "sister-journalist" of your Province/Region/Mission pictures of the works of your artists. This collection could then appear on the Site or become the object of a publication.
3) A small illustrated collection of prayers, thoughts and texts of Marie Rivier. A simple booklet, one that would be easy to consult containing source-texts that would emphasize what Marie Rivier treasured in her heart, the Gospel values that she wanted to transmit. This wish was expressed several times over the years by the Sisters and by our Associates.
Long term project:
• An anthology: This would be a collection of texts chosen from the most important writings of our Foundress, foundational texts to which we come back often in order to root ourselves ever more deeply in the charism of Marie Rivier. In documents that we have in Castel, we already have a preliminary draft for such a project. We have spiritual treasures that we need to explore more fully ourselves, treasures that we could also share with a wider group of people.
We will keep you informed on the "progress" of these projects. In turn, thank you for keeping us informed of the various initiatives of your groups.
Let us have the zeal of Marie River in order to make God present in our milieu. May our commitments, our words and our joy proclaim "loudly and clearly" that He, God, is the One who gives meaning to our lives.
Mother Angèle Dion
Superior General of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary