Thought for the Day – 24 April – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier (1796-1868)
Sorrow and joy alternated almost without interruption in Angers and the new houses. There were difficulties connected with each of the foundations, entailing a great deal of hard work. Throughout these hardships, St Mary Euphrasia endured and embraced them, and said “Great crosses bring great graces.”
Ardent prayer sustained her. “Pray, be silent and hope” became her motto. She loved to repeat: “I belong to every country where there are souls to be saved.” Her work of saving them was going on apace and souls were bought at a great price.
Mary Euphrasia’s last years were very lonely. Labour, enterprises, intense activities, physical and moral sufferings were steadily taking a toll on the Foundress’ strength. She was almost seventy-two years of age when she breathed her last on 24 April 1868, the Friday after Good Shepherd Sunday. “Goodbye my daughters, goodbye dear Institute” were her last words.
Mary Euphrasia founded, in her lifetime, 110 houses on every continent. Today, the Mission Partners of the Good Shepherd (Sisters and Lay) are present in more than 70 countries, embracing the world with their zeal for the salvation of all people. A year after the death of Mary Euphrasia, the Ceylon (Sri Lanka) mission was founded. From Ceylon, the Good Shepherd Sisters came to Singapore in 1939 and reached Malaysia in 1956.
It is not easy to sum up the life of Mary Euphrasia. Perhaps it is best understood in terms of her own wish for her Sisters: “You will effect no good, my dear Sisters … until you become animated with the thoughts, sentiments and affections of the Good Shepherd” and “Live His way of life!”
St Mary Euphrasia, pray for us!