Thought for the Day – 10 October – The Memorial of Blessed Angela Truszkowska (1825-1899)
Excerpt from the
Address of the Holy Father JOHN PAUL II
to the Sisters of Saint Felix of Cantalice
Friday 16 June 2000
“Your Foundress would often take the children in her care to the Capuchin Church in Warsaw where Saint Felix is shown bearing the Infant Jesus in his arms. In the figure of the Holy Child, Blessed Maria Angela recognised the little ones she was called to serve. She knew that Saint Felix was shown bearing the Infant Jesus in his arms, because, in bearing the burdens of the needy, he had carried in his arms the poor Christ Himself and she recognised this as her own calling. By bearing the burdens of the weakest she and her Sisters would bear in their arms the “little” Lord Jesus. Blessed Maria Angela knew too, that it was Mary who had placed the Holy Child in the arms of Saint Felix and that, it was Mary, who was now placing her Infant Son in the arms of the Sisters of Saint Felix. How right then that she should dedicate the Congregation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
3. Yet the sword which pierced Mary’s heart (cf. Lk 2:35) pierced the heart of the Foundress too. “Love means giving”, she wrote, “giving everything that love asks for, giving immediately, without regrets, with joy and wanting even more to be asked of us.” In obeying the logic of the Incarnation and bearing in her arms, the Lord himself, Blessed Maria Angela became a victim of love. Step by step she ascended the hill of Calvary, in a journey of suffering, both physical and spiritual, until her life was ablaze with the mystery of the Cross.
As she journeyed more deeply into Calvary’s darkness she became more insistent, that at the heart of the Congregation’s life, there should be devotion above all to the Holy Eucharist and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She bequeathed to her Sisters the motto: “All through the Heart of Mary in honour of the Most Blessed Sacrament”. In long hours of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, she learnt that she and her Sisters were called to “reproduce the pattern of the Lord’s death” (Phil 3:10) so that they might become the Eucharist. And in the Mother of Christ, Blessed Mary Angela recognised, the one who shared in her Son’s Passion most intimately and she knew, that this was the Sisters’ calling as well. In Mary Immaculate she recognised the woman of the Magnificat, the woman whose self-emptying, allowed God to fill her with the joy of the Holy Spirit. This was to be the life of the Sisters of Saint Felix.
4. Ours is a very different world but we are no less challenged by the spiritual lethargy of our time and by the question of where true freedom lies. It is the Church’s sacred duty to proclaim to the world the true answer to that question and Religious men and women, are crucial in that task. For the Felician Sisters, this must mean, an ever more radical fidelity to the program of life bequeathed to you by your Foundress, since, if there is not this fidelity among you, then you too can fall victim to the spiritual confusion of the age and there may emerge among you, the anxiety and disunity which are its fruits.
I urge you, therefore, dear Sisters, at this critical time in the life of your Congregation, to commit yourself in this General Chapter to more ardent worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament, to deeper devotion to Mary Immaculate and to a more radical love of the charism of your Foundress. Embrace the Lord’s Cross as Blessed Angela did! Then you will become the Eucharist your whole life will sing Magnificat, your poverty will be filled with “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8). Entrusting the General Chapter and the entire Congregation to Mary, Mother of Sorrows and Mother of all our joys and to the intercession of Saint Francis, Saint Felix and your Blessed Foundress, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing, as a pledge of endless grace and peace in Jesus Christ, “the faithful witness and firstborn from the dead” (Rev 1:5).
Prayer for the Intercession of Blessed Angela
God our Father,
we praise and thank You
for the gift of Blessed Angela,
who lived Your will,
in faith and trust
and lived Your love,
in service to others.
I pray, in confidence,
that through her intercession
You will grant me
the favour which I request.
I ask this,
through Christ our Lord.