Saint of the Day – 22 February – Blessed Émilie d’Oultremont d’Hoogvorst known as Emília Maria of Jesus (1818-1878) – Widow, Mother, Religious and Founder of The Sisters of Mary Reparatrix whose charism is Eucharistic Adoration combined with the evangelisation of society, especially of women. Born on 11 October 1818 in Wegimont near Liège, Belgium and died on 22 February 1878 at the home of her son Adriano in Florence, Italy of natural causes. She is Patron of the Order she founded.
Émilie d’Oultremont d’Hoogvorst was born on 11 October 1818, in Wégimont (Lieja, Belgium), into a noble family and steeped in Christian values. The young woman’s personality developed in a serene and balanced way, enriched with her extraordinary human and spiritual gifts.
Precisely during a ceremony in a palace in Rome, she took an inspiration and spoke these words: “Master, only You in my life” and thought of consecrating herself to the Lord. Marriage proposals were diverse but when she met Count Victor van der Linden, “a young man of solid virtue and exceptional piety” – as she would say – Emilia recognised that the Lord wanted to lead her along the path of marriage, which was celebrated on 19 October 1837. She lived the life of a young and happy wife, mother of four children: Adriano, Edmundo, Olímpia and Margarida. From then on, Emilia found the spiritual guides in the Jesuit Fathers, who understood and guided her on her spiritual path.
It was not ten years of marriage and her husband died of malaria. Emília lived this test with faith and courageously continued her mission as a mother and educator, she consecrated herself to God with the vow of chastity, dedicating herself even more to works of charity. She moved to Paris in order to follow the training of her children at the College of the Jesuits.
When, on 8 December 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, Emilia asked Mary to inspire her to what future course was most pleasing to God.
Together with some young women of different nationalities, she began a consecrated life, in the following year. The official institution of the new Congregation of Mary Reparatrix took place on 1 May 1857, the day they were clothed in the habit. Mother Maria of Jesus (this was her religious name) and her companions, began this journey, guided by the spirit of St Ignatius Loyola.
Mother Emília Maria of Jesus carefully followed the choice of her two sons in following the marriage vocation and was delighted with the decision of her daughters to follow her in religious life, in the same Congregation she had founded.
The Ignatian spirit was the soul that animated all her apostolic zeal, to the point that she took risky decisions, such as responding to the Jesuits’ call to build a house in India, after only two years of foundation. It was the definitive launch of an expansion which then grew to include several countries in Europe.
The last years of Mother Maria of Jesus were full of diverse sufferings – family grief, concern for her children, separations and difficulties within the Congregation. Suffering herself from very poor health, while on her way back to Belgium, she died at the home of her son Adriano, in Florence, on 22 February 1878. … Vatican.va
Her shrine resides n the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome. She was buried at the church of Saint Bonaventure in Rome.
Blessed Maria of Jesus was Beatified on 12 October 1997, Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City after the approval of the required miracle, by St Pope John Paul II, when he said:
“Through her life of prayer, she reminds us that in Eucharistic Adoration, where we drink at the source of the life that is Christ, we find the strength for our daily mission. May each one of us, whatever his state of life, learn to “listen to the voice of Christ,, “which must be the rule of our existence,” as she liked to say!”