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Our Lady of the Missions: Our title describes our spirituality which is both Trinitarian and Marian.
The name Euphrasie Barbier chose for her Congregation is, doubtless, the most obvious proof of the fundamental Trinitarian orientation of her own life and that of the new religious family she founded. She expresses this in the preliminary chapter of the Constitutions presented for approval to the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars in 1888, “By placing themselves under the title of our Lady of the Missions, the Sisters wish to honour in a very special way the Divine Missions which were the sole object of Mary’s deepest aspirations”.
For Euphrasie, the word “Missions” which appears in the name of the Congregation is not about “our own poor missions”, it is “solely the Mission of the Incarnate Word, sent by God the Father to redeem the human race, and the Mission of the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son, to bring about the sanctification of Christ’s Church. This is the raison d’etre of the Institute, and its special characteristic both interior and exterior” (Letter to Father Bruno, 22 May 1890). In brief, Missions refers to the Divine Missions. God Trinity is an eternal intertwining, everlasting flow and never-ending exchange of life and love and who opens Self to all of Creation, to all of humanity.
How do we RNDMs “honour the Divine Missions”? Euphrasie gave us a clear answer: “by a profound and loving adoration, a complete fidelity and a generous devotedness”. (RNDM. MS. Const. Preliminary Chapter)
Hence our life is first of all a loving contemplation of our God. In contemplating God Trinity, the God of Love and Communion, we will understand what love is and share in the divine work of Love as Mary did, with fidelity and without counting the cost! It is according to our capacity to receive within ourselves the outpouring of love flowing from the Trinity that we in turn can become “instruments of the Divine Missions”. More important than the works we undertake, mission is essentially the witness of a person who lives in God.
The two patronal feasts of the Congregation highlight our spirituality: Pentecost and Visitation.
Pentecost is the celebration of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. God so loved the world that He lavishly poured out His Spirit upon the Earth! The untamed and unpredictable Spirit of God came upon Mary and the disciples, filled them with courage and power, inspired boldness in proclaiming the Good News and working together for the transformation of the world.
“May the Spirit reign within us, within each of our Sisters… May we be aflame with Divine Love which gives strength and courage for the sacrifices which renouncement of ourselves and of our own comfort require of us at every moment… so that in the end, it is God who rules over us and who is our all! It is only then that we shall be true instruments of his grace on the missions and in the apostolate confided to us”. (Letter to the Superior in Lyon, 3 September 1877)
The spirit of the Institute “can be none other than that of Mary”. We find this strong statement of Euphrasie in the first Draft of the Constitutions in 1867. It is the spirit of the one who, under the impulse of the Spirit said “Yes” to God, who under the guidance of the same Spirit, “set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah” (Lk 1:39), aware that her child belongs to the whole world! It is also the spirit of a humble but enthusiastic and generous service in the simple abode of her cousin Elizabeth.
Our Lady of the Visitation is the instrument of the Divine Missions in a very special way. United with the Father, Son and Spirit in the mystery of creation, redemption and never-ending life-giving to the world, Mary is the model of all RNDMs and all missionaries who are called to pass on the Good News of salvation.