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On the first of January 1946 the community of Paris started to read the new biography of Mother Marguerite written by Fr. Henri Evers, SSS. All the sisters listened with religious respect and interest.
On June 27, 1946 after the major renovation of their chapel the Paris community could now finally return to their usual rhythm of life. The consecration of the chapel took place on September 2, of the same year.
Elsewhere in the Congregation, the Eucharistic fire had spread immensely drawing more adorers to the Cenacles. In the year 1946, the three houses in Canada were over populated. It was necessary to have another foundation. The district council believed that it was the moment to cross the border and to open a foundation in the United States. This desire was approved by the general council and communicated to the bishops of New England.
It was the Bishop of Portland, Maine Msgr. Mc Carthy, who responded favourably, saying that the work of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament responded to his earnest longings. He offered a hearty welcome to the Servants in his diocese, in Waterville, Maine northeast United States. Mother Marie de L’Immaculée Conception councillor of the district communicated this project to the general council who granted the permission on November 8, 1946. Without any delay, Mother M. Felicité superior delegate and Mother M. Antoine treasurer accompanied one of the American sisters to Waterville to look for the place for the future convent. With the help of the parish priest of St. Francis de Sales, Fr. Elie Hevey and. Fr. Frederick Carpentier, parish priest of Notre Dame, they easily found a nice property suitable for a chapel of adoration. It was a spacious colonial style house erected on a hill in the center of the city. However the house would only be free in the spring of the following year.
From December 4, 1946 to February 13, 1947, the Reverend Mother Anne Marie de Jesus made her visit in Canada. In her circular letter, at the beginning of the 1947, Reverend Mother Anne Marie de Jesus announced a General Chapter for the same year.
On April 9, 1947, Wednesday of Holy Week, the superior of Quebec, Sr. Marie Virginie, together with two American sisters- Sr. Mary and Sr. Maria Pia left for the United States to start the foundation in Waterville. They were housed for six days by the Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union who received them very cordially. The preparations began without delay, thanks to the bishop, Msgr. McCarthy who named dependable and dedicated persons to help the sisters. The customs requirements did not allow them to bring much luggage or any furniture. They only brought a few liturgical vestments. The sisters found themselves in a state of destitution, as they entered their new house, the Cenacle of the Immaculate Heart on April 14, 1947. The first mass held in May in the temporary chapel was celebrated by Fr. Joseph Allard, the vicar of the Notre Dame Parish. From this day forward, the Holy Eucharist was present in the tabernacle.
In Paris on May 8, Reverend Mother Anne Marie de Jesus and her council set the date of the general chapter of 1947 to be September 8.
On June 5, 1947 Feast of Corpus Christi, in Waterville, USA a solemn mass was celebrated by Bishop McCarthy. Then, Fr. William Laverdiere, SSS exposed the Blessed Sacrament. At this time there are twelve sisters in the community, of which were nine American sisters who had entered in Canada. In spite of the small number the perpetual adoration began from this day forward.
On July 17, 1947 in Paris, the Biography of Mother Marguerite written by Fr. Henri Evers, sss received its imprimatur.
On August 21, 1947 the capitulars from Canada were the first to have arrived in Paris for the General Chapter and the Europeans on the 27th, the day of the retreat. The Brazilians arrived on the 30th. There were sixteen capitulars for this chapter.
The 23rd general chapter opened on September 8 and lasted until the 17, 1947. On the second day the election of the superior general was held, presided by Msgr. Beaussart, ecclesiastical superior of the community who celebrated the mass and prayed with the capitulars for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. In the first count, M. Anne Marie de Jesus had fifteen votes. A telegram was sent immediately to the Sacred Congregation asking for an indult, as she was not eligible. The response arrived on September 11. The next day, Msgr Beaussart came to tell the capitulars and declared Mother Anne Marie de Jesus elected superior general for twelve years. The work of the chapter was confined to review the finances, revise the custom book and consider the requests sisters had addressed to the chapter. To close the chapter, Reverend Mother read the capitulars the text minutes of the last council presided by Mother Marguerite on June 20, 1885. The words spoken by Mother Marguerite were her testament left to her councillors and through them, to the whole Congregation.
Excerpts from the last Council presided by our Revered Mother
“My dear daughters, be strong to observe the Rule, the Customs. Be attentive so that no abuse should slip into the house. Remember that those who live the Rule live in God. Keep the original spirit, the family spirit of simplicity that our holy Founder had inculcated in us that it should always be alive in our beloved Congregation. May gracious charity, sweet peace, perfect union prevail among you.
My dear children, I am going, I can feel it, but have confidence our Lord will not abandon you. He, himself will watch over and protect his chosen family. Yes, my children, I promise you, my spirit will rest in each one of you and if I have any power in heaven you will feel my protection in a tangible way. Act only for God alone, do nothing to attract the esteem and affection of creatures or for your own personal satisfaction. Find the greater glory of God in everything, the good of the Congregation and the sanctification of souls.
There my children, are the last advice of your poor dying mother, try to put them into practice. And then you will be blessed by God and our holy Founder..."
M. Marie Virginie, took this occasion to ask permission for a foundation in Edmundston and to make considerable renovations of the chapel and convent of Chicoutimi. She also presented plans for the future chapel of the convent of Quebec. On the other hand, Sr. Marie Ignace, Brazilian, requested permission for a foundation in Juiz de Fora that would pave the way to create a South American district. She presented the Council with plans for the future chapel of the convent of Taubate. These permissions were all granted by the General council.
After the General Chapter of 1947, the Superior Delegate of Quebec, M. Marie Virginie returned with the permission for a foundation in New Brunswick. She quickly searched for a property. She and M. Marie Antoine, the district treasurer went to New Brunswick in the beginning of the year 1947. The sisters found a property located just opposite the Edmundston Cathedral along Laporte Street.
In Rome in view of the eventual canonization of Fr. Eymard, Fr. Henri Evers was appointed General Postulator on January 17, 1948.
On February 27, 1948, the general council granted permission to buy the property just opposite the Edmundston Cathedral in Canada. The money used for the purchase was borrowed from the general funds of the Congregation.
In March, 1948 the chapel of Taubate in Brazil was solemnly blessed, by the bishop of Taubate Msgr. François Boria. The solemn blessing was followed by the Mass. During the homily, he expressed his happiness that finally, a temple of adoration was established in his diocese. After the celebration he exposed the Blessed Sacrament on the new throne.
On May 1, 1948 the General Council granted permission to expand the property that the sisters had bought for the convent in Edmundston, New Brunswick. Months later, M. Marie Virginie and Mother Marie Antoine accompanied four sisters to Edmundston. Upon arrival, they went to the cathedral to greet the Master. Later they went to their new place where Mrs. Landry the previous owner was waiting to turn over the keys of the house and give some orientations. The next day, June 9, they participated at the mass, their first on Acadian soil in the neighbouring convent of the Daughters of Wisdom who welcomed them with a vibrant Magnificat. After breakfast, the Servants visited Msgr. Roy in his residence.
On May 29, 1948 Fr. Charles Verdier of the diocese of Bourges, France was healed of a tuberculous osteomyelitis (bone tuberculosis) and chronic fistula on his left foot. The healing was proposed and accepted as the first miracle for the canonization of Fr. Eymard.
In the Generalate, on July 21, 1948, the Council studied the request of the superior delegate to open a foundation in Australia. In principle, the council accepted this foundation but suggested a delay of at least three years in order to make some inquiries about the country, the price of the land, the cost of the trip and others ‘we should trust in Divine Providence while also being prudent.’
In New Brunswick, when all the work and preparations were done, the convent and chapel were blessed and inaugurated on August 22, 1948. On the same day the dedication of the chapel to Christ the King also took place. Bishop Antoine-Marie Roy gave much solemnity to this ceremony in order that the people would see the importance of this sanctuary of adoration. The following morning, August 23, the celebration of the Mass was held in this little Bethlehem followed by the first exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. This date marked the foundation of the Cenacle of Christ the King at 5 Laporte St. Edmundston, New Brunswick, eastern Canada.
At the Generalate, in Paris, on September 28, 1948 Mother Anne Marie de Jesus died one year after her election as superior general, after more than four months of illness. The assistant general, Mother Marie Joachim was named Pro- Superior General for five years that is until the next general chapter. About this time also, in 1948, a new construction took place in Taubate, Brazil.
On April 29, 1949 Fr. Godefroy Spiekman, sss was elected Superior General in the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. On January 6, 1952 in Hagues, The Netherlands, he founded the Servitium Christi with Miss Antonietta Golsteijn as co-foundress. Servitium Christi is a Secular Institute of Pontifical Right founded in the spirit and following the norms of the Apostolic Constitution Provida Mater Ecclesia. He was inspired by St Peter Julian Eymard to found this institute of consecrated laywoman in response to the needs of a secularizing society. They follow the spirituality of St Peter Julian Eymard.
On December 8, 1949, Mother Marie Ignace, announced the names of the sisters assigned to the foundation in Juiz de Fora and their scheduled departure, the day after Christmas. On December 26, 1949, ten sisters left Sao Paolo by train at 7:30 in the morning. They were at Rio de Janeiro at 6:30 pm. The Servants stayed with the Daughters of Charity in the convent of Saint Mary. The superior of the said convent was the sister of Mother Marie Therese, the superior of Sao Paolo.
The next day, four cars transported the Servants to Juiz de Fora, reached the place at five ten in the evening. Bishop Justin, the bishop of Juiz de Fora was waiting to welcome them together with a number of priests, religious from different congregations, the family of Sr. Emerentienne, who was then a young perpetually professed sister and the donor of the property. The touching moment in this welcome reception were the two children aged four and five respectively, standing on the stairs, clothed in white, each one bringing a bouquet of flowers, singing the Magnificat in harmony. The people were then led to the chapel where the bishop gave a homily centered on these words: ‘My daughters give me your heart.’ Afterwards he blessed the chapel, the altar and the tabernacle.
At five o’clock the following morning, December 27, 1949, the bishop returned to celebrate the first mass and expose the Blessed Sacrament. Just as the sisters intoned the ‘Salutaris Hostia,’ the bells of the cathedral just opposite the convent began to toll, signalling that it was six o’clock and that the life of adoration in Juiz de Fora had begun, a happy coincidence. This day, December 27, 1949, marked the foundation of the Cenacle of St. John the Evangelist, 2495 Rio Branco Ave. Juiz de Fora , Brazil.
On August 3, 1949 Mrs. Mariadora Bartels of Melbourne, Australia was healed of angina pectoris (chest pain) myocardiosclerotic (therosclerotic heart disease). The healing was proposed and admitted as the second miracle for the canonization of Fr. Eymard.
In Quebec on August 17, 1950, six perpetually professed sisters and an Australian novice left the Cenacle of St. Joseph for a foundation in Melbourne, Australia. The Sisters left Quebec by train to cross Canada westward and arrived in Vancouver on August 21 at 11 o’clock in the morning. Fr Meek, the superior of the Religious of the Blessed Sacrament in Vancouver, welcomed them. They stayed with the Sisters of Our Lady of the Cenacle while waiting for their departure by boat scheduled on the 30th of August. They made use of this week of waiting to make a retreat.
On August 30, 1950 at 11 o’clock in the morning, the ship ‘Aorangi’ which would take the Servants to Australia left Vancouver Harbour and made its first stopover in Victoria Island, Vancouver. In this voyage, Fr. Fox, religious of the Blessed Sacrament, while still in Vancouver, had changed his plane ticket to a boat ticket in order to accompany the sisters and act as their chaplain too. The boat made another stopover in Honolulu and while waiting, the Sisters went to the cathedral. Again another stopover in Fiji Islands, then in New Zealand where they received two letters of welcome from the Religious of the Blessed Sacrament of Australia.
In New Zealand during the stopover, Fr. Fox went to the Cathedral and on his return; he was accompanied by the Diocesan Administrator and his Assistant. They led the Servants to the convent of the Little Sisters of the Poor and stayed there for four days. The Bishop of Auckland came to celebrate the Mass and to meet the travelling foundresses. They then proceeded to the last leg of their maritime voyage and finally touched land at Sydney on September 27, 1950.
On September 28, 1950, a little before lunchtime, the train arrived at Melbourne Station. Father Morin, the superior, and Father Maheu, ‘fathers of the foundation’ waited for the Sisters and took them to Saint Francis’ Church and the convent of the Religious of the Blessed Sacrament where they received an overwhelming ‘Welcome’. After lunch the Sisters met the members of the Fraternity and were welcomed in the Archbishop’s Palace where the vicar general, Msgr. Fox received them simply and finally were brought to their Cenacle located in a very beautiful residential district.
On the morning of September 29, 1950, the first mass was celebrated by the parish priest who had fervently hoped for the inauguration of perpetual adoration in the parish. This date marked the foundation of the Cenacle Mary Help of Christians at 50 Hampden Road Melbourne, Australia. On October 3, Archbishop Mannix, came to give his blessing to the young community. He was accompanied by Fathers Ryder, Murtagh and Maheu and a journalist who took the picture of the Archbishop in the midst of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. The Archbishop made a tour of the whole house, and viewed the liturgical vestments and sacred vessels brought from Canada. The community wanted to renovate the house; it would take some time before it could be done. So, they decided to prepare a temporary chapel appropriate for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Each one contributed to this endeavour according to her talents. After all the concerted efforts of the community the temporary chapel was done, the inauguration of adoration took place on October 28. The day ended with a solemn blessing of the Blessed Sacrament by Fr. Ryder assisted by the three Brothers of the Blessed Sacrament. The privileged guests were those who had helped the community prepare for arrival up to this day.
In November 1950 Le Procès of Bourge (France) was presented to the Sacred Congregation of Rites.
At the beginning of the year 1951, the sisters started the mass production of altar breads. Half of the community was engaged in this remunerative work which was their main source of income.
In April 1951 Le Procès of Melbourne was introduced to the Sacred Congregation of Rites.
In May 1951, the work of renovation of the house had progressed sufficiently so that on the 24th, the Archbishop came to celebrate Mass and receive the first vows of Sr. Mary Leonard who had made her novitiate in Quebec. The inauguration and blessing of the Cenacle of Mary Help of All Christians and the temporary chapel by Bishop Mannix took place on September 30, 1951.
In France, on November 27, 1951, the official fusion took place between the Adoratrices de Jésus Hostia and the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. From this fusion a community was formed, and Mother Mary Theophane was named superior of the community. She arrived on March 8, 1952, at rue Cleberg, Lyons on the hill of Fourviere.
In Paris, on January 19, 1953, the general council announced that the general chapter would begin on September 8. In preparation for this chapter, the community of Houilles which lacked sisters joined the community of Paris. For the same reason, the community of Melbourne joined the community of Edmundston.
In Quebec, the solemn blessing of Mont Thabor chapel took place on February 22, 1953, presided by His Excellency Bishop Omer Garant, first auxiliary bishop of Quebec. The new altar had been consecrated in the preceding afternoon. Msgr. Marcoux, the parish-priest, exposed the Blessed Sacrament in the magnificent six foot monstrance which he and his parishioners had offered to the chapel together with two candelabras of four and a half feet high.
In preparation for the general chapter of 1953, the delegates made a retreat from August 22 to 31. When the retreat started two delegates were missing. The one from Binche had been detained at the Belgian border, and the one from Cour Petral arrived late by train. Even though the retreat had begun, each arrival brought the joy at seeing each other again or of getting acquainted. The retreat ended in the morning of August 31 with the capitulars’ renewal of vows.
The 24th General Chapter schedule on September 8 to 22 began on September 5 with the preliminary sessions for the elections of the secretaries and tellers, and the meetings of the members of the discipline and finance commissions. There were eighteen capitulars at this Chapter. September 8, 1953 marked the official opening of the chapter. This was the day intended for the election of the superior general. Msgr. Bohan, ecclesiastical superior celebrated a mass for the whole community then intoned the ‘Veni Creator’. The delegates went into profound silence and prolonged prayer and proceeded to the election.
In the first ballot, Mother M. Theophane was unanimously elected superior general for twelve years. All then went to the chapel to sing a lively ‘Te Deum’ and the sisters went to the parlor for the traditional ceremony of obedience. On September 12, the capitulars voted for the erection of provinces which were ‘baptized’ right away.
For Europe, Province of our Venerated Father; Province of Saint Anne for North America and Australia and Province of the Immaculate Conception for South America. Each day the capitulars had a little discussion on the topic of abolishing the two categories of sisters established in 1897. They pondered on various possibilities with the benefits and inconveniences of each one. The thinking of the Pope and of Cardinal Gerlier was not favourable to such categories; this option was voted on the 19th and the categories eliminated.
That chapter also decided to modify the religious habit, after studying the suggestion and trying out the model, the modification was approved on September 18. Another decision taken was to sell the house at Cour Petral. The Directory proposed at previous general chapter was now ready. The capitulars read and re-read it chapter by chapter for approval. The chapter closed on September 22. The community was convened to hear the decisions, the statistics and the nominations made by the general council with cordial exhortation to revitalize the interior life to draw more vocations.
In December 1953, Mother General and her Council were inspired by the letter from the Congregation of Religious announcing a Marian Year which would be celebrated throughout the world in 1954. They proposed that each house would apply it and also would participate fervently with the programs of their local dioceses.
In Brazil, specifically in Juiz de Fora the blessing of a temporary chapel took place on January 5, 1954. The following day, the Bishop came to celebrate the first mass and to bless the house, at 2848 Rio Branco Avenue. In spite of the rain, a number of people participated in this occasion.
R. Mother Theophane together with Sr. Josephine an Italian sister went to Italy on January 7, 1954. The trip was to investigate the various requests for a foundation in Italy, specifically from the Italian Provincial Superior. Fr. Sirio offered a house for the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. They returned without much hope: the house was small, and unsuitable. Above all the donor wanted to keep one floor. Father Evers advised to wait for some time.
In Canada, the Eucharistic fire continued to spread. Bishop Gerard-Marie Coderre, coadjutor at Saint Jean d’Iberville, requested contemplatives for his diocese: “It needs a fire, he said, a hearth of love to warm hearts". He offered a parcel of land near the seminary. This request came before the chapter of 1953. The project was presented to the general council during the chapter. The delegates returned with the permission to go ahead.
In Rome, April 1954 the Decree concerning the validity des Procès on the miracles of Bourges, France and of Melbourne was issued, in view of the canonization of Fr. Eymard.
In Canada, May 1954, Mother Marie Virginie, went to Saint Jean Province of Quebec together with her assistant and treasurer Mother Marie Albertine and Sr. Cecile Therese who would be the local treasurer. The two treasurers stayed to oversee the construction and they stayed with the Little Sisters of the Holy Family near the seminary.
On July 7, 1954, meeting in Rome of the College of Physicians, who requested additional information on the case of Mrs. Bartels. On December 28, 1954 further meeting of the College of Physicians who voted favourably on the healing of Mrs. Bartels. On February 16, 1955, the college of Physicians endorsed the final draft of its report.
On February 21, 1955, two other sisters arrived in Saint Jean in order to start the mass production of altar breads as soon as the space in the new construction would be available.
In Europe, after a year of waiting, the Italian foundation was decided upon. On March 7, 1955, two Italian sisters – Sr. Josephine Marie and Sr. Giulia went to Italy to look for a place of foundation
In Saint Jean, Canadaat the end of March 1955, the small community entered their new convent cluttered with scaffoldings, machines of all kinds and workmen. On April 4, Monday of Holy Week, 1955 Monsignor Coderre came to celebrate the first mass in the convent chapel. From this time, a mass would be celebrated everyday by the priests of the seminary. On April 17 to 25, 1955 the R. M. Marie Theophane made her first visit to the small community in Saint Jean. The sisters received the Superior General with a Welcome song. She met the sisters individually and as a community.
The chapel of Saint Jean was inaugurated at 3:00 pm on June 11, 1955. The following day, June 12, the solemn blessing of the convent and chapel was held. His Excellency Bishop Gerard-Marie Coderre celebrated the Mass and exposed the Blessed Sacrament. This date marked the foundation of the Cenacle of Our Lady of the Assumptionat 80 La Jeunesse Blvd., Saint Jean, Quebec, eastern Canada.
At the Generalate, when R. Mother returned from her visits in Canada and Australia she informed her councillors of some letters that came from Italy. The project of Saint Amico seemed more practical and the bishop was agreeable to the Congregation. It was decided that the R. Mother and the General Treasurer would go to Saint Amico to examine the project. They left on May 19 and signed rental contract on the 25th.
The convent of Belo Horizonte, Cenacle of the Immaculate Conception at 172 Major Lopez St. was inaugurated on October 20, 1955, during the feast of Christ the King. After a week of celebrating the Eucharist in the church of the Religious of the Blessed Sacrament, the Archbishop transferred the Blessed Sacrament and exposed it on his new throne. The Eucharistic fire had finally ignited on the Italian soil specifically in Saint Amico, as the work of improvement started without delay and the inauguration took place on November 11, 1955. This date marked the foundation day of Saint Amico. The R. Mother Marie Theophane went again for this occasion. She accompanied Sr. Andre Marie, Sr. Mary Anna an American sister and the Italian novice Sr. Consolata. The Bishop came to consecrate the altar, bless the chapel and celebrate the Holy Mass. On November 24, the Bishop returned to preside the perpetual profession of two Italian sisters who had entered in France – Sr. M. Auxiliatrice and Sr. Giulia; as well as one temporary profession and one taking the cord.
Since the erection of the novitiate the previous month, Sr. Josephine was both superior and novice mistress.
In Sherbrook, Canada on December 23, 1955 the blessing of the present chapel took place presided by Bishop George Cabana.
In Curitiba, Brazil the convent, Cenacle of Our Lady of Aparecida which had been temporarily at 887 Av/Vic/Machado was inaugurated on January 20, 1956. This date marked the foundation day of this Cenacle.
On January 24, 1956 in view of the canonization of Fr. Eymard, the Preparatory Congregation for the two miracles took place in Rome. On February 19, 1956 issuance of the Decree manifesting the decision of the Sovereign Pontiff after the Sacred Congregation of Rites: for the first miracle (Bourges) ad ulteriora procedatu, for the second miracle (Melbourne): accuratius exeminetur. The indult for the reunification of the two categories of sisters – the coadjutrix and the Choir sisters arrived during the month of February, 1956.
In the course of the year 1956, the ‘Directory’ of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament which the Mothers General had prepared with great care was distributed to the sisters, together with the most precious teachings of their beloved founder.
The saying “nothing happens by accident, everything is in the hands of God”, seemed to best describe the meeting of the Bishop of Pueblo, Colorado, USA and Fr. Henry Foley,sss priest of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Bishop Willging, of Pueblo, Colorado, wished to receive in his diocese a community devoted to contemplation. By God’s providence, he met a priest from the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament who spoke to him about the Servants and the apostolate linked to the perpetual adoration in their chapel. Immediately, the Bishop offered a former seminary residence at the disposal of the community. After numerous negotiations the foundation was decided.
On June 27, 1956 four foundresses left Waterville: Mother Mary, Sr. Françoise Marie, Sr. Marie Eugenie and Sr. Lorraine Marie. They left in the morning, and reached New York at 7:30 in the evening. Fr. W. Laverdiere, sss welcomed them, took them to the convent of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame where they waited 24 hours for their train which would cross the entire American mainland. The Sisters arrived in Pueblo on June 30 at 9:30. Bishop Willging sent Msgr. Walsh, p.d. to fetch the sisters at the station and from there to their convent, where he himself would wait for them for the celebration of the mass and give them communion. This date marked the foundation of Cenacle of St. Michael 2116 Av/Oakland, Pueblo, in the Southwest USA.
In France, the General Chapter of 1953 had decided to close the house at Cour Petral. After a long wait the sisters decided to vacate the house in September and October, 1956
In Curitiba, Brazil, on December 1, 1956, the sisters who were on Machado Avenue transferred to a section of their new residence 3373, Ignacia Avenue. The firemen took charge of the transfer. At about 5:00 pm the same day, the Archbishop came to bless the convent, and the Parish Priest took the Blessed Sacrament from the first house and brought it to the new chapel. The official inauguration took place three days later.
On January 6, 1957, the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament celebrated the centenary of the first exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
In Pueblo, Colorado, USA, on Sunday January 20, 1957, the inauguration and blessing of the house, Cenacle of Saint Michael and the chapel took place. The ceremony was presided by His Excellency Bishop Willging and culminated with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a moment so desired by the Servants. The following day, Bishop Willging celebrated the first mass. At 5 p.m. of the same day, a Eucharistic Triduum was preached by Fr. Emile Hebert, s.s.s.
There had been requests for a foundation in Kerkrade, Holland – first in October 1949, secondly in May 1952, the Servants did not respond. Exactly five years later, in May 1957, a providential offer was presented. It was about a Couvent-Monument-d’Adoration-et-l’Action de Grâce erected in Kerkrade afterthe last war. It was entrusted to the Poor Clares with the responsibility of whole day adoration. This responsibility overburdened their Rule. The Poor Clares were looking for a community who could replace them. When the Dutch Fathers came to present this opportunity to the General council of the Servants in Paris, the Superior general was in Brazil. The Mothers showed much interest and communicated this information to the Reverend Mother, moreover certain of her agreement.
October 16, 1957, a mass was celebrated in Paris by Fr. Moulin, sss at five o’clock in the morning. After the mass, the R. Mother, Mother Marie Georges, superior and two Dutch sisters- Sr. Cecilia Maria, treasurer and Sr. Joseph Maria, left for Kerkrade, accompanied by Fr. Moulin, sss. On October 19, 1957 marked the foundation of the house in Kerkrade. The inauguration of the Cenacle ‘Regina Pacis’ took place on October 27, 1957.
We recall that the house at Cour Petral was vacated by the sisters in September and October, 1956. It was only on November 27, 1957 that the house was sold for a psychiatric hospital. In Houilles on the other hand, the sale of the house was decided in 1955 and carried out in 1957 for a college. By May 8, 1958 all the Servants had left.
One day, the Bishop of Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada, Bishop Camille Leblanc, complained to Fr. Robert Fortin, sss that since the division of this diocese, the Trappistines went to the new diocese and he has left without any contemplatives to pray for his priests and his seminarians. Fr. Fortin told him: “When you are thinking of sending for contemplatives, do not forget the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament who spend their life at the feet of the Monstrance in adoration day and night.” This episode paved the way to another foundation in the Province of Saint Anne. The Bishop did not tarry any longer to launch his invitation.
In August of 1958, Mother Marie Ida, the Secretary General delegated by the Superior general to visit the houses of Canada, went to Bathurst together with the provincial superior Mother Marie Alexandre. The Monsignor and the sisters made a tour around the city to look for a property. The one that drew their attention was located outside the city limits and deprived of city services. The matter was dropped.
In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, at the beginning of July 1958, during the visitation of the Provincial Superior, the sisters lamented the need for a new chapel. She looked for a more spacious place and found a big house with 24 rooms. After receiving permission from the General council, the property was acquired at the end of July. The necessary changes were done to convert a big hall into a chapel. The transfer as well as inauguration took place on March 26, 1959 at 5531 Contorno Avenue.
The chapel of Juiz de Fora was consecrated on June 4, 1959 and that of Mont Thabor in Quebec on the 5th June of the same year by His Excellency, Bishop Labrie, Eudiste.
In Paris, the Secretary General reported the request to buy a property in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada in view of a foundation. On June 29, 1959 the approval was granted to acquire the property situated outside the city. It was necessary to wait for a year before the start of the construction and the Sisters would go there when the house would be ready for occupancy.
The 25th General Chapter was held on August 17 to 28, 1959. The first session of the chapter took place on the 17th. After the preliminary elections, Reverend Mother Theophane enumerated the principal subjects to be studied: Unity in the Congregation, erection of a vice-province, establishment of an independent house for the Generalate.
Decisions taken in this chapter:
(1) Unity of life-style between the elderly coadjutrix sisters and the choir sisters,
(2) Erection of the vice-province of the Unites States,
(3) Paris became an independent house for the generalate,
(4) Holland and Italy were joined to the province of Frace.
The chapter composed of 13 capitulars ended in a thanksgiving on the 28th of August.
On November 7, 1959, the Mothers of the Council learned of a letter from Bishop Gauls, who accepted the Servants in his Apostolic Vicariate. He offered a five-hectare piece of land at Kiheta, located about twelve kilometres from Kitega, Burundi, Rwanda, Africa. They planned to send sisters taken from a few provinces to be lodged in a local community to oversee the construction work and to learn the dialect before the inauguration.
In Edmundston, Canada, after ten years of foundation, the Sisters found their house too small. In 1958, the furnace was broken but the cost of replacing it was expensive. It was decided that it would be more beneficial to have a new residence. The Bishop offered a piece of land for the construction of the new convent to the Servants. The community transferred to the new convent on November 20, 1959. The solemn benediction of the present convent at 553 St Francis St. took place on December 6, 1959. The ceremony was presided by His Excellency Romeo Gagnon.
In February 1960, the foundation in Kitega, Burundi, Africa, was announced to the whole Congregation. The following month, the sisters from Brazil, and the United States assigned to this house arrived in France for the necessary preparations.
On April 28, 1960, the Council named Sr. Maria Angela the superior and Sr. Maria Theresa the treasurer. Members of the community would be Sr. Maria Rosa and Sr. Mary Paulina. The first three were Brazilians and the last an American. This foundation would be fruit of charity: a collection was organized through solicitation letters in the churches of Paris.
In Canada, on October 18, 1960, the first group of Sisters made up by the Provincial Superior, M. Marie Alexandre, M. Candide Marie, local superior and the councillor Sr. Marie Thomas left Quebec by train for Bathurst. They arrived in Bathurst twelve hours later at 4:30 in the morning of October 19; they were brought to “Foyer Saint Famille” run by the sisters Hospitalier du Saint Joseph located nearby. After the mass and breakfast, they went to their home where various workmen were present. It would take another week for the Cenacle of “Marie Etoile de la Mer” to be ready for occupancy. Towards the end of October and the beginning of November the furnishings of the chapel and house had arrived, as well as the second group of sisters
On November 17, the chaplain, Fr. Cyrille d’Amours, started to celebrate a private mass for the community. The following day, a Capuchin priest came for the solemn blessing of the Stations of the Cross. On November 20 at 2: 30 pm, Bishop Leblanc and about twenty priests and religious made a tour in the exterior and interior of the chapel and blessed it. The following day, Msgr. Leblanc came back to celebrate the first solemn mass. This day November 21, 1960 marked the foundation of the Cenacle “Marie Etoile de la Mer” St. Peter Street, Bathurst, Canada.
Chapel Mary Star of the Sea Cenacle St. Peter St. Bathurst Canada
On December 2, 1960 Fr. Julio Paul de la Vierge, o.c.d. was named Apostolic Visitor of the Congregation. He visited all the houses in Europe and the world. Mother Marie Theophane, Superior General, was very sick at that time and died three days after he returned.
In Paris, at the Generalate, on December 9, 1960 Fr. Moulin, s.s.s celebrated the mass at 4:45 in the morning for the missionaries leaving for the foundation in Kitega. The members of the council also participated. The sisters left after breakfast by car up to Brussels with Fr. Moulin as the driver. In the morning of December 10, the sisters took a flight for Rome, then Urumba. Fr. Caillard, s.s.s brought them to the community of the Religious of the Blessed Sacrament in Kitega. The Servants were accommodated in the novitiate of the Religious of the Blessed Sacrament while waiting for the construction of their house in Kitega.
The first news from the missionaries arrived in Paris Christmas of 1960. Their trip went well; they were asked to receive two young girls; the Blessed Sacrament religious wanted the sisters to do their cooking and care for their linens. Each one acknowledged the dedication of the Fathers for this foundation. With this African foundation, the Eucharistic fire had crossed to another continent.
On June 19, 1961 Fr.Roland Huot, sss was elected Superior General of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation.
In November 1961, Fr. Julio Paul de la Vierge, o.c.d. finished his mandate as Apostolic Visitor. After his report to Rome, Fr. Roland Huot, the Superior General of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation, was named by Rome as ecclesiastical superior to preside the following general chapter of 1962.
In September 1961, a letter from the Superior of the community in Kitega about the health of the sisters and the situation in general, sent worrisome news. Reverend Mother wrote to Msgr Grauls to inquire if they could come to France to rest, especially since the news about Rwanda and Burundi were not reassuring. The Bishop and the Blessed Sacrament Fathers had responded with an assurance that the health of the sisters was being taken cared of and that it was much safer in Kiheta than in Paris or Brazil. The Mothers took their word and left the sisters in their mission.
On February 4-18, 1962, the 26th General Chapter took place. Reverend Mother Berthe Fortier Superior in Australia was elected Superior General for 12 years. The Chapter, the last to be held in Paris which brought together 9 capitulars, ended on February 18. Principal decisions taken:
* the establishment of the generalate in Rome;
* the project of foundation in Manila, Philippines;
* the mandate of the Superior General was reduced to 8 years.
In Kitega during this month of February, 1962, Sr. Maria Rosa was very sick, it was necessary for her to rest for a month. She stayed with the White Sisters at Usumbra, even though the Mothers had left her free to return to Paris. Her recovery was slow and the other sisters also were very tired. The situation became very difficult, even impossible, no other sister could go to help them. In April, the Mothers asked the bishop of Kitega for the foundation to be suspended for an indefinite period hoping to return in a better situation later.
On May 15, 1962, in Rome further meeting of the Preparatory Congregation for the examination of the second miracle. On May 25, decree manifesting the decision of the Souvereign Pontiff was issued about the miracle of Melbourne : ad ulteriora precedatur.
On May 31, the sisters of the community of Kitega returned to Paris. The closing of this house was dated 1962.
On July 10, 1962 a General Congregation was held on the two miracles and on July 15 the promulgation of the Decree approving the miracle. Months later, on September 22 the Decree delaring that the canonization would surely pushed through. On November 15 the Assembly of Cardinals (Consistoire) was held. On October 11, 1962 the first session of the Second Vatican Council was opened.
1) Actes des Chapitre Généraux de 1897 à 1962.
2) Le Bienheureux Pierre-Julien Eymard: Tome Second. Imprimarie-Libraire Saint-Paul Paris, 1928.
3) Calendrier des Évènements de la Province du Saint Anne Québec, Canada
4) Congrégation des Servantes du Très Saint-Sacrement- Deuxième Partie 1885-1962. Maison Généralice, Via Aurelia, 145 C-2, Roma, 1999.
5) Chronologie de la Vie de Mère Marguerite et de la Congrégation des Servantes du Saint-Sacrement. Conseil Général de la Congrégation du St. Sacrement. Rome.
6) The Cenacle: the Place of Mission, Book 7. The Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, Rome, 2005
7) Histoire de la Province Canadienne : 1903-1961
8) Homage A Saint Pierre Julien Eymard. Maison Généralice des Pères du T. S. Sacrement, Rome, 1963.
9) Lettres Générales de Mère Marguerite: Dates Importantes pour la Congrégation du T. S. Sacrement
10) Life and Letters of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Volume 6. Translated and Arranged chronologically by Sr. Catherine Marie Caron, sss
11) Liste des Fondations. Servantes du Très Saint- Sacrement, Via Aurelia Roma, 2006.
12) Livre Souvenir du Centennaire de l’arrivée des Servantes du Très Saint-Sacrement au Canada
13) Partager: La Congrégation des Servantes du Saint- Sacrement – Son Expansion et Son Charisme: Sr. Catherine Marie Caron, sss. Juillet 2009.
14) Peter Julian Eymard, Apôtre de l’Eucharistie. André Guitton,sss Mediaspaul,Paris, 1992.
15) Pour L’Histoire de la Congrégation du Très Saint Sacrement- La Cause de Béatification et Canonisation de Fondateur Pierre Julien Eymard. Maison Généralice Roma, 1964.
16) Pour L’Histoire de la Congrégation du Très Saint- Sacrement Tome VI – Le R.Père Jean-Joseph Audibert, Vicaire Général, Deuxième Période: 18 Août 1884 - 25 Novembre 1887. Maison Généralice Roma, 1965.
17) 1963. Hagiography Circle,2001.