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July 16

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Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel

Virgin, Foundress of Sisters of Christian Schools

(1756 – 1846)

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Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life  

Julia Frances Catherine Postel was born on November 28, 1756 in the port village of Barfluer, Normandy, France. Her father, Jean, was a fisherman and her mother was Thérèse while her aunt was the Blessed Placide Viel. She was educated by the Benedictine nuns at Valognes, France. Even in her earlier years, she manifested a truly remarkable sanctity. When, at the age of nine, Julia received her First Communion. She made a vow of virginity, promising to devote her life to the service of God and the neighbor. From that time, Julia communicated daily and practiced the severest penance.

Power of Prayer

Once, when Julia was told that two young men were about to fight a duel, then only a school girl, she gathered her schoolmates and knelt to pray for the frustration of the wicked deed. Suddenly, and as the first blow was to be struck, the duelists extended hands to each other in reconciliation. The father of one of them went to Julia to thank her for her efficacious prayer, for he could not explain the unexpected reconciliation except by intervention from above.

Opened a Girl’s School at 18

In 1774, at the age of 18, Julia opened a school for the poor in her native town of Barfluer. The free time of the day and a great part of the night she spent before the tabernacle.

Courageous Underground Leader during the French Revolution

When the French Revolution broke out, the revolutionaries closed the school and Julia became a leader in the underground Church. She gave priests shelter and protection in her house, kept the sacred vessels and vestments there and also the Holy Eucharist. Under the stairs of her home, she created a secret chapel where priests could say Mass. In the darkness of night, Julia assembled the faithful in her house or in some other retired place for the celebration of the Holy Mysteries. She went about encouraging the weak, visiting the sick, and secretly bringing priests to them. Julia even obtained authorization and permission to carry the Holy Eucharist to the sick, since it was dangerous for priests to do so. Bailiffs frequently came to surprise the priests or to obtain evidence of unlawful behavior against her. It was an evident miracle that they always blindly passed the plainly visible door of the secret chapel. 

Took Her Vows as a Tertiary Franciscan Nun

The end of the Revolution saw Julia take up teaching and catechizing in Cherbourg where she taught around 300 children. At the age of 52, she decided to set up a group of religious women to teach the young, inspire them to love God, and help the poor in their misery. With three companions, Julia made her religious vows into the Third Order of Saint Francis in 1798 whil taking the name Marie-Madeleine

Foundress of  Sisters of the Christian Schools of Mercy

On September 8, 1807 at the age of 61, Marie-Madeleine reopened her school at Cherbourg, France. This school became the foundation of the Sisters of the Christian Schools of Mercy. She was named superior of the community. Within three years, 200 girls were being educated. For some time Marie-Madeleine and her nine fellow teachers lived in great poverty in a barn next to their schoolroom. These earlier years were discouraging but she refused to give up. In 1832, Marie-Madeleine acquired a derelict convent in St-Sauveur-le-Vicomte to use as her headquarters which then prompted growth within the order. Now eighty-two years old, she worked like a laborer in the restoration of the building to bring back to its pristine splendor the house of God.

Her Death

Marie-Madeleine died on July 16, 1846 in Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, France. Her order continues its work in places such as Romania and Mozambique. In 2005, her order had 442 religious in 69 different locations worldwide.

Born :                  November 26, 1756 in Barfluer, Normandy, France

Died:                   July 16 (Feast Day) 1846 at age 89 in Ghent, Belgium

Beatified:           May 17, 1740 by Pope Pius X

Canonized:        May 24, 1925 by Pope Pius XI

Feast Day:         July 16

Patron Saint:    Chastity; Sisters of Christian Schools; Teenage Girls

Source:

Reflection

Saint Marie-Madeline Postel stands before us like a heroine of the days of the martyrs. Under the stairs of her home, she created a secret chapel where priests could say Mass. She obtained permission to carry the Holy Eucharist to the sick. She went about encouraging the weak, visiting the sick, and secretly bringing priests to them. 

How strong is your faith? What would you do to celebrate mass and receive the Blessed Eucharist? While you may not have the duress of the French Revolution, you can celebrate the joy of Mass today and receive the Body of Christ in Communion at a Church, unlike Saint Marie-Madeline Postel, who had to secretly have Mass under the steps of her home.

Prayers

Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel, your courage and strength is an example for us to life by. May you interecede for us as we pray to demonstrate our faith by actions, like your kind deeds of teaching the poor in spirit, encouraging the weak and visiting the sick. 

Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

All Saints and Martyrs – Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel – Religious

America Needs Fatima – Saint Marie Magdalen Postel

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 16 July – St Marie-Madeline Postel (1756-1846)

Catholic Online – St. Marie Magdalen Postel

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Mary Magdalen Postel by Katherine I Rabenstein

Go to Mary – Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel

Roman Catholic Saints – Saint Mary Magdalen Postel

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Marie Magdalen Postel (1756-1846)

Wikipedia – Marie-Madeleine Postel

Video Link

July 16th St. Marie Magdalen Postel – YouTube (Good Catholic)

St Mary-Magdalen Postel (July 16) – YouTube (Catherine Weeks)