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Anniversary Celebrations: 150th Anniversary of the Death of Marie Madeleine

This is a special year for the FCJ family of Sisters, Companions in Mission and Colleagues.   April 5th marks  the 150th anniversary of the death of Marie Madeleine, our Foundress.  We celebrate with gratitude, her life and legacy. We thank God for Marie Madeleine’s openness to God’s call, for her commitment to the Gospel and her example  of loving gentleness.   Her ‘zeal for souls’ was powerful and we are grateful to the early Companions who, inspired by her example, joined the young Society.

Some of the events marking the anniversary are as follows:

At Stella Maris, Broadstairs, Kent, England, the place where Marie Madeleine is buried, there will be a Mass of Thanksgiving on April 5th.

Sketches of tree planting.At the invitation of General Leadership, trees will be planted by each FCJ community in the newer parts of the Society.  This planting of trees is both a commemorative event in honour of Marie Madeleine and an acknowledgement of our carbon footprint.

For example in Manila, the Scout Borromeo community is growing seedlings of the Malunggay (Sajina or Moringa) tree to distribute to 150 local families.  The people have been asked to prepare a sack of soil to receive the seedlings and will be given instructions on how to care for them.  The Malunggay has edible leaves and is considered to be the most nutritious plant in the world.  It is a common tree in the Philippines where it grows easily.  It is a wonderful project to enable the people in the urban area to grow a Malunggay so that they can have the leaves to supplement their diet. (More about the Malunggay tree)

At the Centre for adult learning in Condor, Tarija, Bolivia, fruit trees have already been planted to commemorate Marie Madeleine and at the Maria Magdalena School in Clodomira, Argentina, trees that give shade are being planted in the grounds and around the perimeter of the school campus.

Province of the Americas

The Sisters of the Province of the Americas are from a wide geographical area and when they gathered for their Provincial Chapter in January 2008, they celebrated a dual anniversary— the 150th anniversary of Marie Madeleine's death and the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the first FCJs in Canada. This arrival was in fact the first arrival of FCJs in the Americas.

Over the next few months, the FCJ Sisters of this province and the Companions in Mission will be doing lots of tree planting to celebrate this special year. They will sponsor a small forestry project in Argentina or Bolivia or Canada or Mexico or the USA and or plant a tree (or trees) in their own property or elsewhere. Local celebrations are planned with the Companions in Mission and others, in communities, parishes and corporate works.


The Province of Asia- Australia

On 5 April, the Sisters of the Province of Asia-Australia will be united with the FCJ Society throughout the world as we remember, give thanks and celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the death of our Foundress, Marie Madeleine.  It is an opportunity to share this important occasion with our Sisters, Companions in Mission, family, friends, co -workers, past and present students and neighbours. We hope that through the various events which will be happening in Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia, we will be able to share the beautiful gift we have received from Marie Madeleine and thus enable more people to come to know her in the various cultures in which we live and minister.

In Melbourne, Australia on 5 April there will be a mini Pilgrimage in the life of Marie Madeleine (at Richmond) for FCJ Sisters, Companions in Mission and other interested people.  This will be followed by Mass of Thanksgiving at 12 noon in St Ignatius’ Church, Richmond.

On 13 April there will be a Mass celebrated at John Paul College, Frankston,  followed by a BBQ.   Reunions of Past Students will be times of special celebration.  Other events will be announced at a later stage.

A Retreat in Daily Life will take place later in the year.

In Maasin, Philippines 150 fruit trees will be given to the families in the neighborhood to plant with an explanation about the anniversary which is being celebrated.  Other events are planned.   

In Manila a drama/dance presentation on Marie Madeleine will be presented at the FCJ Center and in the local barrios.  There will be Mass in the local church.  A special program of hospital visits has been planned for the orthopedic hospital which will coincide with a presentation of electric fans for a number of wards.

In Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 5 April at 4.30pm a Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated in the Soropadan Community House. On 6 April from 10-1-00pm there will be Open House at Soropadan which will include a power-point presentation, reflective prayer, short talks and sharing on FCJ Charism.

In Ende, Flores on 5 April a special prayer will be held in the FCJ community to which neighbours and friends are invited.


British Province

In Middlesbrough, England, on 5 April there will be a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Bishop Terence Drainey at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Coulby Newham at 12 noon.

There will be a mass of Thanksgiving at St Aloysius Church, Somers Town, on June 21.

On Saturday 13 September Archbishop Patrick Kelly will celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King,


Continental Province

During the past year in Paris, the room where Marie Madeleine died in 1858 and the museum have both been refurbished.  Friends of the community as well as pupils from our school have been able to visit and get to know more about the life and spirit of our Foundress.  A simple guidebook has been prepared for this special year.  The FCJ school, Notre Dame de France, is hosting a gathering of FCJ schools. More information about this event is found at t

A Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated in Notre Dame Cathedral. We know that some of Marie Madeleine’s descendants will be present for the Mass.

In Livorno and San Mauro, Italy, celebrations are planned for April 5th in the local parishes where our sisters minister.  Later in the year, special celebrations will take place in Bucharest, Turin, Livorno and San Mauro.  Much work has been done to translate some of our resources into Italian, Romanian and French. (For more about the ongoing celebrations in Livorno, click here.)

Irish Province

The Irish Province focus in celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Marie Madeleine is to give thanks for her life and legacy and to avail of this opportunity to make her and the FCJ Society more widely known in Ireland.

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Le but de notre petite Société est de rendre gloire
         au Cœur de Jésus par tous les moyens en son pouvoir.     (Marie Madeleine)