The political and social climate in France in 1847 was anything but favourable to religious congregations. Despite a decree prohibiting the establishment of further religious communities, the Archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur Affre, who had known Marie Madeleine when he was a priest in Amiens and was her friend and a supporter of the Faithful Companions of Jesus, warmly welcomed the Sisters to his Archdiocese.
It was not a sudden impulse that directed Marie Madeleine to Paris. She had considered the idea for some time. A house in the capital would provide the opportunity to work with the poor, be a pied à terre for herself and her sisters on their frequent journeys, and provide a more convenient administrative centre for the Society. Further, it could become her place of residence when she was not visiting the houses.
It was January 1848 when Marie Madeleine bought the Paris property and political tension was high. The unrest of subsequent months culminated in a revolution that summer. There were violent clashes in the streets, many deaths and much sorrow. In July, Monseigneur Affre lost his life in an heroic attempt to bring peace at the barricades. Marie Madeleine wrote, From time to time, just when the need is greatest, God raises up a protector for us; he then withdraws him, leaving us again without human support. Monseigneur was our one support in Paris.
In the months following the summer Revolution, Marie Madeleine remained in Paris to care for the children in greatest need. She washed, dressed and fed them. To those advising her to spare herself, because of her age and poor health, she gave a characteristic reply: We should work not as ladies to pass the time but as do the poor to earn their living. Having experienced life as a lady she was able to appreciate the difference!
Throughout the political unrest the Sisters worked for the poor of the district. Eventually a school was established, together with an administrative centre and a novitiate. The house became Marie Madeleine’s residence and she lived there between her visits to the other houses in France, as well as to those in Italy (Savoy), Switzerland, Ireland and England.
The Paris house was born amidst great political unrest and uncertainty, and Marie Madeleine always encouraged her sisters to have a special regard for this house. It was here that she died on April 5th 1858.
To this day, the room in which she died is preserved as a place of prayer and pilgrimage. Beside her room is a small museum containing things precious to her memory.
Marie Madeleine’s room in Paris, the place where she died
Travelling from Issoudun to Bourges you normally (though not inevitably) enter the city over Pont d’Auron and it is from this bridge that Notre Dame du Pont, the statue preserved in Marie Madeleine’s room in Paris (and shown at the bottom right), takes its name. Originally it stood in one of the niches in the bridge. Rescued by M de Bengy to prevent desecration, it was later given by him to Mére Legrand around 1827/8 and taken to Châteauroux. It was there that in 1830/1 Mère de Courville experienced it weeping. Since that time its journey has taken it from Châteauroux to Turin, Carouge and finally Paris in 1850.
A tour of the artefacts from the life of Marie Madeleine in our Paris museum
Click on the images to see their captions and take a tour of the museum.
Join us ONLINE for a week of prayer in Advent organized for young adults by FCJ Centre St Hugh's - starting soon!Commit to 30 minutes of personal prayer each day and opportunity to talk with a prayer guide. There will be an opening and closing meeting and optional workshop during the week. ... See MoreSee Less
"We think one of our calls is to bring hope to our world. How? Well, our hope lies in trusting in our loving and gracious God who is generous in gifting us in many wonderful ways." A short reflection on hope from FCJ Retreat & Conference Centre to start the week...This quote from Pope Francis reminded us of the importance of hope. So, this week, we would like to share with you a few words about hope! Hope is so important and especially in the time in which we now live, it is a very necessary virtue to cultivate. So many people are feeling hopeless in the face of Covid, inflation, climate change, homelessness, and political unrest in so many places in our world! So, what is our call as Christians and your call as you live out your everyday life?We think one of our calls is to bring hope to our world! How? Well, our hope lies in trusting in our loving and gracious God who is so generous in gifting us in many wonderful ways. In our Baptism, we were given the gift of hope as the water was poured over us and we embarked on our life-journey as followers of Jesus Christ. This Jesus who rose from the dead! Do we really remember that Jesus’ crucifixion was followed by the Resurrection? We like to say that we are a Resurrection People, and our song is Alleluia! (not our original quote but one we love to recall.)So, may we go forth each day with hope in our hearts and may God enable us to bring hope to the people we meet each day! ... See MoreSee Less
Members of 90 religious orders gathered in Rome for a one-week conference on Safeguarding. This important gathering of religious with responsibility for safeguarding was organized by the Care and Safeguarding Commission of the Unions of Superiors General of women and men congregations (UISG / USG) in Rome.Sr Judith Routier fcJ from the FCJ General Leadership team attended this conference. ... See MoreSee Less
Join Serra Calgary for a vocations talk with Sr. Michelle, FCJ, followed with the Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate on Saturday, November 18, 2023, at 11:00am. Doors open at 10:00am. ... See MoreSee Less
Everyone is welcome at the online monthly evening retreat offered by FCJ Spirituality Centre London.EVENING RETREAT ON ZOOM, THURSDAY 9th NOVEMBER 7.30 - 9.00 pm‘I ARISE TODAY’This evening’s time of reflection is based on beautiful and powerful words attributed to St. Patrick during his ministry in Ireland in the 5th century. Patrick rejoices in the constant presence and protection of our God, who is with us at all times, in all places and in all circumstances.As usual, we will use music, poetry, short talks, images and quiet moments to support us as we reflect and pray. We do not have sharing groups in these evening retreats. If you would like to attend this retreat online, please email: [email protected]The Zoom link will be sent to you on the evening of Wednesday, 8th November. ... See MoreSee Less
Thanks to all Camino Companions volunteers - FCJ Sisters, Companions in Mission and other friends - who have been serving pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela this 2023 season. We are closing the doors today until Easter Season 2024.Mary and Alan were happy to welcome another great group of pilgrims who shared their experiences and listened to one another. An intergenerational and international group representing people from every continent. How we wish our war torn world could learn from the spirit of the Camino! ... See MoreSee Less
It really was a privilege and an honour, on every level.
Thanks again for the opportunity and for such a fulfilling and worthwhile experience - a win win, for all concerned.
See you next season. 🙏
It was a real privilege and a great experience. Thank you 🙏
How absolutely wonderful to have been taken in by the Camino companions at the end of the Camino and then also to Father Manny