A letter from Sr Claire Sykes, Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Marie Madeleine d’Houët,
on the occasion of Marie Madeleine’s Feast Day, 5th April 2021
Dear Sisters and Companions in Mission,
Celebrating Marie Madeleine’s Feast Day, Easter Monday, 5 April 2021
It is good to celebrate Marie Madeleine’s Feast Day! On Holy Thursday, we remember our foundation and on April 5th we rejoice in our Foundress herself and the Good News brought into the world because of her response to God’s call. The day has added poignancy because in 1858, April 5th was also on Easter Monday.
We remember again that ‘Mary (Magdalene) stayed near the tomb, weeping. … She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. … Jesus said, “Mary!” she knew him then.’ (John 20:11,15-16)
And rightly, we relish afresh the insight: ‘Now I understand! My name is Madeleine; I wish to be like my patron saint who loved Jesus her Master so truly that she looked after his needs and accompanied him in his travels, even to the foot of the Cross with the other holy women who did not, like the apostles, abandon him, but proved to be his Faithful Companions.’ (Marie Madeleine d’Houët, Memoirs 104c)
In recent years we have celebrated this feast day in different ways. There have been times when some have made local pilgrimages. We have watched A/V productions and reflected together on the Good News story of Marie Madeleine’s response to God’s call. We have been reminded of resources – of books and more.
This year, I’m simply encouraging us to pray for peace in Myanmar. Together let’s ask Mary Madeleine to pray with us for peace in that most beautiful country, the place of our newest foundation. How she would have marvelled at the golden temples; how she would be moved by the sight of the Buddhist monks on the street; how she would appreciate the gentleness of its people and how now, she would be heartbroken by the devastation in its towns and cities.
There is evidence that as more and more people learn or do something it becomes easier for others to learn or do it. The more people have a habit pattern — whether of knowledge, perception or behaviour — the more easily it replicates in a new person. The term morphogenetic field is used to describe this reality. With every thought and action (or non-action) every individual strengthens one of those fields of thought that exist or with the focus of enough minds creates a new one. Global fear, judgement, peace and love are morphogenetic fields, waxing and waning with every individual thought. The morphogenetic field is one of the most important and least understood factors of influence within our society and our global culture.
So, FCJ Sisters and Companions in Mission, together, let us create a morphogenetic field! This year, in the midst of a pandemic and grateful for the gift of life, let’s honour Marie Madeleine by imploring her to pray with us as we storm heaven for peace in Myanmar.
With all blessings and in companionship,
Claire Sykes fcJ
Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Marie Madeleine
Read the translation of the November 1970 document of promulgation, which declared Marie Madeleine to be ‘Venerable’.