Transfer of Marie Madeleine’s mortal remains to Paris
The 20th, 21st and 22nd September, 2012 were memorable days for our Society!
On 20th September, the members of the Southwark Diocesan Tribunal gathered with representatives from the French Consulate to close the Reliquary (casket) in preparation for the journey to France. The final sealing of the blue, white and red ribbon around the Reliquary by the representatives of the French Consul reminded us all of Marie Madeleine’s French origins and in doing so, heightened our sense that there was something of a “homecoming” about to take place.
As we crossed through the tunnel beneath the English Channel and arrived on French soil in the early hours of the 21st September, Marie Madeleine’s birthday, we had a sense that this particular birthday was very special. Arriving at Rue de la Santé a number of FCJs and some staff from Notre Dame de France school were waiting, we took the Reliquary to the convent chapel which had been beautifully prepared. In the course of the afternoon, FCJs, colleagues and friends came to spend a little time in our chapel. Later that evening, united with all our sisters across the Society, we prayed With Fidelity and Joy, an hour of prayer that had been prepared for the occasion and distributed to the members of the Society ahead of time. You can download the prayer booklet.
On Saturday 22 September, the Reliquary was taken to the Church of St. Dominique where, surrounded by flowers and Marie Madeleine’s portrait, it was placed in front of the altar.
By 6.30 p.m. the Church was full as FCJs, many members of the de Bonnault d’Houët and de Bengy families, colleagues, students and a great number of parishioners gathered to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving and the installation of the Reliquary. You can download the booklet used in the liturgy.
It would be impossible to do justice to the joy and loveliness of the celebration, the rapturous singing, the involvement of so many people, the meaningful homily preached by the chief celebrant, Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort; the public renewal of vows by over 50 FCJs; the carrying of the Reliquary to its final resting place by two family members followed by the joyful proclamation of Dolly Bramley’s Magnificat; the beauty of the screen protecting the Reliquary, both designed by David John, a liturgical artist who has worked in religious art for over 50 years.
Faithful Companions of Jesus all over the Society join in thanking God for the amazing beauty of these days. We express our gratitude to all those who made the occasion possible and with generosity and great talent prepared fitting celebrations and a blessed resting place for the reliquary. To artists, musicians, members of staff of FCJ schools, clergy, and FCJ Sisters … thank you!