Today marks the 29th anniversary of death of Mother Marie des Douleurs, known in history as Suzanne Wrotnowska (1902-1983), the foundress of the Congregation of Benedictines of Jesus Crucified. A true spiritual mother of all who need mercy, especially women who would not be able to enter the monastic life due physical impediments. Mother Marie’s spiritual maternity extended also to priests who haven’t repented of their sin.
The vocation of a Benedictine sister of Jesus Crucified is to be a victim, a total offering of self to the Lord for priests in view of who we know our Messiah to be, Jesus Christ, priest and head of the Church (Christ the King). The law of the gift is lived par excellence in union with those in most need of mercy. The vocation is especially needed today for those priests, bishops and deacons who are public sinners and who have not repented of their sins. We are all aware of our own sin, we all need forgiveness and to forgive, we also note that not all the clergy have been living a life of purity of heart. And for this intention a Benedictine of Jesus Crucified promises to offer prayer and sacrifice.
A friend, Father Mark tells us, upon learning from Father Luc de Wouters, OSB, who wrote the biography of Mother Marie, who said that she was facing death Mother Marie said,
In the eventide of my life, I have such a need of recollection, such a need to obey and to humble myself. I am unworthy of having been chosen to found the Congregation. I suffer being pulled between heaven and earth. The cross grows heavy. The Lord gave me as my portion the souls of guilty priests…my own soul disappears beneath an accumulation of iniquities! But I had asked for this humiliation! How is that the Lord was able to make use of so little a thing? His fidelity, His consuming love, this all my life, my light my death.
Mother Marie des Douleurs is also the author of Joy Out of Sorrow (1965).
In the US, there is one monastery of 17 nuns at the Monastery of the Glorious Cross, Branford, CT.
The biography of Mother Marie is written by Father Luc de Wouters, OSB, Le Sperpent et la croix, is available by writing to Soeur Marie-Isabelle, OSB, Monastère Saint Benoît, 25330, Nans-sous-Sainte Anne, France.