Friday, May 4, 2012

First Friday of May - Canadian Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis

Although we don't hear much talk of making the nine First Fridays, there is no shortage of the need to remind ourselves of Christ's love of all humanity as expressed in the vision of Margaret Mary Alacoque and promulgated by her spiritual director Claude de la Columbière.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart reminds of us of Christ's great love for us, and his desire that this love burn in our hearts. Taking Christ as our namesake, since we call ourselves Christians, we are called to be like Christ and share that love where it is needed most.

Although we may be tempted to despair by the enormity world's problems, we need to examine where in our lives we can be witnesses to the power of prayer and how that prayer can move us and others towards Christ's Sacred Heart. Dedicating ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus provides us with a great means and encouragement to build up the Kingdom of that same loving Savior.

The work of promoting this devotion continues to this day under the auspices of the Apostleship of Prayer. You can learn about this important work at the following link: [Fr. Michael W. Maher, SJ, The Magis Institute (].
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The Holy Father's May 2012
Prayer Intentions

General Intention
The Family: that initiatives which defend and uphold the role of the family may be promoted within society.

Mission Intention

Mary, Guide of Missionaries: that Mary, Queen of the World and Star of Evangelization, may accompany all missionaries in proclaiming her Son Jesus.

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Blessed Marie-Leonie

Elodie Paradis was born in the village of L'Acadie in Quebec, Canada. It was May 12, 1840. Her parents were poor but devout Catholics. They loved their little girl. When Elodie was nine, her parents decided to send her to a boarding school. They wanted her to have an excellent education. The Sisters of Notre Dame warmly received the new student. But Elodie and her family missed each other very much.

Mr. Paradis worked hard running a mill. But times were bad, and the mill did not produce enough to support his wife and children. He heard wonderful reports of the gold rush in California. He was so desperate that he decided to go. In California, Mr. Paradis did not find the wealth he hoped for. When he returned to L'Acadie, he was shocked to find that his Elodie had joined the convent. She had entered the Holy Cross congregation on February 21, 1854.

Mr. Paradis went to the convent. He begged his daughter to return home, but she chose to remain. Finally, her father accepted it. She pronounced her vows in 1857. Blessed Marie-Leonie taught school in different cities. She prayed and lived her life joyfully. As time went on, Sister Marie-Leonie was led by Jesus to begin a new religious order in the Church. The Little Sisters of the Holy Family were begun in 1880. These loving sisters are devoted to the priesthood. They serve priests in the household care so important to their ministry. The Little Sisters of the Holy Family now have sixty-seven convents in Canada, the United States, Rome and Honduras.

Mother Marie Leonie worked for her sisters until the last few hours of her life. She was always frail and often ill. But she never stopped caring for God's people. She put the last corrections on the pages of the book of rules she had written. She had it sent to the print shop. That book would give her sisters the guidance they would need for their life. It was Friday, May 3, 1912. Mother Marie-Leonie said she felt very tired. She went to rest and died a few hours later. She was seventy-one years old.

Reflection: Sometimes we are afraid of our future. May the words of Jesus comfort and give us hope: "Do not be afraid, I am with you until the end of time."

O God, who made Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis an example of devoted and humble service to your Church's ministers, grant us, we pray, the grace to imitate her virtues, that, faithfully walking in our own vocation, we may reach the perfection you have set before us in your Son.  Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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