We make it a spiritual experience when we gather in prayer, around the table for a celebration of the Eucharistic or a festive meal. Others outside our communities are sometimes invited to share this special occasion with us. It is a time for recalling many stories about our religious communities, about our congregation, our heritage. It is a time to celebrate our gift to the church. We give thanks for the experiences that make life for others more humane in the way that Jesus would and make us become ‘even more Daughters of Jesus.’
The celebration of the anniversary of our beginnings gives us the opportunity to reflect on the dreams of our founders and foundresses. We revisit Père Noury’s dream and the inspiration of Yves-Marie Coëffic to build a house of ‘prayer and good works’ which would form the springboard for both spiritual and temporal ministries. We recall the journeys of the first young women, the pioneers and risk-takers, in their poor, humble religious communities who lived their lives in the service of God and the church. We trace the history of our Congregation which speaks of the many Daughters of Jesus thereafter, who have brought their giftedness, creativity, strength and perseverance in devoted service among the poor, the sick, orphaned and imprisoned. Our anniversary celebrations are expressions of gratitude for the rich legacy that our predecessors have left us.
180 years of our existence
This year we observe 180 years of existence of our Congregation. We again reflect on the missionary activities that we have attempted, that we have achieved and continue to engage in since our birth. We discern ways to continue to give ourselves entirely to God. We reflect on the pathways taken by our founders. We become ever more determined to structure other pathways in keeping with our origins and in the spirit of Nazareth: We continue to bring education to the poor and marginalized… to bring relief to the sick and needy. The spirit of our predecessors continues to direct our hearts to grow in humility and compassion for all those who suffer misfortune. Amidst the new problems that we encounter we continue to discern ways to ‘promote the dignity of all with a special affection for the poor, and journey with the most deprived and the underprivileged in the spirit of our founders. Yes, we continue to be set ablaze by “the fire of that love which Jesus came to kindle on earth.”
Captivated by the spirit of our founders
The aim of the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus “To honor the Sacred humanity of the Son of God, by striving to imitate his virtues, especially his love…,” (Rule of Life 1842) hasn’t changed in the 180 years.
Despite the challenges that continue to plague our world we remain captivated by the spirit of our founders. Their legacy continues to inspire us to support just policies that lift up poor persons. It enables us to recognize God’s face in our global neighbors and those displaced from their homes and all those affected by global poverty. We dare to enter the deep with those who struggle for peace and equality among ethnic and religious groups. The celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the Congregation is another invitation to “please God and to be content with God…, to fulfill ‘God’s good pleasure…,’ to be overcome by love…, to dispossess ourselves and to work with ‘Zeal for the salvation of souls…’