Happy 200 Years! Here’s to 200 more…

First of all…sorry for our delay in postings. Sometimes we get caught up in our typical Novitiate things and all of a sudden we find ourselves saying “Oh yeah…our blog…who’s turn is it?” Apologies, friends!

Tomorrow, May 15, 2016, Marianist Sisters from all around the globe will be holding celebrations for our Bicentennial (which is technically on May 25). Almost 200 years ago, on May 25, 1816, a small group of Sisters in France–including Mother Adele–began the Daughters of Mary Immaculate. And somehow, by God’s grace, we are still here! We have never been a large congregation (we are currently around 400 world wide), but God has blessed us in our smallness and has seen us through some very difficult times.

All Sisters

Marianist Sisters in Korea


Novices in India

Japan Postulants

Postulants from Vietnam in Japan

Recently, I wrote a paper for my Marianist History class about some of these difficult ages for the Marianist Sisters. I won’t get into all of the details, but in the course of my research, I was bowled over when I found out how the Sisters commemorated their centennial. Exactly 100 years ago, when the sisters were celebrating our first centenary, they were in the middle of the brutality of World War I. Our motherhouse was in Belgium and the rest of the congregation was in France and Spain. Since Belgium was occupied by Germany, the entire war passed with almost zero communication between the general superiors of the FMI in Belgium and the rest of the congregation. At times, the rest of the sisters didn’t know if their motherhouse was even in existence. As you can imagine, such dire circumstances cast a shadow on commemorations of the first 100 years of the congregation. But the sisters leaned into God, trusting in Providence. As one sister in Belgium said, 100 years ago:

The situation is a sad one, but it is not desperate. We are living this May 25, 1916 in an invaded city, occupied by the enemy. Providence…envelops in its care the least of the beings it has called into existence. It watches with great love over our little family.

By God’s grace, we weathered the storm and we now inherit their legacy. One hundred years ago, the Marianist Sisters were barely surviving in three countries where their existence was extremely vulnerable to the ravages of war and religious persecution. Today, we are in 14 countries–France, Spain, United States, Italy, South Korea, Japan, India, Togo, Ivory Coast, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile–and we are soon to add 2 more with our planned foundations in Vietnam and Malawi. Our communities in each of these places may be small, but as you can see, we have taken Mother Adele’s command to follow God to the “ends of the earth” quite literally!


Venerable Adele, Foundress of the Marianist Sisters

Speaking of Mother Adele, this week, I was overjoyed to learn that the Vatican has approved a miracle attributed to Adele. This should clear the way for her Beatification. What exciting times we live in! In light of all of these things, I can’t help but agree with this anonymous sister in Belgium that yes, God is watching with great love over our little family.

Please pray for our congregation tomorrow as you go about your day! And thank you for your support and continued prayers. Happy Bicentennial!