Any vocation to the religious life remains a mystery. It’s a passing of Christ into an existence and a call that nothing explains.
- At one time, it’s a sudden dazzling meeting: “Come and follow me!»
- At another time, a silent germ of love that finally blossoms into certainty.
Then the question is: “Lord, what do You want me to do?” That question sounds the deepest of this heart worked by a secret grace.
The day finally dawns, when the answer will appear, perhaps still hesitant and timid; or prompt, resolute, joyful, but always free and bearer of peace:
“Yes, Lord, with your grace, I want to follow you”
I give you my life, wherever you go, wherever you send me. I will go with you!”
That already is the alliance of love with the One by whom one knows one is loved and whom one loves: Jesus the Christ. It is, one could also say, to put one’s own signature at the foot of a blank page on which God will write what he wants from our existence, day by day.
“Lord, in the same manner as Mary, I give you my whole life, for your pleasure, and for ever!”
That is the full secret of religious life.
This deep desire I had of pleasing Christ, I didn’t know how to realise it fully other than be entrusting it to Mary. The Lord then allowed me to discover, at the Annunciade, exactly what I was looking for”.
“To please Christ by imitating Mary”.
Jean Paul II said to the religious nuns:
“Mary is the mother and the model of those who live the religious life. Your life should reflect Mary’s life…”
And Saint Jeanne explains:
“First and before all, keep the Virgin herself constantly before your eyes… May the Virgin be your model, your oracle and your rule and have no other care than to please your spouse (Christ) perfectly, by imitating the Virgin”
It is therefore a question not of a “law” but of a life made possible today.
Each sister must, in same way, present Mary to today’s world. That is the inspiration received by Saint Jeanne and passed to her Sisters in her statutes:
“Let those who see them, see Mary still living in this world”.
This word, unique and audacious as are those of the Holy Spirit, has opened many paths and filled many hearts.
It is well to conclude by this affirmation of Father Gabriel Maria, co-founder of the Annunciade, which confirms, in a manner, the very inspiration received by the foundress:
“Madame, he said to her, you must understand that each Order has its own method of working separately…. Similarly, the Order of the Virgin Mary that you want to found will have its own method of working and can have no other form of life except the life of the Virgin Mary…”
“For the honour and pleasure of God”
“And for the salvation of the world”
An Annunciade talks to you:
Our Order was founded by Saint Jeanne of France, so that on earth, each of us, fully aware of our own deficiencies, becomes, even so, true to life of the Virgin Mary, for the honour of God and the salvation of the world.
That is our specific vocation. That is our grace and our part in the Church at this time:
- Mary, in the fraternal life, in the least help as in the humble forgiveness given without count among our sisters and to whomever it may be;
- Mary, in the inevitable difficulties, bourn in the prayer and silence of a deep faith;
- “Mary in everything” living in our life, to please Christ, that is to make spring secretly from our convents like an immense marial grace which reaches through us the whole of humanity. It doesn’t matter that we ourselves cannot be fully conscious of it. The day will come when each of us can say: “Happy, Blessed are you for having believed”.
For the praise of God, our only love, let us give especially all our care, our strength or our exhaustion. In the same measure that we reach God’s heart and share with and in the same most humble way of Mary, in the redeeming work of Jesus her Son.
Jean Paul II tells us “the spirituality of Mary is a spirituality of total intimacy with Christ”.
That is the very spirituality of the Annunciade: love Christ as Mary did. To allow oneself to be shaped by the love of Mary for Christ, without reserve. That is the very heart of our life.