Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award
A record-breaking late spring snowstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of the full house at the Institute of Religious Life (IRL) National Meeting at St. Mary’s of the Lake University in Mundelein. The theme for this years’ meeting was Forming Apostles For Today.
During the Saturday evening IRL banquet on April 27; we were humbled to be honored with Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award. This IRL award honors those “who manifest a strong love for the Church and a zealous commitment to the consecrated life.”
The evening began with Mass celebrated by Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, along with the Most Rev. Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, CA (IRL President) and Fr. Thomas Nelson O. Praem. (IRL National Director). We were especially touched by Archbishop Pierre’s love for Jeanne Jugan and his reference to us as his ‘Sisters’. He explained that his home region in France, Brittany, is the same as where Jeanne Jugan lived and where our Motherhouse has been for over 160 years.
Following Mass was a delicious dinner served by the seminarians from St. Mary’s of the Lake University (Mundelein Seminary). After dinner, our three Provincials, Mother Alice (Brooklyn Province) Mother Lorraine (Baltimore Province) and Mother Maria Christine (Chicago Province) accepted the Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award from Bishop Vasa.
On behalf of all the Little Sister, Sr. Constance Carolyn, U.S. Director of Communications, thanked the IRL for our award. She spoke of our unwavering faith in Divine Providence and how God has not only provided for our needs, but also protected us in difficult and even dangerous times. Sr. Constance talked of our first Little Sisters in America and their conviction of God’s Providence. The annals of each Home are filled with stories of how God manifested his goodness by providing all kinds of necessities, always at just the right moment, through the generosity of good people in the community — all sorts of people from every walk of life.
Through many months of preparation, Little Sisters, Residents and volunteer made over 300 rosaries to hand out that evening to each guest. Mother Maria Christine recounted stories of Residents and Little Sisters learning to make rosaries, finding beads and lovingly stringing them together. Mother Maria Christine asked that when the rosary was recited on these beads that the intention of vocations for the Little Sisters be offered in prayer.
We believe that the charism that Saint Jeanne Jugan received from God is a precious flame and we are eager to pass it on to new generations of Little Sisters in service of the needy elderly for the next 150 years!