"Take courage! God is with you as soon as you have the firm determination to be pleasing to Him."
Blessed Alphonse Marie
A nice group of people joined us, the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer, and attended Sunday Holy Mass on February 3, 2019 followed by coffee, donuts and a Consecrated Life Skit.
Today, in the year of the Beatification of Mother Alphonse Marie Eppinger and the 170th anniversary of the foundation of our Congregation, we recall her vocation and the work she founded in Niederbronn, France.
Elizabeth Eppinger, from her early childhood, often contemplated the Passion of Jesus. Kneeling on the ground and looking at the cross, she talked to Jesus. With great resoluteness and conscientiousness, she sought to overcome sin in all its forms, particularly her predominant fault, stubbornness, and those faults to which she was especially inclined. She also aked the Blessed Virgin Mary for the intercession.
By the age of fifteen Elizabeth felt herself completely drawn to God. Her only desire was to be allowed to enter the convent soon.
At the age of 18, Elizabeth requested permission to enter the convent. After her parents did not allow her to go consolations that had been her portion until now were withdrawn. Instead she experienced spiritual dryness and "the sense" of being abandoned by God. In addition she suffered physical pains occasioned by the great amount of work that she had to do in the house and in the fields. All this led eventually to a nervous breakdown. During the night, when Elizabeth was tormented by a fierce fever, she more or less complained to the Lord.
Bishop Räss knew of the wholesome and beneficial influence Elizabeth exercised over a large section of the population, and he wanted to insure the continuance of this influence for the general public. He was already entertaining thoughts of founding a congregation that would respond to the needs of the times and have as its main objectives the care of the sick, of the elderly, and of children. Certainly, it was an inspiration from God that was given to him that Elizabeth Eppinger might be placed as superior of the young community, especially, since for years now, a number of like-minded girls had gathered around Elizabeth, allowing themselves to be guided and directed by her instructions.
Yet, Elizabeth herself never had the slightest thought about founding a new religious community. It was only following interior enlightenment that she recognized the will of God in the wishes of the Bishop, and came to a decision. Jesus was about to let his little bride know that she was being called to found a new Order.
On August 28, 1849, Elizabeth moved to a little house in the village where four young Alsatian girls were waiting for her. Elizabeth was overcome by interior anguish. Kneeling before the cross, she prayed for herself to be able to handle this great responsibility. She also pray to be a good mother for those who were entrusted to her.
With grateful hearts we look at Blessed Alphonse Marie, who began this great work, the foundation of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer, 170 years ago. As time went on the daughters of MAM could be found in many places throughout the world, including America. Mother Alphonse Marie prays for us and for you, as we also do. Thank you for being our friends and joining our celebration of Consecrated Life.