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Posts Tagged ‘Saint Julie’

Saint Julie Billiart is the spiritual mother of the Sisters of Notre Dame, since she was not living when the religious order began, but the order is based on her spirituality and teachings. She was born on July 12, 1751; died on April 8, 1816; and was canonized on June 22, 1969.

Marie Rose Julie Billiart (as she was baptized) was born in the French village of Cuvilly during the French Revolution.  Even as a young child, Julie’s love for the good God was apparent to all who knew her. She told bible stories and taught about Jesus to neighboring children.

As a young woman several things happened to her and her family which left them in poverty and traumatized her in such a way that she was paralyzed and had difficulty speaking. In spite of these physical handicaps, Julie served God by preparing children for their First Communion. She offered spiritual guidance to adults who came to her because of her wisdom, goodness and love of God, even in the midst of all her suffering.

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With her friend, Francoise Blin de Bourdon, Julie, then 53 years old, began a religious community of sisters: the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.  These women wanted to follow Julie and Francoise in their dedication to God, their spreading of the message that God is good, and their work teaching poor children. Julie was still paralyzed when a priest asked her to pray for an unknown special intention. This special intention was Julie’s cure, so after 23 years of being paralyzed, Julie began to walk. She was able then to travel to all the places her sisters were in order to help them become sisters and teachers. She wrote many letters and made many journeys to her sisters until she died in 1816.

Two other religious communities of sisters were founded after Julie Billiart died that are also called Sisters of Notre Dame. Their way of living as sisters and relating to God comes from Saint Julie Billiart. One of these religious communities is the Sisters of Notre Dame of Coesfeld, Germany, and they eventually came to the United States and became the congregation we know today.

Prayer from the Mass of Saint Julie

Almighty and eternal God, you called Saint Julie Billiart to respond joyfully to the love of your crucified Son in dedicating herself to the education of the poor. Grant that her prayer and example may inspire us to respond with love to His Cross, in serving the needs of others with true goodness of heart. Amen.

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Click below to hear Sister Mary Paulynne Tubick talk about her journey to Sister Teopista’s home in Uganda.

 

DSCN0407Sister Mary Teopista Nabugwawo made her first vows on May 10, 2014, in Uganda, Africa. She is a graduate of both Saint Julie Primary Boarding School and Notre Dame Academy Senior Secondary School in Buseesa, Uganda, where the Sisters of Notre Dame have taught and ministered for 20 years. Sister Teopista is the oldest of nine children and her family lives in Uganda, not far from the schools. She and several other East African sisters are preparing to begin their ministries at Saint Julie and Notre Dame Academy.

“People that live in the nearby region are very happy that these young ladies are going to serve in their area,” said Sister Mary Paulynne Tubick, who is principal at Saint Julie and taught Sister Teopista when she was a student there.

Sister Teopista began her formation journey as a candidate at the formation house in Mpala, Uganda. From there she traveled to Tanzania for a year as a postulant and then spent two years as novice. Once that process is concluded, Sisters of Notre Dame typically return to their home parishes to begin their ministries. Sister Teopista will work with nursery and primary school students at Saint Julie.

“She’ll be working with another teacher and watching what’s happening so she’s not a stranger to the educational format,” Sister Paulynne said.

Sister Paulynne hopes that the newly professed sisters will continue spread the joy and love of God in their hearts to others.

“We [the sisters from the United States] can only go so far,” she said, “But they can speak the language so it’s through them that other people can see the word of God. I hope that they continue the Notre Dame spirit in the schools we’ve established and that they are empowered to carry it on in Uganda.”

 

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