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Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Faithful Companions of Jesus to celebrate 150th anniversary of foundress
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 The Faithful Companions of Jesus celebrate the life of their founder Marie Madeleine d'Houet as they mark 150 years since her death. Marie Madeleine d'Houet the founder of the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus was born in France in 1781. She grew up in difficult times during the French Revolution and experienced the trauma of her family going into hiding, some of them being persecuted, and imprisoned. At twenty three, she was happily married to Joseph. Both she and Joseph were devout Catholics and rivalled each other in visiting the sick at the city hospital. Sadly, Joseph became ill and died within the first year of their marriage, as a result of an infection picked up at the hospital. Their son Eugene, was born two months later. The ensuing years were dedicated to the care and education of Eugene and Marie Madeleine confessed to having been "mad about that child, the fondest and, yes, most foolish of mothers". However, as Eugene grew up and his education was well under way at the Jesuit School in Amiens, God was making new challenges in Marie Madeleine's life. At the age of thirty eight, she founded the society of the Faithful Companions of Jesus and during her lifetime, opened convents and schools in France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland and England. Since her death, the Society has spread to fifteen countries, including Romania, Canada, USA, Australia, and the Philippines. Very soon there will be a new foundation in Burma. Marie Madeleine came to London in November 1830, and made her first English foundation in Somers Town, near Euston Station. At that time, Somers Town was known as "Little France", the part of London which had become home to French émigrés who had fled from the terrors of the French revolution. The school she took over there was, in origin, the present Maria Fidelis Convent School which to this day, is proud to continue in the tradition of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. In 1841, Marie Madeleine founded Gumley House Convent School Isleworth which still offers a first class Catholic education to students in west London. The FCJ Sisters served for many years in St Victoire's School in the East End and still minister in the Poplar parish. Holy Mass will be offered to give thanks for all that God had done through Marie Madeleine during her lifetime and in the 150 years that have passed since her death. The Mass will take place at St. Aloysius Church, Phoenix Road, NW1 at 11.30 am on 21st June 2008. (Five minutes walk from Euston Station) Celebrant: Fr. Michael Holman SJ. All are welcome! For more information see: www.fcjsisters.org
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