Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Foundation of Gagny-Namur

The Religious of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer came from Austria to Belgium in 1841, but only installed themselves in France in 1875. In 1890, they still only possessed two houses there: one at Saint-Amand in the North, and the other at Grenoble in Central France. However, numerous aspirants to the life of our holy Order urged the Redemptorist Fathers to facilitate the means for them to become daughters of Saint Alphonsus, through the foundation of a new community, at Paris or in its suburbs. In 1890, the Reverend Fathers made frequent requests to the Mother Superior of Grenoble to send forth a swarm of her religious. The parents of several of Sisters from Paris joined with them, and to this effect the Reverend Mother asked the opinion of Mons Fava, the Bishop of Grenoble, the Most Rev. Father Raus, the General of the Redemptorists, and Rev. Father Gavillet, the Provincial. They were all in support of the realisation of the wishes so frequently expressed and the reiterated requests. Divine Providence seemed to encourage the project of foundation by permitting Madame Hello, the mother of our dear Sister Marie-Aloyse, to spontaneously offer a sum large enough to cover the first expenses. Believing they saw in all this a new expression of the divine will, they accepted the foundation. On 16th June 1893, Reverend Mother Marie-Augustine of the divine Providence set off en route for the capital, in order to seek out in the suburbs of Paris a site that could shelter the little colony. After having visited a number of localities, she stopped at Gagny (Seine et Oise), a little town in the Diocese of Versailles. Mons Goux, then the Bishop, accepted the request for admission made by Mons Fava himself, and on 3rd August of the same year, Reverend Mother Marie-Augustine and several religious from the Convent of Grenoble came to take possession of the new nest prepared by divine Providence. First of all they stayed in Gagny itself, and then several months later they were able to transfer the community into a more spacious and better situated house in the suburbs of Gagny.

Many vocations presented themselves, and everything presaged happy beginnings, but following malevolence on the one hand, and imprudence on the other, in less than two years the foundation was about to founder following some exceptional trials. But God, who had willed its existence, brought it out of these unfortunate circumstances. The vocations became numerous and after ten years the community already numbered thirty members. Then came the wicked law of 1901, against religious Congregations. The communities emigrated en masse, and that of the Redemptoristines of Gagny decided to find shelter where they could take refuge during the torment that was coming. Mons Heylen, the Bishop of Namur, agreed to receive them into his episcopal city, so they went there in the month of May 1903. His Lordship ameliorated the sacrifice of the exiles by surrounding them with a truly paternal solicitude, and our good God blessed their fidelity by sending them some new companions. Praise and thanksgiving to J. M. J. A.

This necrology is translated from Fleurs de l'Institut des Rédemptoristines by Mr John R. Bradbury. The copyright of this translation is the property of the Redemptoristine Nuns of Maitland, Australia. The integral version of the translated book will be posted here as the necrologies appear.

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