December 11: Death of Mother St. Pierre

by Dec 10, 2020Blog, Our Stories, Prayer0 comments

Evening Prayer

Introduction

Welcome:  

Tonight, we gather together to celebrate our dear Mother St. Pierre.

It was on this day that she died in the Monastery of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament in Lyon, France. It was there that she was formed in religious life, and prepared for the mission in San Antonio, Texas. 

Suffering from diabetes, Mother St. Pierre traveled to Austria at the recommendation of Dr. Ferdinand Herff, her dear friend and collaborator. Unable to find relief there, she returned to France. After she arrived in Lyon, she addressed her last letter to Sister Madeleine. She concluded it by saying, “Life is short; soon we will meet in the presence of the Incarnate Word. What a grace for me to be here in the house where I learned to know and love him, and to breathe my last here! … I can die at any moment but that makes no difference – I am ready!”

May our prayer tonight be one that celebrates not only Mother St. Pierre, but one that reminds us that we are all called to one God and one mission. May we continue to respond with courage however, and whenever we are called.

(The person giving the welcome should return to their place; observe silence before beginning the prayer.  The leader of prayer stands, motioning for all to stand.  The leader then lights the candles, and prayer begins with the sign of the cross.)

 

Leader:  O God, come to our assistance.

Assembly:  Lord, make haste to help us.

All: Glory to you, Source of all Being, eternal Word

and Holy Spirit

As it was in the beginning is now,

and will be forever.  Amen.

Hymn: US – God of Day and God of Darkness (other locations should select a suitable hymn)

(The leader of prayer lights the incense as the singing begins The leader then moves to her place.)

At the conclusion, the leader sits as a signal for all to sit.  The psalms are prayed antiphonally, with those seated on the leader’s side of the Chapel beginning the psalm. The antiphons are prayed in unison; the leader begins, and all join.)

 

Antiphon:  If you could see how much she loves you all.

 

A Psalm for all women (Miriam Therese Winter)

Grace and peace be with you,

sisters of Elizabeth and Mary.

Blessing and power of Spirit-church

be with all women of God.

How good and wholesome and holy it is

for women to come together.

We share our sacred stories

sift through our graced experience

and discover common ground.

create our creeds of courage

and our paradigms of praise.

We hear one another into being

laugh into life our dreams,

support the choice taking shape within us.

Women together share new life

and celebrate miracles:

like Elizabeth, share how the barren bring to birth,

like Mary, share the fruits of believing,

share all the many and marvelous ways

the Spirit impregnates women

with the seeds of new creation

and the potential for significant change.

Old and young together,

ordinary women together

break ground for the new

step into the margins

rooted and grounded in justice

growing strong in the embrace of peace.

All: Our soul sings in the strength of Wisdom,

our spirit rejoices in Her creation!

All: Glory to you, Source of all Being, eternal Word and Holy Spirit

As it was in the beginning is now,

and will be forever.  Amen.

Antiphon:  If you could see how much she loves you all.

Sacred Silence

 

Antiphon:  Have courage, and let us pray and do the work calmly.

 

Creed

We believe that there was the Word in the beginning,

and that the Word was with God and is God.

That everything exists

by the force of God’s love.

We believe in heaven and earth.

We believe that God touched our earth,

and tenderly created man and woman.

God created them in God’s image and likeness,

God loved them as a mother loves her children.

We believe that God walks with us

from the beginning

in the cool of the afternoon

and in the heat of the noon.

God has made us free to make decisions,

God has saved us from our bonds

when they have become heavier than we can bear.

We believe that after a long waiting period

the God of history became flesh

to share our human condition,

our tears, our dreams and our love.

We believe that God came, comes and will come

illuminating our darkness,

satisfying our hunger

and forgiving our sins.

We believe that the Word is with us today.

and will be until the end of time,

present visibly wherever there are people

who live and love as God.

We believe that there is hope for tomorrow

despite today’s discouragement

because with Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel

and with all the women prophets and saints

All: we cling to the promise

of a new order in the world

and we believe that this promise

is already being fulfilled.

All: Glory to you, Source of all Being, eternal Word and Holy Spirit

As it was in the beginning is now,

and will be forever.  Amen.

Antiphon:  Have courage, and let us pray and do the work calmly.

Sacred Silence

 

Reading

Leader: Let us now listen to a reading …. Promises to Keep, 28ff 

Reader:

In the annals [of the Congregation] [Mother Sr. Pierre] is described as being “a remarkably pleasing and amiable person” and also as a “mother in the truest sense of the word.” In writing to the Sisters, she sometimes refers to herself as “your old mother,” “your old ma,” or “Big Mama,” an affectionate title given to her and used often by the children at St. Joseph’s Orphanage, referring in a gentle way to her physical stature but also to her warm-hearted motherly ways.

Prayer was at the center of her life and a source of grace for herself and for others: “Prayer is our great force,” she told the Sisters.  She often counseled her Sisters to turn to God in any difficulty. “What can we do of ourselves and who will sustain us when hell and earth seem to be united against us?” she asked.

Over and over again, she encouraged [her sisters] to strive for virtue – charity, patience, faith, trust, simplicity, obedience. [Further, she believed] to be a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word was a great gift from God. In one of her letters she exclaims: “Oh! how grand and noble is our vocation! Is there anything better on earth than to be dedicated to the Incarnate Word, and to help others know and love him?”

Mother St. Pierre was superior of the Congregation from 1872 until her death in 1891. During that time, the number of Sisters had increased from 3 to 197. Their work in health care had expanded from the operation of a single hospital to the administration of nine additional institutions. They had opened schools in the United States and Mexico. They owned and operated two orphanages. They had also established a home for the aged in Monterrey, Mexico.

When Mother St. Pierre died, the Sisters lost not only a great leader, but a wise and kind superior whom they love and admired.

Sacred Silence

 

Responsory

Prayer is our great force; with it we can plead for our neighbor when unable to assist her otherwise.

Prayer is our great force; with it we can plead for our neighbor when unable to assist her otherwise.

With it we can plead for our neighbor;

when unable to assist her otherwise.

Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit.

Prayer is our great force; with it we can plead for our neighbor when unable to assist her otherwise.

Magnificat all stand for the proclamation of the Magnificat.

[The leader gestures for everyone to stand, and then reads the antiphon; all repeat the antiphon.  Pray the Magnificat antiphonally, or, sing an appropriate setting according to location.]

 

Antiphon:  With the increase of years and time, may the love of the Incarnate Word take deeper root within you.

My soul proclaims your greatness, O my God,

and my spirit has rejoiced in you, my Savior,

 

For your regard has blessed me,

poor, and a serving woman.

 

From this day all generations

will call me blessed,

 

For you who are mighty, have made me great.

Most Holy be your Name.

 

Your mercy is on those who fear you

throughout all generations.

 

You have shown strength with your arm,

You have scattered the proud in their hearts’ fantasy.

 

You have put down the mighty from their seat,

and have lifted up the powerless.

 

You have filled the hungry with good things,

and have sent the rich away empty.

 

You, remembering your mercy,

have helped your people Israel,

 

As you promised Abraham and Sarah.

Mercy to their children, forever.

 

Glory to you, Source of all Being,

Eternal Word and Holy Spirit,

 

As it was in the beginning is now

and will be forever.  Amen.

 

Antiphon:  With the increase of years and time, may the love of the Incarnate Word take deeper root within you.

 

Petitions

Leader:

God of love, you looked with favor on our sister, Pierre.  Look with favor on the prayers we now bring to you:

Reader:

For the Church (pause): that we may be signs of God’s compassionate care for all who are marginalized or whose dignity is devalued, we pray

For our leaders (pause)   that they use their authority to speak truth and strive for Gospel justice by working to safeguard the rights and dignity of everyone, we pray

For our congregation (pause)  that we continue to live faithfully the mission, charism and spirituality of our Congregation, we pray

For our sisters, (pause)   that we each live faithfully our baptismal call as vowed religious, and through our witness, inspire others to join us, we pray

For all those who work on behalf of peace, justice, and care of creation (pause):  that they be lifted up, and filled with all good things, we pray

For peace (pause): that the Spirit will renew the dedication of those working for peace and help all to work together to defeat the common enemies of violence, ignorance and poverty, we pray

 

Lord’s Prayer

Leader:

Let us gather all of our prayers into the words that Jesus taught us:

All:  Our Father, 

 

Closing Prayer

Leader:

O God,

through the courage and faithfulness

of Mother St. Pierre,

your work took root in and has grown

As we celebrate her life 

and her commitment

to the Incarnate Word

grant us the grace of opening our lives

to all that you would call us to be.

Give us the mind and heart of Pierre,

that we too may bear 

Christ to the world.

We ask this,

through Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word,

one with you, 

Source of all life,

and with the Holy Spirit.

All:  Amen.

 

Blessing

Leader:

  May the Lord bless us,

protect us from all evil,

and bring us to everlasting life. All:  Amen

Hymn: US – Make the Love of God Known in the World (other locations should select a suitable hymn)

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