Reflecting on the life of Jeanne Fontbonne

At our Faith Connections team meeting this week, we reflected on the life of a young adult named Jeanne Fontbonne, who became a foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

We invite you to share in our prayer and reflection.


GATHERING INVOCATION

GOD OF INCLUSIVE LOVE, --- We celebrate the life of Jeanne Fontbonne. At the age of 18 Jeanne was seized by your love – a love that impelled her to move beyond the familiarity of her small home-town in Bas-en-Basset, France, and adjust her dreams to respond to the needs of a church and society that beckoned her.

We pray that we may we model her humility, fidelity, and courage as we move beyond the familiar into the uncertainties of the future.

GOD OF OUTPOURING LOVE, -- Jeanne Fontbonne was a woman grounded in the immediacy of your love – a love that she poured out for others in the extraordinary way she lived her ordinary life.

We pray that we, too, may be and act as God’s outpouring love in the ordinary moments of each day.

SPIRIT OF ANIMATING LOVE, -- Your steadfast presence enlivened Jeanne Fontbonne with a love that was active and inclusive, forgiving and giving. Your love animated her to form bridges and make connections -- enabling others to stir up love in a world in need of reconciliation and unity.

We pray that we may carry her fidelity to God’s active love to the world -- by being the bearers of inclusive love to others.

READING

THE SELF-EMPTYING OF JESUS, THE BELOVED OF GOD -- Philippians 2:5ff a reflection…

At the heart of our vocation as Sisters of St. Joseph and Associates is the profound mystery of God – Present in all of reality. Both as Christian believers, and as members of our communities of St. Joseph we are invited into the mystery of personal encounter with God in the day-by-day reality in which we live. We are drawn into a mystery of relationship with God, whose very identity is to be in relationship….This God is Self-communicating Love, Love poured out, Love present, truly present in all things, in all of creation and in a particularly intimate way in humanity.

Jean-Pierre Medaille desired to experience in his own life the self-emptied, paschal love of Jesus…He recognized in the little groupings of women who were serving the poor and desolate in the area around LePuy, the same desires that stirred in his own soul.

How did their longing for God connect with the alienation, suffering, starvation, violence that they were experiencing? How does our longing for God connect with the challenges of our time?
How could they sustain their energies for the work that drew them? How do we sustain our energies for the work that draws us?

(From The Self-emptying of Jesus, the Beloved of God by Bette Mosslander, CSJ)

CLOSING PRAYER

Gracious God you are among us and within us – you move in the very depths of our soul and call us beyond ourselves to open our hearts to All.

Wherever we are, through whatever we do may we be embraced by your expansive love and offer Your love to every kind of neighbor so that meaningful connections are created, others feel whole, and healing happens over and over again.

May we continue to give life to our dreams and to God’s dream for our world.

Earlier this week, for Toronto's 180th birthday on March 6, The Toronto Star newspaper honoured Marie-Antoinette Fontbonne as a "community builder", one of 180 "people who helped shape the city." Known as Mother Delphine, she was the niece of Jeanne Fontbonne and the Sister of St. Joseph who established their order in Toronto in 1851.