My beloved Poor Ladies at Bethlehem Monastery in Barhamsville, Virginia gently chided me for forgetting that today is indeed the solemn festival of Saint Colette, their mother after Saint Clare. In Rome we were all about Blessed Pius IX today!
The Ty Mam Duw Poor Clares in Wales have a very rich section on Saint Colette on their site. Do read it!
Mother Vicaress Thérèse offered to post Paul Claudel’s poem on Saint Colette for us. We are waiting, Mother! Blessed festival of Saint Colette to her worthy daughters the world over, especially to those who bear her name!
The Ty Mam Duw Poor Ladies write:
Colette’s intercession with the Lord has spanned the five centuries since her death, calling forth miracles of love. The deaf hear, the blind see, the lame walk and the dead are restored to life.
Colette’s method of proclaiming the Gospel was not to preach but to pray. Her whole life was spent in prayer. Even when she was asked to help her brothers the Friars Minor, in their reform, and was invited into their chapter room, she did not tell them what they ought to do, she simply knelt down and prayed, and those who watched, one by one, also fell on their knees.
There is a lot of talk today among religious about “refounding” their institutes. Most are still reticent about “reforming” them. To acknowledge the need for reform implies that, somewhere along the way, we have become deformed. It takes humility and courage to say, “We have made mistakes. We have made wrong decisions. We are not living in fidelity to the grace of our origins. Worldliness and activism are snuffing out the living flame of love.” Saint Colette shows all of us the way to true reform. Reform begins in prayer. Reform is sustained by prayer. Reform bears fruit — fruit that will abide (Jn 15:16) — in prayer.
Reform, like conversion, is ongoing. It is movement. Mother Rosaria, with her walking stick and pilgrim’s hat (looking ever so much like Saint Colette), shows us the way: one step at at time.