Canonization Day of St. Julie Billiart

Jun 20, 2020 | Gospel Reflections

Luke 8:4-8, 11-15

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Priscilla Aliu, SNDdeN


Saint Julie Billiart, the Foundress of the Sisters of Notre de Namur, was canonized on June 22nd 1969 by Pope Paul VI. The life and works of this little peasant girl, born in France in 1751 are still very relevant in our days. Although so little is known of her by many, the world must begin to open its heart to the heroic virtue of the “smiling saint” as she is fondly known.

She lived in the tumultuous time of the French revolution, but, she was courageous enough to rise above all odds to begin a congregation that provided education and religious instruction for poor girls. What was it that kept her going even when she was in grave danger of losing her life? The answer lies in the gospel reading of today, “The parable of the sower” from St. Luke: 8: 4-8,11-15. In the story, Jesus told his disciples said that some seeds fell on the path but were trampled and eaten up by the birds, some fell on the rock, with no moisture they withered away, others fell among thorns, they were choked and some fell upon good soil, they sprung up and produced fruit one hundred fold.

God is the Sower; apparently, Saint Julie falls in the last category because of her good works on earth. While some people in her days heard the word of God but could not persevere because of their concerns, anxieties, riches and pleasures of the world, Saint Julie received the word of God with a good heart, retained it, persevered and showed the world how to love God our Father who is so very good to us. Julie had only one purpose in life, to live only for God and to do His will. She so much sought God’s will in her daily life that she described herself as a little blind woman who knows nothing except to please God and be open to his will.

The fertile soil for Julie’s holiness was her unflinching trust in God’s providence and goodness. She appears to have known her purpose in life from a very tender age. In the midst of her daily chores, she created time for her prayers, visit to the Blessed Sacrament, read the scriptures and perform other works of charity. This was an early indication of her greatness of soul and a perfect understanding of how dependent she was on God. She once remarked, “Let us be very firm in our faith, the good God will lead us by hand like a good father.”

St. Julie has shown us that as long as we anchor our lives in God, we shall do great things for God and humanity. This was true of her every experience. She was not afraid of the difficulties and challenges that came her way; she surely had plenty of them, but saw them as part of God’s plan for her. Just like Julie, we live in world where many people face pain, violence, poverty, abuse, injustice, marginalization, political and religious domination here and there. What ray of hope does my presence offer this people? Do I shy away from being the voice of the voiceless when I have the opportunity for fear of been labeled? Is it not better to be labeled for Christ than for something else? Where our hearts are is where our treasures are. Julie traded all her treasures for God. God rewarded her with sainthood in heaven. This same God continues to sow seeds in our hearts. Are the seeds trampled upon, lacking moisture, choked or bearing fruits a hundred fold? The answer lies deep in our hearts. Saint Julie urges us on in these words, “Courage my daughter (son), courage, a great spirit, solid values. That is what we need in our century. A lively faith must make us conquer all kinds of difficulties”

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to him, he spoke in a parable. “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.” After saying this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

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Luke 8: 4- 8, 11 – 15

“This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial. As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

The Gospel of the Lord


Meet Sister Priscilla Aliu, SNDdeN

Sr. Priscilla Aliu, SNDdeN is from Dagbala, Edo State, Nigeria. She has been with the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur for over 25 years. Before commencing her formal studies, she taught disadvantaged pupils reading skills at one of our schools in Nigeria. She received her media training from Federal Polytechnic, Nigeria, Emmanuel College, Boston and John Paul the Great Catholic University, Escondido, CA. She was the Director of Communications at Ilorin diocese and had served on the Nigeria Leadership Team. Her passion is to educate and evangelize through media and to engage young people creatively.