Gospel Reflections

Canonization of St Julie

Matthieu 11:25-30

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Edithann Kane

Published: June 22, 2017

For those of us who use “Living with Christ” for our daily Scripture reflection, we meet three saints who are celebrated on June 22, even as we celebrate this day as a very significant date for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

On June 22, 1969, our beloved Julie Billiart was declared a member of the canon (public list) of saints.  In times past, people were recognized as saints without any formal process and for many years prior to her canonization we Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur acknowledged Julie’s sanctity.  As a new student in an SND school, I was introduced to Blessed Mother Julia at age 10– a bit confusing for someone who thought there was only one “Blessed Mother.”  I quickly learned!

Two bishops and two martyrs share June 22nd as their feast day.  Paulinus, a bishop from the 4th century (and married!) and John Fisher, Bishop and martyr from the 15th century share the day with Thomas More, martyr, also from the 15th century.  Paulinus and his wife used their resources to assist pilgrims and the poor.  Both John Fisher and Thomas More suffered death rather than yield to the desires of Henry VIII.

Our own Julie was a wise and devoted “bishop” for the fledgling community that she committed to the education of poor girls.  We owe her so much for the gift of our unity – a key value for a bishop! She did not suffer literal martyrdom, but she was a sufferer for a cause – even in her years of illness while teaching and witnessing to the Goodness of God.  Julie put her life on the line to support the clergy who would not bow to the demands of the revolution.  We know well how she contended with Church rulers, and who of us will ever forget her advice to one of the communities:  “Listen politely to what Father says and then do what you know is best.”

We recognize the sanctity of Paulinus, John, and Thomas and admire their ministry and witness. 

We rejoice that in these more recent years the Church has recognized one among us as a saint. Julie’s dedication to her mission, her firm belief in what is good and just, her willingness to put her life in jeopardy for those beliefs, and her message about the goodness of God are so needed in our times.  We delight in knowing that Julie’s canonization in 1969 has enabled more and more people to know and love this Saint of Cuvilly and to count on her intercession for their needs with the “Good God.”  How blessed we are!


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