Sundays Feast Days are skipped but today is a special one for our family. Marguerite d’Youville is the first Canadian-born saint and foundress of the Grey Nuns of Montreal. My aunt has followed in her footsteps, eventually leading the Western province and then the order into the future. This moment above was captured this summer, in the last days of my aunt’s leadership after 20 years, during a visit to Montreal when we took in Cité Mémoire, an audiovisual display of the history of Montreal. This image of the two women together brings a smile to my face. I think Marguerite would be proud of my aunt and the sisters who have gone on to bring her work of caring for the poor to far-flung corners of the world, both North and South, as well as West.
Marguerite was a widow who like the woman in today’s Gospel, kept knocking at the door, asking for the impossible in a society that was not always as generous and understanding as today’s. Although, saying that as we watch Americans devolve into their politics, makes me wonder if this was the type of prejudice she was up against. People called her names and a number of tragedies such as the burning of the hospital were setbacks that needed to be overcome. People did not understand her compassion for the poor. Marguerite placed her trust in Divine Providence and in the words that Jesus says in today’s Gospel to pray always and not to lose heart.
Marguerite knew how important prayer was and in reading biographies about her it becomes apparent that she prayed without losing heart. One incident that is mentioned as a miracle is the appearance of several bags of flour that appear in the storage room when food supplies have run out during the war and the hospital is full of people. As if by magic, these bags materialize. God is faithful. She seemed to not lose heart when the struggles seemed overwhelming.
May we all find a cause that we are passionate enough to keep knocking at the door of those who have the power to change things. May we know that God does hear the cry of the poor among us and may we too walk in St. Marguerite’s footsteps and not delay in helping them.
What makes you knock persistently at the door for change?
Have you lost heart and stopped praying?
You are listening for the knock, heard above the raucous, ceaseless cry of the poor. You hear us even before we lift our hand to the door. Teach us to knock, seek, and ask for those in need–for widows, for Indigenous murdered and missing Aboriginal women, for those with dementia, for those who are haunted by thoughts of suicide, for suffering physically, for the ones struggling to take their last breath, for homeless people, for the mentally ill, and for all the”poor” who raise their voice to you. Amen.