Our patron, St Jeanne de Lestonnac, experienced many joys, but also many trials and challenges in her life. Thinking about it, perhaps this is true of every saint, because saints were born as ‘ordinary people’ like you and me and in everybody’s journey of life there are obstacles to be navigated as well as joys to experience. It is reassuring to know that when we pray, and we ask St Jeanne to join us in our prayers, she can empathise with us and can seek to comfort and guide from her seat in heaven.
One message I take from the lives of saints is the ability of saints to see all experiences as a blessing. Even the difficult experiences. There is a way, the saints would teach, for all our experiences to be used as a way of helping us to grow closer to God.
St Jeanne was passionate about ‘keeping the flame alive’. This flame is not a fire of wrath, but instead the flame of energy, light, love, hope and inspiration – the flame in which form the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. We all have that flame within us. St Jeanne encourages us to keep that flame animated, to keep it dancing.
One of the blessings from the challenging times we have been experiencing has been the knowledge that families have been lighting a candle at 7.00pm on Monday evenings, and saying a prayer or sparing a thought for all in our Notre Dame School community. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. This is a very symbolic way of keeping the flame alive. It has been really important to keep in mind that even though socially-distant, we are one school, one community, one family.
I encourage you to keep this lighting of a candle and praying for – or thinking about – one another going. That we are not disparate individuals, but are an energised, hopeful and loving community, joined under the watchful care of St Jeanne, is a real blessing.