BLESSED MARIE POUSSEPIN
Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin
Born in Dourdan, France on October 14th 1653 into a hard-working Christian Family that specified in making silk stockings, she soon developed a passion for active Charity by accompanying her mother to visit poor sick people with the Confraternity of Charity.
In 1685, open to what the future might hold, Marie transformed the family business into a craft shop for the manufacture of woolen stockings. She took on some 15-25 year old apprentices and exercised an educational and social role over them that was ahead of its time: abolition of apprentice-tax, bonus for productivity, promotion for good work. This “industrial revolution” assured the rapid economic expansion of the town.
1696 marked the point at which she turned her life completely over to God and to others. Inspired by providence, she left Dourdan, a small prosperous town where she was born, to go and live in the humble village of Sainville which was ravaged by war, famine, epidemics and ignorance. In Sainville she “found a community of the Third Order of St. Dominic to be of use to the Parish, to instruct young girls and be of service to those in the country regions who are poor and sick” She placed her Sisters under the protection of Mary in the Mystery of her Presentation in the Temple.
She taught that the service of charity must stand in direct relation to intensity of contemplation and proclamation of the Word. She asked her community to “spread everywhere knowledge of Jesus Christ and his mysteries”. She died in peace on January 24th 1744 at the age of 90, leaving the Church with its first Dominican Sister of Charity.
Her remarkable work- a life time of loving service – has been an inspiration for thousands of Dominican Sisters of the Presentation throughout the World in 36 countries during last 321 years.
Who are We?
Dominican Sisters of the Presentation, an international communityis responding creatively to human needs today and there are about 3000 sisters serving the people in 36 countries in 4 continents of the world each according to her own gifts and talents. Through Charity, the binding force of our lives, we are united in our service to the love of God and humanity.
Mutual charity, which should be found among persons in community, must be based on that which Jesus Christ had for men and not based on relationships or alliance nor should it be according to mood or favors received or to be received, and it should not seek one’s own interest. True Charity will lead them to cordiality, graciousness, mutual admonition and deference in all things. It will invite them to bear with one another in their weaknesses and imperfections. It will inspire them always to judge other’s actions favorably r to excuse the intention when they cannot justify their actions.(Rule of Sainville). Charity, love of God and our brothers and sisters, should be the soul of the community (Ratio Formationis).
Listening to God, as He has revealed himself in the past AND listening to the “signs of the times present” through which the very same God in his loyalty to Himself and to us, appeals to us, is essential for Dominican Spirituality “To be present to God” AND to be “present to the world” are the two qualities which characterize the essence itself of Dominican Spirituality throughout the history of the Order.
- The Dominican is dedicated to TRUTH: “ To ponder his law day ad night”: to contemplate and share with others the fruit of contemplation, to lead others into Christ who is truth – this is the essence of Dominican Study
- The Dominican study aims to give the preacher the attitude of St. Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach”
- Dominicans are to be given over to the Liturgical Life of the Church, to be genuinely taken up in the mystery of Christ which they proclaim. They are to offer the prayer of the Church for the good of the Church, to join in Christ’s own prayer I the heavenly sanctuary not made b hands.
- They are to live the Vowed Life – to be conformed to the example of Christ who was obedient, poor and chaste.
- The Dominican lives under the discipline of Monastic Observance.
- The Dominican is called to Apostolic Mobility
Filled with the water of life, the water of mercy that flows from the side of Christ, the Dominican is to turn and share that water as widely, as generously as he/she can.
Called by the Lord, we are gathered in His name to know and announce Jesus Christ according to the project of the Congregation. We realize it primarily in local communities, each with its own characteristics and distinctive mission. Christ is our unity: we live of His love among our sisters and brothers, strengthened by the sharing of the Word and of the Bread. Each community thus fulfills in itself the mystery of the Church and participates in building the Kingdom.
Simplicity, Work & Poverty : This radical response to the Gospel places us in the Simplicity of those who seek God: nothing and no one can divide our hearts or stop our generosity. Filled with honesty, truth, sincerity, and purity of intention simplicity enables us to accept our possibilities and limitations.
- It is expressed in fidelity to the inner call and the capacity to be oneself. It gives priority to the common good over personal conditions and interests.
- Simplicity is shown also at the level of humble, truthful, merciful and spontaneous community relationships.
- It excludes rash judgments, justifications.
- It expresses itself in our houses, dress and diet.
As in the laborious life of Christ, Work gives us the ability to put at the service of others the gift received from God. It is a means of evangelization and participation in the mission of the Church; it gives dignity and autonomy to the human person.
- Our work expresses our belonging to the congregation.
- For us, all work is mission and it requires the organization of our time.
- Work done with competence and responsibility gives an apostolic witness.
- Jesus takes upon himself the poverty of our human nature, because from there He can reveal God.
To follow Jesus Poor, leads to detachment & austerity. Poverty is the total gift of what we are and have, it is surrender in the hands of the Lord. It is gratuitousness, rejection of all kinds of idols in our life. It makes us credible in the proclamation of the Gospel to the degree that we:
- Resist the temptation presented to us by our consumer society, easy life, and comfort,
- Remain free from the manipulations of ideologies, persons and situations which lead us to a lack of authenticity
- Become poor with the poor, at the service of the poor. Only the one who has experienced their suffering can in truth, announce the Gospel.