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Recollection and apostolic zeal  

"From the first few months following my return to fervour, Our Lord developed in me a spirit of recollection, and initiated me into interior meditation by making me feel His Presence even in the midst of my occupations. As a result of this, I entered into very close union with Him. Desiring that I should cultivate this union to the utmost He said to me one day: ‘Remain in my Presence. If you stray from it, I shall recall you’. Unhappily, I was none too faithful in following my bent for recollection, and although I obeyed the Voice of God inspiring me to make certain sacrifices, I cannot cease reproaching myself for having made such feeble efforts to remain united with Him in the depths of my heart.  

At the same time, I reflected upon my inconstancy in the practice of recollection, and I resolved to make a vow about this matter also. I promised Our Lord to remain in His presence as faithfully as I could  

From this moment, and throughout the following twenty-three years, I continued to love God with a tender and dominant love, but I was not satisfied with my interior life, and the constant sorrow I felt of being unfaithful to God led me to fall more easily into divers defects, so that even while loving Him, I did not stop offending Him.  

It happened that, in 1843, while I was journeying for the second time to Tunis with a view of establishing a new foundation in Carthage, I made a long and difficult crossing, having almost nothing to eat and unable to rest except in a sitting position. It was during this voyage that it pleased Almighty God to grant me a great facility in uniting myself to Him in the depths of my heart, and I spent eight days, as it were, in Retreat. 

(Emilie De Vialar : Account of her Inerior Life, written at the demand of her confessor in1842)  

"The spirit of this Congregation is to dedicate the Sisters to the practice of the different works of charity. In order to acquire this divine virtue, they meditate every day of their lives on the immense charity which fills the Heart of Jesus Christ; and they strive to imitate his zeal for the salvation of souls and his great mercy towards the neighbour. They dwell frequently on the adorable wounds of the Saviour, so that, reflecting unceasingly on the love of God for men, they maintain and increase each day the sentiments of compassion and zeal with which they must be animated towards their fellow men." 

(Emilie de Vialar, Spirit and Development of the Rules of the Congregation, 1841) 

"The Lord causes to burn within me that same fire which He enkindled long ago, and I rejoice in this grace, for if God did not breathe into me the spirit of zeal, my heart would cease to be quickened and then I would not be able to do anything. May He, in His goodness, grant that as long as I live this divine fire may not be extinguished.

(Emilie de Vialar to Fr. Balitrand, 1844)   

Saint Emilie de Vialar   



St. Emilie de Vialar, was born in Gaillac (France). In 1832 she founded, in this same town, a missionary Congregation: the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition. This name evokes the apparition of the angel to St. Joseph as related in Mt. 1, 20-24. Like St. Joseph, the Sisters of this Congregation try to contribute to the realisation of God's saving plan for humanity by witnessing that God loved the world so much as to give His only begotten Son. 

St. Emilie de Vialar died in Marseilles in 1856 and was canonised in 1951.



O St. Emilie, you who in the church, wanted to continue to manifest the Father's love, as realised through the Incarnation of the Son, grant us your docility to the Spirit, your audacity and your apostolic courage. 

Prepared by Pontifical University Urbaniana,
with the collaboration of the Missionary Institutes