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Prayer Service for the Feast Day of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, January 12, 2020

Joan Mahonney, CND and Associates of Blessed Sacrament Province



Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame.

As we honor Marguerite today and begin the year-long 400th anniversary celebration of her birth in Blessed Sacrament Province, we are filled with joy and gratitude!

Marguerite’s greatest desire was that God be loved above all things; the neighbor so loved that she was always the servant of that neighbor.

We gather today to remember, to pray, and to celebrate Marguerite’s life of love and service to God and others.



Marguerite, pray for us today as we reflect on your life of love and service.  Help us to live more fully the journeying life of Mary—to say “yes” when we are called, to go in the spirit of visitation, to see and care for the needs of those around us, to serve in joy, and to bring God’s light and love to all!  Amen.

Leader:  As we read the following quotes from Marguerite and Charles de Gladelet, Marguerite’s spiritual guide and biographer, may we find inspiration for our lives in how we are being called to love and serve others.

Reader 1

The Blessed Virgin was present with her Son at the wedding of Cana because they were poor people and there was a work of charity to do. (WMB, p. 72)


Marguerite’s charitable and gracious disposition inspired confidence in those with whom she was associated; her piety was edifying, she was preoccupied with the needs of the poor.

(Life of Sister Marguerite Bourgeoys, Charles de Glandelet, 1715, CND edition of 1994,

pp. 40-41, testimony of Mere Marie-Paul de Blaigny, Canoness of St-Augustin)

silent reflection

Reader 2

It is the work most suited to draw down the graces of God if it is done with purity of intention, without distinction between the poor and the rich, between relatives and friends and strangers, between the pretty and the ugly, the gentle and the grumblers, looking upon them as drops of Our Lord’s blood.  (WMB, p. 201)


Marguerite was so kind and charitable towards everyone that people were forever coming to her for help (…) and she did this always in an admirable spirit of love and enthusiasm, and without hope of any tangible return. (Life, p. 120)

silent reflection

Reader 3

In order to imitate the Blessed Virgin, we must, before all else, fulfill these two commandments, the love of God and the love of neighbor. (…) We must embrace them joyfully, observe them faithfully…(Life, p. 130)


The Mistress of Novices of the Congregation, (Sister Catherine Charly), had been so ill that she received the Last Sacraments and had the prayers for the dying.  After Sister Bourgeoys offered up her life for Sr. Charly, she began to improve and in a short time was completely out of danger.  Thus Our Lord’s words in the Gospel could well be applied to Sister Bourgeoys, “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” (Life, p. 145)

silent reflection

Reading 4

(adapted from a reflection written by Vivian Amu/, Feb. 1, 2018)

We are all being missioned into the world, and we are asked to take nothing with us except our faith and trust in God.  Faith and trust will be our walking sticks and courage will be our sandals.  We are to journey as we are and not cloaked with a second tunic of self-doubt and fear.  We are to travel light as we go forward in service.

How can we serve?  When we walk into a room, our grace can bring a smile to the face of a hurting soul.  Our goodness can bring peace to a place or situation filled with negativity.  Our light can drive out the darkness.  Our gifts can build up, affirm, and liberate those in need. We can use our time and talents to seek ways to more fully live the 2016-2021 Orientation of the Congregation of Notre Dame—going to the peripheries, living interculturality, and caring for our common home.

We are being missioned out into the world to do good work—to love and serve God and others—and we will not be alone.  Just as the disciples were sent out two by two, just as Marguerite sent Sisters and/or Externs out two by two, we are sent to serve together as members of the body of Christ.  Yes, let’s travel light but travel together…picking up our walking sticks (or baluchons), putting on our sandals, and walking in the footsteps of Mary and Marguerite in the spirit of Visitation as we love and serve God and others.

Reflection Questions and Sharing

  1.  Do I have the courage to go where I fee God is sending me?  To lead and to serve eve n when it is difficult   and inconvenient? 
  2.  In celebrating Marguerite’s life of love and service in the “400 for 400” initiative this  year, how am I being     called to serve God and others in a new way during 2020?
  3.  What are those things that get in my way and keep me from doing God’s work?

*After your reflection time, choose one of the above to share with the group.


Closing Prayer

All: God of Love and Mercy, You call us to be Your people;

You gift us with Your abundant grace.

Make us a holy people, radiating the fullness of Your love.

Continue to form us into a community, a people who care, expressing your compassion.

Remind us day after day of our baptismal call to serve with joy and courage.

Teach us how to grow in wisdom and grace in Your presence.

Through Jesus and in the spirit of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, we make this prayer.  Amen

(adapted from



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