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Mother Mary of Jesus
  • Always and in everything a “Thank you, ”because God has arranged everything to lead you to happiness.244
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Emilie - Who was this woman?

EmileEmilie was born, at Wégimont, in Belgium on October 11, 1818. She was gifted with a rich personality, and was both charming and strong-willed. Her father was the Ambassador of Belgium to the Holy See. Emilie accompanied him on his journeys across Europe. While still quite young, she felt strongly attracted to God as her All. She also discovered the person and spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola.

The desire for religious life gradually grew within her. When she was 18 years old, following the customs of the time, her parents began to speak to her about marriage. After some hesitation she married Victor d’Hooghvorst on October 19, 1837. It was an arranged marriage which became one of love and was fulfilled with the birth of four children, two boys and two girls.

Emilie was devoted to her family, the service of the poor and to her worldly engagements. One day, in Rome, in the middle of a ball, she received the revelation of God as the One who is her All. Her spontaneous response was: “Master, you alone in my life!” “From that moment I understood that my life would be one of union with God that nothing would destroy”.

The happiness of Emilie and Victor was to be of short duration. Victor contracted a serious illness and died prematurely in 1847.

Emilie was left a widow at 29 years, with four children, between the ages of two and nine years, whom she brought up with love. At the same time the desire to belong totally to Jesus was taking more and more possession of her heart. Her parents died within four years of the death of her husband.

Emilie decided to take distance from the larger family. She sent her sons to school in France and she herself with her daughters went to live in Paris. She left Belgium in 1854. Before her departure for Paris, one of her aunts invited Emilie to her home, the castle of Bauffe.  This is where God was awaiting Emilie.


Who was this woman?
What was her experience of God’s Call?
What were the beginnings of the Congregation?
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