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MADAME MARIE JOSEPHINE GOETZ,
SUPERIOR-GENERAL OF THE LADIES OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS.
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Henceforth now saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors : for their works follow them."-APOC. xiv, 13.
However indifferent a man may
be The Christian death-bed is always a to religion, however careless about his pleasing source of lessons for those by own eternal interests, still two facts, whom it is contemplated, and it canwhich ever and anon confront him, not fail to impress one with the truth must cause an occasional reflection. of a religion which, in the dread moment The winged passage of time and the of dissolution, soothes the struggling constant harvest of death make him spirit, dissipates its fears, and brings · realize the vanity of the pleasures of it safely through the trying ordeal of life, and the importance of saving his that perilous hour. How consoling it immortal soul. Time rushes on with is to witness the adieu between a soul a velocity which nothing can impede; and body that have labored together his course is constantly progressive; in the service of their Creator; how he never pauses, never slackens his delightful to see the pure spirit suneagle flight; the noblest monuments dering the last ties that bind it to of human glory yield and crumble earth; how encouraging to behold the beneath his withering touch, even their tranquil joy of the dying Christian, ruins cannot long remain to attest the shining forth amid the terror of that magnitude of his power. Death follows, dread moment like a ray from the grim and ghastly, claiming all living blissful eternity into which the happy beings as his own, awaiting but the soul is soon to enter. moment when time strikes the knell, Of all death-scenes that of the religto number them in his phantom train. ious is the most beautiful, the most Merciless, relentless, he spares none; consoling, the most encouraging. Not heeds neither the orphan's wail nor a sigh of regret, not a murmur of disthe widow's moan.
He reaps in every content disturbs the awful stillness of field of life, laying low the blooming the hour. No sound but the supplicaflower as well as the ripest fruit; tions in behalf of the departing soul sparing neither the tender sapling nor breaks
The prospect of
upon the giant oak. But if the aspects of a happy eternity dispels the gloom of death be sad and gloomy, they are also the grave. Long years of patient at times full of consolation, joy, and suffering, numerous trials courageously happiness.
endured, multiplied penances cheerVOL. X.-3.
fully performed, all appear as so many her earliest years, Josephine manifestprecious souvenirs of the earthly pil- ed an upright, thoughtful disposition, grimage which is about to terminate. and as her character developed she At length the summons comes, the acquired a marked superiority over spirit is called away, the body ex- her companions. Possessed of talents hibits marks of its return to dust, of a high order, endowed with great whilst the soul, freed from the tram- quickness of apprehension and a remels of the flesh, ascends to the celes- markable openness of heart, it will be tial abode to enjoy the reward of the readily conceived that her education elect.
was a delicate task. At the age of Edifying spectacles, such as the fourteen she was sent to the boardingabove, were witnessed almost simulta- school of the Sacred Heart, in Besanneously at the death-beds of three heroic çon, where she made great progress in religious souls—the Superiors of three her studies. Edified by the example noted orders, viz., “ The Ladies of the of her religious tutors and feeling that Sacred Heart of Jesus,” the “Fran- she was called to a sphere of action ciscans," and the “Christian Brothers." higher and holier than that of the orScarcely had the present year begun dinary Christian, she requested the its course, when the members of these good Ladies to permit her to consecrate three Institutions were called upon to her life and labors to the service of mourn the loss of those who had long her Creator, in their congregation. fulfilled the responsible duties of guar- Her petition having been readily dians over their respective congrega- granted she entered the novitiate of tions. Attention has already been the society, located at Montet, Switdirected in these pages to the life and zerland, in the year 1835. labors of the lamented Brother Philippe, As among her school companions at and now in the month of June, during Besançon she had been a model of which the Sacred Heart of Our Divine application and piety, she now became Lord receives especial honor, it may the admiration of her superiors and be
proper to say a few words respect- the edification of her sister novices. ing a noble and generous soul who But as exterior acts of devotion withparticularly cultivated this beautiful out deep interior humility are nothing devotion, the late Superior of the but mere ceremony, she always strove Ladies of the Sacred Heart.
to cultivate this precious virtue and Mademoiselle Marie Josephine Goetz made it her constant study to live unwas born at Strasburg, on the 7th of observed and unknown. The veil March, 1817, of parents remarkable under which she endeavored to conceal for their attention to every Christian her actions caused her merit to be the duty. Losing her mother at the tender more appreciated, and, as is always age of three years, the care of her the lot of the humble, she was exalted. childhood devolved upon her aunt, In 1837, the direction of the convent Mademoiselle Odile Goetz, a lady at Besançon, in which she had received whose rare qualities have endeared her education, was committed to Maher name to the Alsacians. From dame Goetz. Her amiable disposition won the affections of all with whom Its members may be considered as she had any intercourse, and the im- cloistered religious, though they are not pression her example produced upon confined necessarily to any one house, her pupils can never be effaced. but may be removed when and where
In 1847 she was called to Paris, and the Provincial deems proper. The appointed Mistress of the Novices at aim of the congregation is the Christian Conflans, and shortly after, Superior education of girls, and among its duties of the same house. In 1864, she was is included the gratuitous instruction raised to the dignity of Vicar-General; of the poor. The society was approved and on the death of the venerated by Pope Leo XII, in the year 1826. foundress, Madame Barat, in 1865, she Though it had extended considerably was unanimously chosen Superior- prior to this date, still the progress it General of the order, on the 8th of has made throughout Europe and September of the same year.
America since its approbation by the As we have mentioned the name Holy See, has been so extraordinary of her whom God, in his merciful that we must conclude that the society ways, chose to institute an order which has been blessed in a most special was destined to be the source of so manner by the Almighty. During the many blessings to the Church and to lifetime of its Venerable Foundress it society at large, a word concerning counted eighty-five houses and three its foundation and progress will not, thousand five hundred and thirty-nine we hope, be considered a digression. members. Toward the end of the last century, The Right Rev. William Dubourg, education had
measure third Bishop of New Orleans, introfallen away
from its Christian stand-duced the order into America in the ard, and in many European states had year 1818, and established the first wellnigh succumbed to the force of Community in St. Louis. Since then infidelity. But when all things look its members have spread north, south, gloomy and are beyond the power of east, and west with wonderful rapidity. human agencies, Providence, ever They now conduct excellent institutions watchful over the eternal interests of in all the principal cities of the States His creatures, selects worthy instru- and Canada, such as New York, Philaments to accomplish His designs—in- delphia, Albany, Rochester, New Orstruments that will effect a change and leans, Cincinnati, Providence, Montreal, avert the impending danger. Thus, Halifax, etc. They have houses also in in that critical period, He selected Havana, Cuba, and Valparaiso, Chili. personages filled with an ardent zeal Among their best institutions, probably for the promotion of Christian educa- the very finest in the country, might be tion, and the result was the institution named those of Manhattanville, New of several orders devoted to this par- York; Kenwood, near Albany, and ticular end. Among these was the Eden Hall, Pennsylvania. The educaSociety of the Ladies of the Sacred tion given in these establishments has Heart, founded by Madame Madeleine a very high standard, and from those Sophie Barat, in the year 1800. sacred precincts of virtue and learning