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Friday, May 22, 2009

Sophie's Journal - 20

Following the spirit of St. Ignatius, Mother Barat held to the two daily "examens", or examinations of conscience, that Saint Ignatius thought so important. "Spiritual reading" was valued as a means of nourishing prayer. Mother Barat explained to the novices how they should pause to reflect on what had most touched them. She felt that the novices did not retain what they read because they did not reflect enough. As always, she pointed out the need for recollection.
In November the novices made the Spiritual Exercises under the direction of Father Lambert. Mother Barat permitted lay people to join the novices in the Chapel for the retreat instructions. Inviting others to make the retreat was a powerful way to bring them closer to the Heart of Jesus. The work of retreats was encouraged by Mother Barat from the beginning; it would be one of the four chief "works" of the Society mentioned in the Constitutions.
After the retreat, Mother Barat received the first widow into the novitiate conditionally. She wrote: "I could not give her a definite answer since it is not decided whether we will receive widows in our Society." The widow was Mme. de Chasseloup from Bordeaux. Mother Barat pointed out that "although she is not young, she is full of zeal for all that is the end of our vocation." Her entrance into the Society is recorded for December.

Going over some of these excerpts from Sophie's Journal has called me to new reflections. In fact, her words are a continuous call to strive to live the ideals she called her novices to way back in 1806.

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