Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Life that was a Liturgy

“I could sense the Divine from an early age.”  These are the words of Mother Catherine Aurelia Caouette (1833-1905), the Foundress of the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood.

Her childhood was not that which one might expect, although worthy of bragging rights for any Catholic parent. Much of her youth was in church, spending long hours in Adoration of our Lord - not sitting, but kneeling, with her eyes fixed on the Tabernacle.  Her parish priest told her parents: “You have a child of predilection; watch carefully over your treasure.”

As a student she acted in the play, “The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine” in which she played the role of that great saint.  There was a line in that play which was very impressive to the audience because of the passion in which she delivered it.  It was that line which started her on an extraordinary, mystical devotion to the Precious Blood.  The line was: “I feel in my soul all the energy of the Divine Blood; it is a generous Blood which desires only to be shed.”

At the advice of her spiritual director, Father Joseph Sabin Raymond, she kept a diary.  Today we know much about her because of her diary.  Here is an entry from October 1849:  “Lord, You know what my heart desires most ardently: to be united to You in Your Sacrament of Love. It is so consoling for a miserable creature to possess You. You inflame me with such a burning love, You inspire me with so many beautiful sentiments, that it seems heaven is in my heart. If, however, O my Divine Savior, I am not worthy to possess You now in Your heavenly home, I wish, at least, to go often to adore You in Your Tabernacle, where I have already passed so many happy moments, where You have spoken mysteriously to my soul and where You have so many times given Yourself to me.” The following month she prayed using her mighty pen: “May all my actions be a continual prayer and may my heart be always turned towards You, O Infinite Beauty!”  Imagine that kind of spiritual maturity at only sixteen years of age. She possessed a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother which was also evident in her diary.

At seventeen she submitted to her spiritual director a plan for her spiritual life.  It included Mass, spiritual reading, Adoration, sacred silence, and work.

On a Holy Thursday night, in Adoration, she wrote: “The consideration of the Agony of Jesus has continually occupied my mind. I have mingled the tears of my repentance with the Blood of my Well Beloved. I have suffered with Him. At one o’clock I was left alone for a few moments. I do not know what secret sentiment inspired me, I dared in spite of my fears, to mount to the altar – I kissed it, I bathed it with my tears – I pressed my lips to the door of the Tabernacle which encloses our Love. It felt so good to be so near! I blessed, I loved, I thanked, I wept over my numerous sins. As I saw the Divine Blood flow in large drops, I presented to Him our souls. He blessed them in His Sacred Heart. Jesus asked the sacrifice of my entire self, docility and submission. I have the firm conviction that He will make me share some of His sufferings. I can suffer; it is my consolation! I wish only for suffering.”

In 1851, due to an illness, she was bedridden for ten months.  She was miraculously cured in which she credits a novena to Saint Catherine of Siena.  Two years later on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Succor in Montreal, she explained to her spiritual director a mystical experience of seeing the Blessed Virgin clothed in dazzling white, praying to her Son. Our Immaculate Lady told her to make frequent Communions to console Jesus because of the many souls that forget Him.

May we never be those souls!

November 20, 1984 was the official beginning of the Cause of Canonization of Mother Catherine Aurelia Caouette.

Today the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood live an enclosed, contemplative life.  It is a life of prayer and work which includes Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, Adoration, spiritual reading, meditation, and the Seven Offerings of the Precious Blood.  They also have a devotion to Mary Immaculate as she is the "first adorer of the Precious Blood in the humanity of Jesus."