“Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands” 

Praise the Incarnate Word 

Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him forever, 
Word of the Father before all time was. 
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him forever, 
Word of the Father become life to us; 
He is the dawn that has shattered the darkness; 
He is the Sun that has hurled back the night: 
Praise Him, O praise Him, the Word of Light! 

Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him forever, 
Word of the Father before all time was. 
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him forever, 
Word of the Father now dwelling in us. 
He is the grace that will lead us to glory; 
He is the Truth that will free all the world: 
Praise Him, O praise the Incarnate Word!  

M.J. Glen, CCVI Franz Schubert 

Psalm 141 

Refrain: My prayers rise like incense, my hands like the evening offering. 

David Isele 

Song of Jesus Christ 

Refrain: Deep within us, shared among us, may we ever keep the mind and heart of Je-sus Christ. 

Based on Philippians 2:5-11 John Sheehan 
Arr. by Rev. Carey Landry 


My name is Mary Ann Mathelin, I was born in Anse, France in 1833. At the age of 18 in 1851 I felt a desire to help the poor and destitute and became a member of the Hospital Sisters of Lyon at the Antiquaille and was called Sister Nanette Matelin. In 1861 I made profession. Our mission was to care for the sick of all kinds without exception to persons or sickness. Hospitality was the heart of our ministry. We were told: 

“Hospitality requires the spirit, the heart, the mouth, and the hands. 
The spirit for attention and intention. 
The heart for tenderness and compassion. 
The mouth for soothing and consoling words, 
and a charitable hand for charitable assistance.” 

Then one day early in September 1866 we were visited by Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis, a charismatic man who was the second bishop of Galveston in far away Texas, In the aftermath of the Civil War in 1866, Galveston’s population suffered from smallpox, diphtheria, yellow fever, mosquitoes, heat, rattlesnakes, and storms. The critical needs of the people of Texas prompted Bishop Dubuis to seek help. He told us of his efforts to find women religious to go with him to Texas to care for persons ravaged by disease and epidemics, but he had failed to find any. His words “Our Lord Jesus Christ suffering in the persons of sick and infirm of every kind seeks relief at your hands” pierced my heart and soul; it seemed like a direct invitation to me. Jesus Christ seeking relief at my hands. I raised my hand and said “I will go, My Lord”. Almost immediately two more of my companions raised their hands. These immortal words initiated a process that culminated in the founding of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Our companions at the Hospital were shocked but gave us encouragement and support to follow God’s call. 

From that moment everything moved so quickly, I wrote a letter to my family telling them of my decision and the mixture of sadness and joy that was in my heart to leave them and my native land, but I felt I must respond to the call because something had stirred deep within my being. 

I was 33 years old. 

Now I invite my companion to continue the story… 

Sister Mary Blandine

 

My name is Josephine Escude, I was born in Ardeche, France in 1838, and at the age of 22 responded to a desire in my heart to care for the sick and destitute in the Antiquaille Hospital in Lyons. I was known as Sister Josephine Escude and was there for six years. I loved my ministry and then one September day as the feel of autumn was beginning to be felt in Lyons, I heard the plea of Bishop Dubuis that Jesus Christ was seeking relief at my hands to help care for the sick and afflicted in Galveston Texas. When I saw two other members raising their hands to volunteer to go with him, I felt the nudge of God calling me also. 

Three of us left the Antiquaille on September 19 and walked the short distance to the Monastery of the Incarnate Word where Mother Angelique Hiver was waiting to receive us, she herself had been a member of the Antiquaille community before joining the Incarnate Word Monastery. Here we spent less than a week before setting out for Texas, receiving all the instruction possible on the life of Mother Jeanne Chezard de Matel, the rules, traditions, customs and spirit of the Incarnate Word Order with which we were about to ally ourselves, and on the special apostolate for which the new Congregation was being founded, the dedication of our lives to Christ, the Incarnate Word in the care of the sick and destitute. On September 23, we were invested with the habit of the new Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word by Bishop Dubuis in the chapel of the Monastery. Nanette Mathelin became Sister Mary Blandine of Jesus; Lucine Roussin became Sister Mary Joseph of Jesus; and I became Sister Mary Ange of Jesus. Sister Blandine was named superior of our new community. The next morning September 25, we joined the mission band for Mass at 6:00 am, offered by Bishop Dubuis in the shrine of our Lady of Fourviere. He prayed for all of us going with him to the New World and for those we were leaving behind. The air was charged with emotion. One felt that each person present was, in the silence of his or her heart, confiding to Mary our desires and regrets, our vows and aspirations knowing that she would listen and would secure for all of us the blessings of her Divine Son. Ringing in our hearts of three of us was the call of Bishop Dubuis: “Our Lord Jesus Christ suffering in a multitude of sick and infirm of every kind seeks relief at your hands.” as we began the first stage of our journey to Galveston. 

I was 28 years old. 

Sister Mary Ange

 

My name is Mary Ann Lucine Rousinn. I was born at Morteau, France on February 16, 1839. My family was well off, my father was a judge. When I told my family of my choice at the age of 23 to become a member of the Antiquaille Hospital Sisters of Lyons they were shocked as they had other hopes for me, but did give me their blessing. I was known as Sister Lucine Roussin in the Hospital community. Four years later I responded to the cry for help from Bishop Dubuis to become a missionary in Texas. 

I continue the story of our journey to Texas. On September 25, we left Lyons with Bishop Dubuis and travelled to La Harve, there on September 27th we boarded the ship the Europa with Bishop Dubuis and his mission band and we set sail for New York. As we left the shores of France we chanted the Ave Maris Stella and the Magnificat. Soon the waves were already high and several became sea sick but we were grateful to have mass those first days. It was like Jesus came to us as he did to St. Peter on the waves of the sea. Four days in early October were days of tempest; we heard only the awful whistling of the wind. We had to seclude ourselves, for waves fifteen to twenty feet high broke on the deck every instant. It was very frightening indeed, all were grateful to God when we landed safely in New York. Bishop Dubuis soon made arrangements for the transportation of his large group of new missionaries for Texas. While we were in New York we learned of some recent maritime accidents where many lives were lost. We were very nervous about the journey to Texas, but with the persuasion of Bishop Dubuis we boarded the ship the Tybee and set sail on October 14 for Galveston. 

Our fears of rough weather were only too soon realized, and we were unfortunate enough to encounter one of the seasonal hurricanes. We were terrified, but the Tybee was a sturdy ship and was able to go to the aid of a distressed sister-ship. At last on Tuesday, October 23 we arrived outside Galveston but due to rough seas we were not able to disembark until Thursday, October 25. We were so warmly welcomed by the vicar general Father Louis Chambodut who was to prove a life-time friend. We soon forgot our fears of the storms at sea and were amazed at the welcome we received from the Ursuline Sisters who made us feel at home at once and helped us in every way they could to begin our new mission in Galveston. 

I was 27 years old. I pondered daily the call “Our Lord Jesus Christ, seeks relief at my hands.” And wondered how God’s plan would unfold through us, his humble servants. 

Sister Mary Joseph
 

Gospel Canticle 

My soul give glory to my God Who reaches down with loving grace To lift me from my low estate And set me in the 
highest place. Magnificat, magnificat! With all my heart, I answer Yes When God announces wondrous news. And every age shall call me blest. 

God’s mercy comforts all who fear, Embracing with a steadfast arm That cases the mighty from their thrones, But keeps the humble safe from harm. Magnificat, magnificat! The weak find strength; the weary, rest. God’s promise sounds from age to age: The needy of the world are blest. 

God’s justice sends the rich away, But feeds the poor with lavish things. Each hungry soul now fills with joy And joins the song that Mary sings: Magnificat, magnificat! To God, Creator, Christ, the Son; And Holy Spirit triune God: All praises to the Three in One. 

Prayers of the Faithful 

1. For Pope Francis and all called to minister to God’s people; may their efforts help deepen our baptismal commitment as Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis, our founder, so wonderfully demonstrated in his life. Let us pray to the Lord. 

2. For our congregation, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, on this the one hundred and fifty fourth year of our foundation; may the spirit of commitment of Srs. Blandine, Joseph and Ange, our founding Sisters continue to flourish and in thanksgiving for all God’s blessings to us. Let us pray to the Lord. 

3. For all our Sisters who have tirelessly served and continue to be instruments of Christ’s healing love for those living in poverty and fear, for the sick and all those in need of healing at this time especially those suffering from COVID-19. Let us pray to the Lord. 

4. For our CCVI associates, co-ministers, volunteers, family members, all who minister with us, our friends and benefactors, may they be blest abundantly for their witness of love and generosity. Let us pray to the Lord. 

5. For the ministries where we serve directly or indirectly that the founding words of Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis “Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands,” may always be our guiding light. Let us pray to the Lord. 

6. For all young people who are discerning their call in life, we pray that young women may continue to be inspired to respond to the call of Bishop Dubuis and commit to follow Jesus in our congregation as be Gospels of Love in the world. Let us pray to the Lord. 

7. For leaders of nations, that they will work for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being. That the citizens of free countries will be mindful of the needs of those less privileged, especially those affected by war, natural disasters and the present pandemic. Let us pray to the Lord. 

8. For our departed Sisters, we remember our four sisters who died this year; Srs. Pauline Gregorio, Delphine Kearney, Killian Fitzgerald and Rosalita Weber, also our family members, our associates, benefactors and all who have died from COVID-19; that all may enjoy eternal peace and joy with the Risen Lord. Let us pray to the Lord. 

Our Father 

Closing Prayer: 

Gracious God, today we celebrate the courage and sacrifice of our first three sisters and for all those who have been touched through the years by our sisters, associates, benefactors, volunteers and co-ministers throughout the world. May each be blessed as we strive to “serve with gladness” those whom we encounter each day. We pray for all that has been; “Thanks”. For all that will be “Yes”; through Jesus, your Incarnate Word. Amen.

Blessing 

The Lord bless us and keep us, the Lord let His face shine upon us 
The Lord be gracious to us, 
the Lord look on us kindly 
The Lord grant us His peace. Amen, Amen. 

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