These beautiful, beautiful words are taken from the revelations of Servant of God Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero (d. September 1, 1916, on a First Friday), titled ‘Vademecum Proposed to Religious Souls.’
“How ravishing and consoling are the pages of the Vade Mecum,
first of the writings dictated by the Pious Author [Jesus], whom we invoke
by saying: Pie Jesu! The Canon Saudreau, our acknowledged Master
in Mysticism, writes me that he recognizes the accent of Our Lord,
as we recognize the accent of a traveler from a foreign land.”
– from her biography
It is my great pleasure to share these inspiring words with you on what is the 100th anniversary of the death of Sr. Benigna Consolata, my dear “little sister.” Ask for her intercession and you will come to love her; she is another Seraphic soul, like St. Gemma, St. Catherine of Siena or St. Francis of Assisi.
I pray that God will one day raise Sr. Benigna to the Altars! Please join me! Thy Will be done!
(Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after the Feast of the Holy Face!)
Challenge for Lent
“If this Challenge, says Jesus, is practiced with love and a real desire to please and console Me, it will cause in the souls of My spouses no little progress in intimate converse with My Sacred Heart, and will lead them to a closer union with Me.
In the Order of the Visitation a Disfida or Challenge is a schedule of practices of virtue, given by the Superior to the Sisters at certain seasons, as Lent, Advent, and at the approach of great Feasts, as Christmas, Pentecost.
It will be the duty of My dear spouses, their sweetest duty, during Lent to keep Me special company in My Passion, by meditating more frequently on My sufferings, the price of the Redemption of man. Above all, they should be at this time so many other Veronicas destined by love to wipe My Divine Face.
Every Religious House, every one of My spouses, shall be as a studio, where in the solitude of her heart she shall keep the eyes of her mind, especially those of the heart, fixed upon My Divine Features. This will be a study made as much as possible in silence and recollection. The religious soul will be the linen, on which, according to her devotedness, I will stamp My Divine Lineaments. But to come to a more precise
understanding, continues Jesus, I will say that it is My intention to make of My dear spouses so many of My living photographs, so that each soul shall see in her Sisters, even in the exterior, this work of grace.
The Challenge will be concerned for the most part with interior practices, because it is chiefly the work of the heart; but to these you will add exterior practices also, especially those of charity, gentleness and humility, virtues which unite hearts most closely.
1. It is My desire that hearts should let themselves be penetrated with the salutary thought of My Passion just as a material is penetrated with oil which you drop softly upon it. This is an invitation of Love, without obligation; but it will please Me if the Meditation on My Passion is made at least once a day. For My spouses the thought of My Passion ought to be a bouquet of flowers, borne always upon their hearts.
2. I desire that each soul should keep Me loving company the whole day long, habituating herself to accompany Me in thought. It would be well to choose for this purpose two or three thoughts at the close of each meditation; these one may often recall and so the more easily maintain her union with Me.
3. As love is not satisfied to contemplate but longs also to imitate, therefore each religious soul should determine upon a practice for Lent, to which she shall devote herself with particular care, by seeking to copy Me more faithfully. For example, if she wishes she may take silence.
4. Now let us commence the exterior practices :
(a) To make every Friday of Lent the Via Crucis [Way of the Cross], or recite the little Crown of My Sacred Wounds. If this can be done in common, at least once, it will give Me pleasure.
(b) In order to wipe My Face, like so many other Veronicas, My spouses shall perform their actions in the best manner possible, not alone with the interior disposition, but also with exterior perfection. Purity of intention will be the whiteness of the linen, and fidelity and love in execution will be its delicate softness.
(c ) They will take away the thorns from My Head by trying with exquisite charity to spare their neighbor all the little thorns of difficulty and little inconveniences, taking these for their own portion as much as lies in their power.
Whoever would show Me more tender love will make it her duty to heal the wounds her
neighbor may have received on occasions, and this by some kind words full of the sweet balm of charity. As to the practice of humility and gentleness, let it be this: to imitate Veronica in her courage in passing across the soldiers to come near Me; the soul most generous in humiliating herself, especially in public, will be the one on
whom I shall more quickly and clearly impress My Divine Features.
Religious Soul, does this Challenge please thee? It is a gift of My Love, not only to the Religious Community, but also to other souls who live in the midst of the world, because it is equally in their power to observe it in some points.”
“All those who honour My Holy Face in a spirit of reparation, will, by so doing, perform the office of the pious Veronica.”
– Jesus to Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre (Sr. Mary of St. Peter), October 27, 1845