The Life and Revelations of Sister Jeanne Bénigne Gojos

jeanne-benigne

Her Birth

Servant of God (S.G.) Sr. Jeanne Bénigne was born on July 20, 1615, in Viuz, Veronay, a small French village situated in the diocese of Geneva. Her father and mother were both from respectable Catholic families, who took care to observe the Commandments, and practice works of mercy.

Her Baptism

On July 22, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (and the birth of St. Margaret Mary*), little Jeanne received the grace of Baptism. Her mother chose this name because her birth was a cause of joy for all her family.

[*In the year 1657, Sr. Jeanne Benigne prophesied about a Sister Margaret Mary, who would teach a profitable devotion in the Church i.e. devotion to the Sacred Heart.]

Her Childhood

Shortly after her baptism, she was entrusted to the care of her grandfather, Anthelme Perjure. He was a very wealthy and respected man, renowned for his great charity towards the poor. We can only estimate the extent of his influence on Jeanne, whose first words were,I want to be a saint.” Whenever the question was repeated to her, she always gave the same response: “I want to be a saint. Yes, yes, Jeanne wants nothing else but holiness.” Our Lord was already acting impressively upon the soul of his beloved child, who, like St. John the Baptist, was to be a child of grace.

At the age of 4, Jeanne was afflicted by smallpox, which left her features disfigured. Her illness was so severe that her parents feared for her life. On another occasion, Jeanne fell into a fire, but was fortunate enough to escape with nothing worse than a sore hand. Later, little Jeanne faced yet another grave danger when a man who was carrying her on horseback nearly drowned in the river.

When she reached a fitting age, Jeanne was taught how to read, write, sing and dance. She was particularly fond of singing and dancing; but these things could never satisfy her heart; she thirsted for the All, the Alpha and the Omega.

Inevitably – as happens in the lives of all servants of the Divine Master – Jeanne became the victim of the world’s assaults; vanity, attachment to creatures, and frivolous pastimes knocked at the door of her heart – but in vain. These attacks only induced Jeanne to seek the safety of the cloister with greater ardour.

Spiritual Formation

At the age of 11, Jeanne made her first Communion with great devotion. She would often spend long periods before the Blessed Sacrament, where she occasionally tasted great spiritual sweetness. “It seemed to me,” she wrote “that when that time was past I was a poor orphan, no longer having my Divine Saviour before my eyes.”

To sustain her in the spiritual life, she read the writings of St. Francis de Sales, and the holy Gospels. The latter in particular inspired her with great lights, unction, reverence and love for Almighty God, Who penetrated her heart with an intense hatred of the least fault. Later in life she could say in truth:

“I would rather die a thousand times than offend Him. I have a mortal hatred of the very least defects.”

An EverIncreasing Flame

Jeanne’s ardent love of God, and her hatred of sin – two sides of the same coin – would continue to grow throughout her life, even to an heroic degree. The Divine Gardener would continue to graft Himself every more intimately to the soul of His loving daughter, in whom He had planted the seed of a desire for the religious life; it was only time before this seed bore fruit. Since a young age, God had been drawing her irresistibly to the cloister, to sacrifice, to silence, to self–abnegation. ‘Therefore, behold I will allure her, and will lead her into the wilderness: and I will speak to her heart’ (Hosea 2:14).

One day, at Holy Communion, Our Lord clearly manifested His Will to Jeanne; she was to retire from the world and give herself without reserve to God. At first, her confessor strongly dissuaded her from doing so – but he cited only earthly reasons. In her affliction, Jeanne addressed her ardent sights to the Blessed Mother, asking her to fulfil her resolution to give herself entirely to God within only a few months. Her prayer was answered. “During this time,” she writes, “by a sort of miracle, I found means, through one of our out–sisters of Annecy [of the Order of the Visitation], of asking to be received there without anyone knowing it… At the end of the limit I had given to Mary, my powerful Advocate, the out–sister, together with the chaplain of our first Monastery at Annecy, arrived at our house, saying quite frankly that they had come to take me away to that holy place, and that our Mothers had granted me admission into their house. I had made this choice the better to accomplish my desire of being a saint, for I had heard of the sublime perfection of the life that was led there. I had also in view to go to a distance from my relations and my country, in order that God might more readily make known to me His Will.”

Her Entrance into Religion

Despite her good intentions, Jeanne’s parents gently reproached her for acting so secretively. Her father was particularly reluctant to let go of his dear child, but the mother persuaded him to accept with docility the sacrifice that God was asking of them. After receiving her parents’ blessing, Jeanne left on the eve of the Feast of St. John for the Visitation of Holy Mary in Annecy, France, where she would arrive on the Feast of the Holy Innocents. This day also marked the 13th anniversary of the death of [Saint] Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva. Jeanne knelt before his tomb that very day when “… she began to feel a grace which may have had some little resemblance to that which the great St. Paul received at the moment of his conversion; for she felt herself not only blind to all worldly objects, but dead to all worldly feelings.”

The religious life was, for Sr. Jeanne Benigne, a source of innumerable blessings from Heaven. Almighty God bestowed upon her the gift of infused prayer, a great purity of heart, and He occupied her affections to such an extent that “… He became thenceforward the Sovereign Master of her whole being by a continual perception and adoration of His divine Will in all things.”

The morning after entering the religious life, Sr. Jeanne changed put on the clothes of a servant–maid and began her new life within the walls of the Visitation. Writing later in life, she tells us that, since entering the religious house, not once did she lose sight of God, Who often manifested Himself to her in the most profound ways. Her life was truly extraordinary; she was often the recipient of visions, locutions, and other mystical graces. She learnt many valuable and inspiring lessons from the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, from the Blessed Mother, and even from St. Francis de Sales.

Her Extraordinary Sanctity

It was evident to those around her, that Sr. Jeanne Benigne was a privileged child of God; she was a model religious, who sought nothing but Christ and His good–pleasure. Although she tried to conceal her gifts, it was of no use; it was noted by the sisters, for example, that when Sr. Jeanne tried to make the Sign of the Cross without anyone perceiving it, this often resulted in remarkable cures, including the prolongation of life, and deliverance from temptations and distress. “God also promised her that during the course of her life He would preserve this country [France] from pestilence and famine, and from the dangerous consequences of the siege, as well as from other causes of public affliction; and this protection was in reality experienced, although we were often threatened with those scourges; and the secret favours she obtained for the whole state, and for us in particular, were innumerable.”

“And I say that Benigna is she by whom I go about cleansing the world from sins and heresy, often granting to her real conversions from both, such as the conversions of pagans and Turks.”

– Jesus to Sr. Jeanne Benigne (p. 192, ‘Divine Communications’ by Rev. Auguste Saudreau, Vol. 1)

No less of an authority than Mother de Chantal [St. Jane Frances de Chantal] “… judged favourably of the ways by which this soul was led, and said that the designs of God upon her were great; that love and grace would do admirable things in her favour.” This holy soul, a friend of St. Francis de Sales, ensured that Sr. Jeanne Benigne’s virtue was tried. This proved to be an occasion of countless graces for Sr. Jeanne Benigne and for the whole community at Annecy, who were greatly edified by her sublime virtue.

On the 31st of May, 1637, Sr. Jeanne Benigne received the habit from the hands of Mother de Chantal. “She redoubled her efforts to attain to the state of pure love; and her virtue gained her the esteem and affection of all the sisters, who found great consolation in conversing with her.”

Throughout her religious life, Sr. Jeanne Benigne was ever faithful in observing the Rule, which Our Lord gave her a profound respect for her, drawing her attention to particular words to meditate upon and put into practice. Such condescension on the part of Love Incarnate served to inflame the heart of Sr. Jeanne Benigne; she was always inventing new ways to mortify herself, so that Christ may reign in her soul. She sought to eradicate even the least shadow of a fault by means of continual mortifications of the senses, and of her own will. ‘Go not after thy lusts, but turn away from thy own will.’ (Eccles. 18:30)

In addition to her self–imposed sacrifices, she also suffered from strange maladies, which she bore with her usual patience and even with delight. Like the Sacred Heart of her Beloved Saviour, the heart of Benigne was a blazing furnace; the more she loaded it with the wood of the Cross, the more ardently it burned for God and for souls. “No, no,” she would exclaim; “O sovereign clemency, Heart of Jesus, pardon all the world and punish only Benigne; let her bear the chastisements that are due to it.”

She confessed on at least one occasion that sufferings were no longer a burden for her; rather, they were a delight, for they were opportunities to prove her love for her Heavenly Spouse.

For the sake of brevity, we pass over the greater part of Sr. Jeanne’s religious life. Suffice it to say that we are speaking here of a truly privileged soul, who was called to an unusual sanctity. “Ah!” said Our Lord to Sr. Jeanne one day, “what is wanting to the grace I bestow on thee in showing Myself to thee, except duration, to be able to call thyself blessed.” On another occasion the Three Divine Persons addressed these words to her:

“Benigne must do everything in the spirit of Jesus, and must follow Him in all things, to glorify us in Him and by Him.”

How admirably did Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos appear to put this sublime lesson into effect!

Her Holy Death

“It was on Wednesday, the 5th of November, 1692, at eight o’clock in the evening, that we witnessed the end of the holy life of this venerable sister, at the age of seventy–seven years, five months, and fifteen days, of which she had passed fifty–seven years in religion, as a humble lay-sister, which was no doubt a privilege granted by God to her humility, notwithstanding the frequent intentions that had been formed of giving her the black veil.

As she had often foretold, her death took place in the twenty–third week after Pentecost, on the Sunday of which the Gospel relates the story of that woman who only wished to touch the hem of the Saviour’s garment that she might be healed, and who won that praise from the mouth of Eternal Wisdom, Fides tua te salvam fecit, with an encouragement to confide in His goodness.”

Her Influence Today

S.G. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos is a powerful intercessor, whose influence can still be experienced today. After her death, many holy and learned priests and religious gave written evidence attesting to her sanctity.

On November 5, 1908, Maria Consolata – another privileged nun of the Visitation Order – received the white habit with the name Sr. Benigna Consolata. This was no coincidence. These two privileged souls shared much in common. Our Lord even referred to the Revelations of Sr. Jeanne Benigne in a locution to Sr. Benigna Consolata.

Our Lord Desires to Make Himself Known Through Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

“One day,” writes Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos, “I asked my pure Love in what manner I could exalt that glory, and I received from Him this instruction:

“By being obedient to My graces, and by writing them down also by obedience; yes, My Benigne, submission attracts My glory to the soul, and that enables it to gain victories, as thy holy Founder teaches you all, and attracts Me to the earth of your heart, which thus remains full and penetrated by Me. My daughter, I am much glorified by all those who know how to conquer themselves, and who for love of Me do violence to their passions, to bring them under the empire of holy love, and under the loving law of My Will.”

On another occasion, “… Our Lord confirmed the command to write, and there took place a kind of dialogue between Him and His Benigne. “Alas!” she said, “what wilt Thou gain by these writings, O Lord ?”

“My glory will be exalted by them.”

“O God! Nothingness exalt the All! How can that be?”

“By showing how I love this nothing,” Jesus replied.

“But to what purpose should they learn what Thou hast done for me?”

“They will be excited to love me by reading it.”

“Ah! Lord, my little virtue will not correspond to Thy bounties, they will never believe them!”

“He who will not believe shall not taste them.”

“Ah! my God, who will be able to collect Thy divine favours out of my rough copies? What person will take so much trouble?”

“I will find her, Benigne, trust to my care, and I will reward those who shall read the recital of the graces which I have been pleased to heap upon thy soul.”

She said again to her Jesus: “Faith does not oblige anyone to believe these divine favours.” But He taught her that the heart which loves perfectly hopes strongly, believes its Lover easily, and will possess even in this life all it can desire from His bounty.”

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SOME REVELATIONS GIVEN TO SR. JEANNE BENIGNE GOJOS

Source: ‘Life of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos, lay–sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary, who died in the odour of sanctity in the Monastery of Turin, in 1692’ by Mother Marie Geltrude E. Provane De Leyni

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Our Misery Attracts Divine Mercy

“… remember that I love thee, that where misery and poverty abound, there I pour out My mercy, and the riches of My grace, and that as I cannot abase myself to the unworthiness of thy soul, I raise it up to Myself, freeing it from its dross and imperfection by means of my preventing love…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 51)

Obedience Gives Value to the Least of our Actions

“My Spouse tells me that nothing but obedience and love give a high value to our good actions, and that obedience confers merit even on indifferent ones. That all we do with little love is painful, and if the merit of it is not quite lost, it is at least much diminished.”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 56)

Obedience Attracts the Divine Assistance

“… submission attracts My glory to the soul, and that enables it to gain victories, as thy holy Founder teaches you all, and attracts Me to the earth of your heart, which thus remains full and penetrated by Me. My daughter, I am much glorified by all those who know how to conquer themselves, and who for love of me do violence to their passions, to bring them under the empire of holy love, and under the loving law of My Will.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 61)

God Desires Love Alone

“Benigne, I love those who love me, and I desire only the love of my creature.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 62)

Humility Attracts Divine Grace

“I have learnt that the sincere avowal of my powerlessness for good is a wonderful secret of love to please God, to draw Him to me and to restore me to my place near Him…”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 63)

Jesus Does Not Abandon the Suffering Soul

“I am with him who suffers for love of me.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 65)

The Fruits of Good–will

“He who keeps my law will abound in benignity, happiness, and long life.”

– Words of the Eternal Father (p. 66)

Love, Hope, Sacrifice, Abandonment

“In short, I will that my Benigne should never cease to love God, to hope in Him, to suffer with her Spouse, and to abandon herself to love. These are the four laws which Divine Love gives her.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 67)

Prayer for Sinners

“Benigne, oh, tell Me to pacify these kings, and to cease to punish them by means of themselves.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 79)

Jesus Loves to See us do Battle

“I shall then conceal from thee the pleasure I take in seeing thee fight against my enemy; yes, Benigne, I shall be in thee in a singular manner.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 85)

God is our Protector and Guide

“Fear nothing; love guides thy steps; I tell thee again that My eyes are upon thee.”

– Words of God (p. 85)

The Importance of Work and Manual Labour

“… my holy Angels help me to do my work, and make me think highly of manual labour.”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne (p. 103)

Death to Self

“I have learnt that God loves nothing so much as a heart dead to self, and that nothing gives Him more glory than such a heart when it no longer exists but in His divine Will.”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 147)

Purity of Intention

“I was taught that the soul that gives heed to this [purity of intention] gains much in a short time, as I have said elsewhere; but here I add that my Master taught me that by this purity of intention the soul sees accomplished in her the words of the apostle, ‘He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him [1 Cor. 1:17],’ and that it thus receives a blessed capacity of willing all that God wills, or rather a kind of impossibility of willing, desiring or loving anything but what God wills that it should desire, or will, or love, or do.”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 218)

The Treasure of Divine Grace

“I have placed my treasure in thee – keep it sedulously.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 239)

Union with God: A Work of Divine Love

“… My loving-kindness unites Me to thee, and my grace unites thee to Me…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 294)

Jesus Loves Each Soul with an Infinite Love

“… I feel for thee the same tenderness which I felt for thy soul in particular upon the Cross…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 294)

Jesus is our Strength

“I will be thy sole Support.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 319)

Mary is Our Mother and Protector

“Jesus, Saviour of souls, wills that Benigne should be protected by His Holy Mother, even in her death.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 319)

Examine your Conscience

“Know thyself.”

– Words of the Divine Spirit (p. 321)

Union with God in Paradise

“God renders the blessed like Himself; yes, Benigne, My elect by seeing Me are in such wise transformed in Me that they have no other will than Mine; their love springs from My love.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 341)

The Tender Love of our Heavenly Father

“My daughter, what can afflict thee? What do I not do for thee? I keep thee in My Bosom, thou hast been brought there with My Son, thou art My friend, I stoop down to thee, I fill thee with My graces, I give thee no reason to think that I omit to confer a single one upon thee.”

– Words of the Eternal Father (p. 345)

What Pleases God Most

“… submission to My divine good pleasure is what is most pleasing in My sight…”

– Words of the Eternal Father (p. 346)

God Protects Those Abandoned to Him

“… if thou entirely givest up thy own foresight, I will take care of thee; I take pleasure in working miracles for the hearts that belong to Me.”

– Words of the Eternal Father (p. 348)

Faith Glorifies God

“… if thou wouldst glorify the Father and the Son, believe My words; the loss is theirs who do not believe in Me…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 350)

Docility

“… let Me act as I please…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 357)

Involuntary Imperfections

“Benigne must not be surprised to see some faults in herself after receiving so many mercies, and even to feel imperfect emotions, provided she does not dwell on them.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 358)

He who Possesses God, Lacks Nothing

“God will be with thee as long as He is God, by an infinite mercy. What canst thou desire from us that thou hast not received?”

– The Three Persons in their Unity (p. 359)

An Echo of Our Lord’s Words to St. Margaret Mary

“If I had not already made this divine Eucharistic institution of love, I would make it this very moment for thee, Benigne of Jesus – that is thy new surname.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 367)

Jesus Inspires us to Ask Him for Graces

“When wilt thou come with an open heart; it is I who incite thee to ask; ask, and I can refuse thee nothing.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 367)

Jesus is “the Way”

“Come, Benigne, unite thyself to Me Who have united the Godhead to the Manhood, two contraries not to be reconciled by any but Me.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 373)

Cast your Cares upon Him

“Confide in the God of thy heart, who loves thee.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 407)

Purgatory

“Souls which not being pure enough to fly at once to Heaven are destined to Purgatory, go thither to undergo their pains so lovingly and with a grace of such divine satisfaction that they find their punishment sweet in the justice of the Will of God. Oh! how extreme is their happiness in being assured of the love of their Creator!”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 417)

Every Movement Towards God is an Effect of Divine Love

“My daughter Benigne, when thou shalt be quite convinced of thine own nothingness and misery, thou wilt learn to magnify My name. I am the Almighty, raising to Myself what is but dust; My mercy is infinite, and I take pleasure in strikingly displaying it in the sanctification of the chosen souls who abandon themselves with tender confidence to My Providence.”

– The Heavenly Father (p. 347)

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