MOTHER MARY ELISABETH AND THE PRAYER OF INTERCESSION
Mary Elisabeth Turgeon prayed for herself, that she give grace to the Lord for the success of the Institute's mission, but she did not forget to pray for others. A study of the letters of the foundress, done by Sister Cécile Girard, R.S.R. and published under the title: Elisabeth Turgeon, une grand suppliante, (Elisabeth Turgeon a fervent supplicant) makes it obvious that she prayed very much for others:
[...] for the sick and the afflicted - "We pray for the lady recommended to us..." "There are many sick persons who ask us for prayers". Elisabeth often recommended prayers for the community: "Continue to pray and have others pray with you for all the members of the community"; "Pray and ask others to pray for all of us!" Elisabeth recommended that prayers be said for one sister or the other: "S M[arie] J[ean ] l'Évangéliste is not well, pray for her." "Pray fervently for Sr. Frs. D'Assise, who has been retarded for the pronunciation of her vows, until All Saints' Day ..." (p. 13).
If Mother Mary Elisabeth often asked for the children to prayer, it was that she believed "their innocence was powerful on the Heart of Jesus". She asked the sisters to make novenas with them for her health and to obtain the means for "providing them with many necessary things" for the school.
In some other written texts, especially the Regulations..., she suggested to the missionaries, who could not visit the sick, "to assure them that they pray for them": and they never failed to do so. She also asked her companions to pray for the ministers of the Church "to help them bear the weight of their obligations towards their flock". In the Notes of the Rules at the beginning of the Institute, she suggested that the sisters offer short prayers often, then called "ejaculatory prayers" such as: Mother Mary of Sorrows, pray for us, for all the religious of the congregation, for our benefactors, and for the repose of the souls who have died. In the Constitutions composed in 1879, she stated: "When a sister dies, the superior should write to all the houses of Congregation to ask for the usual prayers and communions" for the deceased.
Mary Elisabeth Turgeon often prayer for herself, as she recognized her weakness, but she could not forget others for whom she had compassion or for whom she felt indebted. She knew that intercessions were "that of a heart granted the mercy of God" and a manifestation of faith in "the communion of saints" Catechism..., 2635
Even if this Servant of God is not canonized, she has convinced us that, through all the favors she has obtained for us, she rejoices in a great power of intercession towards the Father through Jesus and Mary. Let us continue to confide our wishes and needs to her, and share them with us.
Rita Bérubé ,R.S.R.