April 2018 eNews – Happy Easter

Greeting from Pittsburgh! Happy Easter!

The eNews for April is a special edition reflection.

Prior to Joe and I traveling to France last year, I wrote to a publishing house in France asking if they would please pass along a little note to the French author Bernadette Chovelon who has written many books, including one of the most recent books on Elisabeth Leseur. (See note below for details.) Barely a week had passed since I sent the note in the regular mail that the first of many, many emails would arrive from Bernadette. I treasure each and every note that we have exchanged on the cause of Elisabeth Leseur. And I am extremely grateful that we had the opportunity to meet in person in Paris with other friends of Elisabeth. I asked Bernadette a few weeks ago, if she would write for the Friends of Elisabeth a reflection for Easter. When I initially read her reflection, I readily admit that I shed many tears. I think this may be one of the most beautiful moments of Elisabeth’s life. We hope you enjoy it.

Bernadette is a Doctor of Letters and former teacher of French as a foreign language, mother of five children, grandmother and great-grandmother, and the author of several books on married spirituality, including the bestseller “Aventure du mariage chrétien : Guide pratique et spirituel” co-written with her husband Bernard in 2002. She wrote about Elisabeth and Felix Leseur in her 2015 book, “Élisabeth et Félix Leseur: Itinéraire spirituel d’un couple”. Bernadette has also given many interviews on Christian marriage, including a recent 2015 interview, “The Spiritual Adventure of Christian Marriage” available on YouTube at the following link.

Easter Reflection – 2018

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Easter 1903 in Rome – The renewal of Faith of Elisabeth

In the spring of 1903, Elisabeth shares with her husband her wish to spend Holy Week in Rome. At that time her husband is an atheist and anticlerical, so she keeps secret the reason for her request. Felix, delighted to see his wife suggest a vacation, immediately organizes an inviting itinerary. She rejoices because she loves traveling; she simply asks him to plan, as part of the trip, a morning of solitude and freedom for her alone. In reality, she wants to enjoy the Easter holidays to renew her faith so that it becomes deeper and more alive.

She goes alone to St. Peter’s while her husband and friends go sightseeing. There, she experiences two exceptional moments that will be for her a true leap into a new Faith:

  • The pontifical audience of Leo XIII. The day before she received an invitation for a seat in the second row. She considered this invitation as a gift from God.
  • And especially her morning in St. Peter’s Basilica where she devotes her whole life to God. At the very heart of Christendom she is seized by the immense tenderness of God for her:

“After going to confession to a French-speaking priest, I received communion in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Those moments were completely and spiritually happy. I felt the living presence of Christ, of God himself, conveying indescribable love. This blessed one spoke to me, and the infinite compassion of the Savior passed quickly into me. Never will this action of God be obliterated. […]The one living God possessed my soul for all eternity in this unforgettable moment. I felt renewed to my very depths, ready for a new life, for responsibility, for the work intended by providence. I offered myself and the future without reserve.”

Janet Ruffing: Elisabeth Leseur, Selected Writings, 2005