A pilgrimage is a time of grace, of growth in faith and of renewed openness to the Holy One. Sacred travel is transformative, awakening new life in one’s relationship with God and sparking renewed commitment to mission in this world.
In order to be more deeply imbued with the spirit alive in the foundress Mother Marie-Rose (Eulalie Durocher) and her companions during the early years of the congregation, sisters, affiliates, colleagues, friends and many other interested lay persons, set out on pilgrimage to places of special significance in the beginning years of the congregation.
Pilgrimages to SNJM Sacred Sites
Along the shores of the Richelieu River in Quebec are towns where the SNJM story began, notably St-Antoine where Eulalie was born and raised. Other key places include towns and cities where she lived, studied and worked in parish ministry, including Saint-Denis, Beloeil and Mont Saint-Hilaire. Longueuil, on the Saint Lawrence River, is of special interest since that is the site where Eulalie Durocher founded the congregation with Mélodie Dufresne and Henriette Céré in 1843. Pilgrims especially value time for prayer and reflection in the historic and beautiful chapel of the convent.
In 2011, to mark the 200th anniversary of Eulalie Durocher’s birth, the congregation published the book, A Pilgrimage of the Heart with Mother Marie-Rose to Our SNJM Sacred Sites. Designed as a virtual pilgrimage retreat based on the life of the foundress in connection with one’s own life, this resource may be used personally for daily meditation or as a weeklong retreat in a group.
In recent years, over 700 sisters and associates have gathered together in various places across the world to live this experience together. This highly illustrated book is of special value for people who do not have the opportunity to actually travel to the SNJM sites and it also serves as a precious guide to actual pilgrims to the sites.
The fire in the hearts of the foundresses is truly tangible at the SNJM sacred sites. May their spirit of daring and hope move pilgrims to act with the same love and concern for the world which moved Jesus and Mother Marie-Rose, who walked in the footsteps of Jesus, as expressed in her favorite text from Scripture: