Saturday, 5 September 2015

The Mystery of the Crown of Thorns by a Passionist Father part 45.

Sister Esperance of Jesus, Canada
This youthful servant of God was born in 1853, near Quebec, Lower Canada. Her parents are poor, but humble and pious Catholics. Her name in the world was Vitaline Gagnon. From her earliest infancy this privileged child of God gave signs of precocious piety and devotion. Her sweetest delight was to go to the Catholic cemetery, and, kneeling down near some grave, recite with angelic recollection, and with her innocent little hands joined on her breast, Hail Marys for the souls in purgatory. When thirteen years of age Vitaline was admitted as a postulant among the Sisters Hospitaliers of Quebec, but with deep regret she had to return home to her parents, because the physicians declared that a life of religious enclosure would not agree with her delicate constitution.

Physicians, however, are very often mistaken in these supernatural matters. Such was the case in regard to Vitaline Gagnon. Some time after her return home she applied for admission among the Gray Sisters at Ottawa, and was received after being in an extraordinary manner cured of a serious cold. Her malady, however, returned accompanied by a distressing cough, which caused grave uneasiness. The religious threatened to send her home again if she were not soon cured. Vitaline, with childlike confidence, had recourse to her dear mother, our Blessed Lady, and she was again immediately cured. Being admitted to the novitiate, she took the religious name of Sister Esperance of Jesus. Two years later she made her religious profession, and on the same happy day she received the stigmata of the five wounds. Her wounds bleed every Friday, and every time this innocent victim of charity offers her prayers and sufferings to obtain some special grace for those who have recourse to her intercession. She is continually on the cross of suffering. For some years she has been living without any other food than that of the Eucharistic Bread of immortal life. Apparently she seems to enjoy perfect health, and looks remarkably well. The water that issues from her wounds emits a very agreeable perfume; it is sufficient to remain in her poor cell a few minutes to become impregnated with this celestial fragrance. It is now eleven years since Sister Esperance made her religious profession and received the stigmata of the Passion. She is often made to pass through the different stages of the Passion of our Lord. When scourged at the pillar her body is raised by an invisible hand, and the blows inflicted upon her can be heard.

These are so terrible that her whole body is covered with wounds and bruises. After this she is placed on the cross, and suffers all the torments of a real crucifixion. She offers frequently her sufferings for the souls in purgatory. This good religious is often raised up into ecstatic raptures, during which the spiritual condition of persons recommended to her prayers is made known to her. The souls in purgatory often appear to her, asking her prayers and suffrages for their speedy deliverance. To give her a sensible proof of the intensity of their sufferings, they touch her body with a mysterious hand, leaving upon it a distinct and visible impression, as if it had been made with a hand of red-hot iron. In eight months she suffered six or seven of these painful marks. Sister Esperance has made several prophecies which have been literally verified. Contrary to the opinion of physicians, she told her confessor that one of his sick penitents would die soon. The person died within a week, and the departed soul appeared to her, asking her prayers and suffrages, because she was in purgatory; then, placing her burning hand upon the foot of Sister Esperance, she left upon it a visible impression, which the humble religious showed to her confessor. Her religious sisters venerate her as the visible guardian angel of the community. Her advice and exhortations are full of heavenly wisdom and prudence. When consulted by any person about spiritual or temporal affairs, she seems to know by intuition all their wants, and the most secret dispositions of their souls. Sister Esperance possesses the gift of discernment of spirits. Before being admitted to her presence she knows the internal dispositions and motives of visitors who ask to see her. She humbly but firmly refused to see some ladies who traveled a long distance for this purpose, but through motives of feminine curiosity. On the contrary, she sent an invitation to a virtuous religious, well known to the writer of this notice, who, having to go to the convent to see his own sister, abstained through humility from asking for Sister Esperance. This good religious has much to suffer, but he has been highly encouraged and consoled by her kind words, prayers and letters. We have read one of these messages of charity. These details have been given by two eye-witnesses. May God make Sister Esperance of Jesus a great saint, the hope and advocate of Canada and of America, according to the meaning of her religious name. North America needs some powerful native saint and advocate with God in her impending trials. (See "Us Stigmatizees," 2 Vol, note about the end. Also, "Voix Prophetiques," tome 1, livre 4, chap. 4)