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World Day of Consecrated Life & Emilie Gamelin makes a vow to serve the poor

The World Day of Consecrated Life coincides with the day on which Emilie Gamelin made the vow, on February 2, 1842, to consecrate her life to the service of the poor “for the greater glory of my God and the honor of the Blessed Virgin. Glory be to the Lord for so much wonder.

February 2, 1842 – Emilie Gamelin makes a vow to serve the poor

Even if the permanence of her work seems assured by the coming of the Daughters of Charity of Paris, uncertainty persists concerning the role she would henceforth be called to play in it.

One thing is certain: Emilie does not plan to give up her work. Her dedication to the poor is the expression of a very profound Christian conviction, rooted in the double commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. For her it was not a matter of simply having something with which to occupy her time; it was an irrevocable consecration of her entire life, inspired by faith. She would seal this choice by taking a private vow on February 2, 1842.

After a fervent preparation, Emilie went to the chapel and consecrated her life by signing this promise:

“I, the undersigned widow Gamelin, for the greater glory of my God and the honor of the Blessed Virgin, vow today, February 2, feast of the Purification of the Holy Virgin, to live the rest of my life in perfect continence, relying on my God and on Mary pure and immaculate for the grace necessary to be faithful to this commitment all my life, which I make whole-heartedly and with joy. I also vow to be a servant of the poor for as long as my strength will permit. I make these promises in the presence of God and of the patrons of this chapel. I also promise to be more vigilant over myself in my conversations as well as in my clothing, avoiding all that could look luxurious or ornamental. I want to give myself to God for Him to do as He pleases with me; I submit to Him in all resignation. Help me, 0 God, in these promises which I make to you today, February 2, 1842, at the age of 42.”*

The matter of Ms. Gamelin’s future often came up during the discussions of the Ladies of the Corporation. Ms. Gamelin was very conscious of the fact that she was standing at the crossroads. Her private vow and the legal decisions she made at the time testify to this.

What a great soul! How detached! Why would we not take advantage of this anniversary to implore our Blessed Emilie to intercede with God Providence, so that He may look upon us with mercy, that He may deliver our world from this interminable pandemic and encourage us to accept the holy quarantine in preparation for Easter, as a time of true conversion?

“Lord, listen to us! Lord, hear us!”

Sister Yvette Demers, SP, Vice-Postulator

* The spelling of the original was kept.

Source: Emilie Tavernier Gamelin, by Denise Robillard, pp. 151-152.