Dear friends and benefactors,
In the chaos of the Second World War Mother Julia helped many young people in various ways. She writes to her spiritual director about this in the following words: “It is not necessary for the young people to thank me, for having brought a ray of light into their lives. This certainly did not come from me. It is the Lord, who makes use of me to send them these sparks of light anf this joy. To Him alone are thanks due. I have done no more than my duty.”
On the 11th November we celebrated the centenary of the birth of Mother Julia. We gave thanks to God for the rays of light that she brought and continues to bring to many people through her life, wisdom and the charism she received from God. Christ came as light into this world. By each persons distinctive character, gifts and vocation each one of us should also become a small ray of light in his great light. “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people” (Jn 1:4).
In Collegium Paulinum young men are preparing to become priests who will proclaim the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Before they be ready for the ordained ministry they themselves must be filled with Christ and become light.
I would like to thank everyone who help our candidates for the priesthood on their journey, be it the professors of the Pontifical Lateran University, those who pray for them or the superiors of Collegium Paulinum. In September Fr. Franc Švigelj became the new Rector of Collegium Paulinum. I sincerely wish to thank Fr. Burkhard Feuerstein who was fulfilled this role for a number of years, and wish Fr. Franc God’s blessing. I would like to thank all our benefactors who have contributed in so many ways, both materially and through their prayers. Please do help us in the future! With every good wish for a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year.
Ordination to the priesthood
During the ordination of Fr. Gerold Reisinger FSO on the 25 September Bishop Philip Boyce said: “You should have the courage to say: ‘Here I am – send me!’ You should be ready to show the world a renewed and purified image of the priesthood, one that is ready to serve, one in which you daily become more intimately united with Christ the High Priest.”
Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman
On the 20th September two of our sisters had the privilege of greeting the Holy Father during the Mass of the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. In his homily the Holy Father said: “I pay tribute to all who have worked so hard over many years to promote the cause of Cardinal Newman, including the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory and the members of the Spiritual Family Das Werk.”
Mother Julia Anniversary Mass
A hundred years ago, on the 11th November 1910, Mother Julia was born in Belgium. In solemn Masses at Jerusalem, Bordeaux, Rome, New York, Erie, Budapest, Geluwe, Bregenz, and Littlemore we thanked God for the gift of her life.
Celebration of the Holy Covenant and Reception of the Choir Robe
Two of our sisters, Sr. Myriam Decock and Sr. Miriam Venner concluded the Holy Covenant in Virginal Love in the parish Church of Mother Julia’s hometown of Geluwe, West Flanders. Bishop Guy Harpigny presided over the celebration at which Bishop Philip Boyce was also present with many priests and faithful.
The Choir Robe reminds us of our baptismal gown, of the newly washed garments of the redeemed and of the heavenly marriage banquet when we will be with the Lord forever. Consecrated men and women wish to encounter Christ, to love him, to give witness to him and to invite many people to open themselves to his love.
Symposium in Rome
To mark the recent beatification of J.H. Newman our community in collaboration with the Pontifical Gregorian University organised an academic symposium in Rome from the 22nd-23rd November. We are grateful to God for the way in which our Newman work has been blessed with such abundant graces.
“If we only are patient, God works for us. He works for those who do not work for themselves.”
Consistory in Rome
It was a great joy for us that Archbishop Medardo Mazombwe of Zambia was created a Cardinal by Pope Benedict during the recent Consistory in Rome on 20th November. Cardinal Mazombwe has been united with our community for many years, and is a frequent guest at Collegium Paulinum.
A Mother for All of You
As a Christian one can have many “mothers.” Everyone has their own biological mother. Christ also gives us Mary as our mother. There are also other “spiritual mothers” who have adopted a son in a spiritual sense. Mother Julia was one such “spiritual mother” for many people during her life.
I have known The Work for seven years and truly know myself to be a spiritual son of Mother Julia, despite the fact that I never had the pleasure of meeting her personally. In the year Mother Julia died in 1997 I received my First Holy Communion. Yet I have got to know what she was like through the vivid and often humorous recollections from brothers and sisters who had knew her. She also comes close to me through the writings she has left us. In her words I see how maternal, open-minded and faithful she must have been. The presence of Mother Julia’s nearness and the help she affords us is especially felt at her final resting place in the Thalbach convent at Bregenz. It was there that I was always and again able to experience, and with great security know that her words she spoke to her spiritual family were indeed true: “In heaven I will remain what I was for you on earth: a mother for all of you.”
fr. Johannes Reiber
*Our account in Rome is:
Banca Popolare di Bergamo, Via S. Silverio, 57
I-00165 Roma / Swift BEPOIT21117
account number IT51 Z054 2803 2040 0000 0032 060
*Donations in the United States are tax-deductible. Please make your check payable to Catholic Spiritual Family, The Work, Inc., specifying “For Collegium Paulinum”, and mail it to: Catholic Spiritual Family, The Work, Inc. / 123 East 38th Street, New York, NY 10016
Via di Val Cannuta 32c,
00166 Rome, Italy