Fr. Hermann Geissler, FSO

Four Episodes from Mother Julia’s Youth

1st part - Love for Our Lord in the Eucharist

Bl. Edward Poppe (1890-1924)
When Mother Julia was about twelve years old, she learned about the Eucharistic Crusade, a movement that arose during the Eucharistic Congress of 1914 in Lourdes and then spread to many countries, including Belgium. This movement, a fruit of the dispositions by the Holy Father, St. Pius X, concerning frequent reception of Holy Communion and of Communion to children, aimed to reawaken love for Our Lord in the Eucharist and for Mary and to encourage children to be willing to make sacrifices, through regular meetings, catechesis and a magazine. In Belgium, one of the main advocates of the movement was Father Edward Poppe, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999. One day Julia, while at school, met this holy man of the Church, who left a lasting imprint on her soul: “Father Edward Poppe was an instrument of God in my childhood. He was a door, as it were, through which my soul opened itself to the light of the mystery of the Eucharist. Through the Eucharistic movement for children, I experienced a strong inner attraction to the Eucharistic Lord, who seized, led and nourished me by his holy presence.
The Eucharistic Crusade strengthened Julia’s friendship with Jesus and she became more virtuous. The effect was so deep that 60 years later she rendered testimony with these words: “At the weekly meeting our conscience received a sound formation, in which above all the meaning of, and the love for, sacrifice and mortification were brought home to us. I remember how at one of the weekly gatherings I was seized by this love of sacrifice, which found expression in all manner of acts of self-denial and in concrete deeds. We were made to understand all this through simple examples.”

And so there arose in Julia a need from within to mold her own character through love and self denial. At home she would take care of all those chores that she previously avoided, such as washing the dishes, polishing copperware or cleaning the stove. “The effect was that after I got used to doing these chores I developed a real liking for such work. It was like a first conversion to a more ardent and intimate love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and to Mary, his Mother. And so I experienced a deep, inner growth, which influenced my later life and gave it direction.

»Every grace given is an appeal for service.«
Mother Julia