Prayer is the innermost spring in the life of a Sister of Notre Dame. Personal experience of God and a life of union with him which transforms the ordinary actions of every day into a participation in the mission of Christ are basic to the living of an apostolic religious vocation. The end for which we were founded demands souls of prayer and without prayer there is no Sister of Note Dame. Intimate converse with God in prayer was a real need for Sister Mary Aloysia. Christ is the ultimate meaning of the life of each one of us and the Eucharistic Christ touches powerfully all that is deepest and most universal in us, revealing us to ourselves and revealing himself in others. According to Sr. Ignatia meditation nourishes the soul and fills it with love for Christ.
The goodness of God was the starting point of our spiritual mother’s (Julie) charism, and her mission was to reveal that goodness to all. That God is good was her life-long conviction. He was good in himself and in what he had made. He was good in the free outpouring of his grace. He was good in all his arrangements. He is so good that He can wish for nothing but good for us.
The same message is seen in the teachings of Bernard Overberg who had greatly influenced the lives of our foundress and co-foundress. Overberg’s way of teaching begins from an understanding of God as our loving Creator who has made and called us to union with himself and whose providential care is always with us. God loves his creatures, all of them. Creation is seen as an ongoing, sustaining outpouring of love always working to bring everything to its best state.
It is in the nature of things that goodness should express itself as simplicity. Goodness is diffusive and God’s infinite goodness gives infinitely and freely. He gives us himself and this self-gift invites an integral return from the one to whom it is given. The total response in love to God’s giving unifies the person, centers activity on God and makes the individual like God in his oneness. The reality is a generous openness to God’s goodness in his self-giving, an uncomplicated willingness to receive him in the concrete evens of his daily providence.
Joy is the fruit of simplicity. There has to be a gaiety in our appearance, a spontaneous good humour which delights others to be with us. The very fact of being available, living for God and for others, means that we have to be free from self-interest and self- absorption. When a soul is strongly rooted in the virtue of simplicity nothing can disturb her, neither change of place nor time, nor troubles, nor worries; nothing astonishes her, nothing troubles her, because she knows that it is God who does or permits all and she loves God so much that she always accepts with a smile his good pleasure for her, whatever it may be.
The commitment to work, the sincere realism, and the ready smile are all external signs of the invisible reality which is simplicity. The fact that it is to be used apostolically only makes the need for prayer more imperious. The life of prayer is the one and only source of an efficacious apostolate. Sr. Mary Aloysia didn’t have hours of free time to be sitting in rapt attention at God’s feet. Her relationship with her God created within her a certain disposition of heart that went with her all day long. We also are called to have such a relationship with God.