Those of you who read my Christmas message on the de Chazal website www.chazfest.com will know that we had been invited to participate at the ceremony where Marie Judith (previously Virginie) de Chazal was to take her final vows as a Sister in the Order of Benedictine Nuns of Sacré Coeur in Montmartre, Paris. We hope that you had a prayer for her and her immediate family on that day.
The Ceremony was at 15.30 on Saturday 5th January 2007, the Feast of Epiphany, when the Three Kings brought gifts to the baby Jesus. It is traditionally on this day that special praise is given to The Lord and on this day The Clergy and Nuns dedicate themselves to His Works. There were two initiates taking their intermediate vows and three taking their final vows.
The Archbishop of Tours led the service. All the sisters were there, about 80 by my reckoning. The singing was superb
The cathedral was full. We were privileged to be in the third row and could see and hear everything. We started with the usual prayers and hymns. The Archbishop made a good, well constructed and interesting sermon on the theme of The Epiphany. Following that, each sister made their individual vows and prostrated themselves before the alter while a litany to the Saints was sung. The postulates were ceremoniously gowned with new cowls and veils by the Abbess and the three taking their final vows signed their name at the Alter, declaring that they did so freely in their own hand.
The sisters all embraced the newly-accepted into the convent. The communion mass in this most imposing building was an impressive, happy and warm occasion.
Pray for Sister Marie Judith, to give her the fortitude to continue the Lord’s Work in chastity, charity and obedience which she has chosen to do with the help of the Benedictine Order of Nuns of Montmartre at Sacré Coeur Paris.
The reception: The convent is attached to the Cathedral and we were led to individual rooms where the new nuns could receive their friends and family.
We were well received with superb sandwiches, followed by canapés then small sweet things followed by colored macaroons all washed down with champagne. The nun allocated to our champagne bar was very accomplished at bottle opening, years of practice I should say.
The people there: I list those of the family below. There were lots of Marie Judith’s school friends and a good young crowd; so much so, that we hardly got a chance to say hello and goodbye. Never mind, we saw something of the family and I met two new cousins.
Paul and Paul-Guillaume, Marie Judith’s father and her brother. Albert Ménagé uncle to Marie Judith
Catherine, Albert’s daughter from Australia with her two sons David and Tom, unfortunately John, their father had had to return early. David (about 13) was on a three month secondment to a school in France and he speaks reasonable French, Tom (about 9) on holiday. It is the first time I had met David and Tom, great kids, well dressed, sociable and interested in their surroundings; successful parenting I think.
Tristan and Claudine de Chazal,
Richard de Chazal,
Francois and his wife Hélene, whom, I am sorry and ashamed to say, I did not recognize in this setting.
Brother Henri Dominique de Spéville
Message Added: January 11, 2007