St. Emily De Vialar
Emily de Vialar was an only child. She was born in France in 1797. Her wealthy parents sent her to school in Paris. She returned to her small town of Gaillac when her mother died. Fifteen-year-old Emily would be good company for her father. Mr. de Vialar was interested in finding a suitable husband for his daughter. He became angry when Emily flatly refused to marry. He started arguments frequently and shouted his frustrations at her. Emily knew that she wanted to be a religious sister and give her life to God.
When Emily was twenty-one, a new priest arrived in Gaillac. His name was Father Mercier. He directed Emily in her vocation. She wanted to help the poor and the sick. Father Mercier helped her set up an out-patient service right on the terrace of the de Vialar home. Emily's father was upset by all the bother. This tense situation between Emily and her father existed for fifteen years. Then Emily's grandfather, the Baron de Portal, died. He left her a fortune and at last she could have the independence she needed to begin her great work for God.
With the help of Father Mercier, Emily bought a large house in her hometown. She and three other women began a religious order. They designed a habit and chose a name. They called themselves the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition. (In Matthew's Gospel, an angel had appeared to Joseph to tell him that Mary's child was from God.) The archbishop blessed their congregation and ministry. These sisters would be dedicated to the care of the sick and poor, and to the education of children. Twelve young women joined the group within three months. Sister Emily pronounced her vows in 1835 along with seventeen other sisters. The archbishop approved the rule of the sisters.
The Sisters of St. Joseph started branch convents. In 1847, the sisters went to Burma and in 1854, to Australia. In forty years, Mother Emily saw her congregation grow from the patio of her home in Gaillac, France, to some forty foundations around the world.
Mother Emily wrote many letters which revealed her tremendous love for God, for his Church and for people. She cared about everybody. She saw in her heart people everywhere who needed the truth of the Gospel and the love that Christianity brings. She asked Jesus for the strength she needed to continue on. Mother Emily's health began to fail around 1850. She died on August 24, 1856. Pope Pius XII proclaimed her a saint in 1951.
Do I tend to give up right away when things get hard? I can pray when things are tough and ask Jesus to make me strong and patient.