The Daughters of St. Francis de Sales
By Julianne Jackson
The Visitation Monastery was the setting for the recent consecrations of Jennifer Clark of St. Margaret Parish, Bayou La Batre and Shawn Mitchell of St. Catherine of Siena Parish. Mass was celebrated by Group Chaplain, Msgr. Stephen Martin. Members of the Gulf Coast Live + Jesus Group of Daughters of St. Francis de Sales, along with family and friends attended. Jennifer and Shawn recited their Consecration Prayer with Julianne Jackson, Group Directress, at their sides. Mary O'Connell, Councilor to the United States, came in town from Virginia for the blessed event. Mary welcomed Jennifer and Shawn to the Daughters of St. Francis de Sales in the name of the National Council as she placed their consecration medal around their necks. Jennifer and Shawn were both charged with words from Founder Fr. Henri Chaumont, "May she always walk with the Gospels in one hand and the teachings of St. Francis de Sales in the other." After a flurry of pictures, festivities continued with a delicious luncheon.
Jennifer and Shawn began their journey with the Daughters of St. Francis de Sales with a three month period of discernment called Aspirantship. They then entered into a two and half year program of formation that focused on the love of God, the Gospels, the virtues, specific Church documents, and the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. Each was assigned a Companion who was a spiritual friend that accompanied them on their journey and helped them to understand the spirit and the traditions of the association. Jennifier shares, "My Consecration was like finally coming home after a long journey. I felt the love, the embrace, the encouragement and the common bond that only a family, and in this case a "spiritual family" can share. To finally find a way to help me grow in holiness and in my love for the Lord, and to have others who are on the same journey is such a blessing beyond any words I can express." Shawn shares as well, "One of the things that drew me to the Daughters was the sense of community. That's why I thought it was perfect to share the consecration ceremony with another Daughter, Jennifer. The day was also significant because I have been trying to explain why I've spent the last three years preparing for this to my family. Preparing for, and participating in the ceremony helped me to articulate to them the universal call to holiness and our place in the larger Body of Christ."
The Daughters of St. Francis de Sales are women who live in the world and practice the teachings of St. Francis de Sales. They were begun by Founders Fr. Henri Chaumont and Venerable Caroline Colchen Carre de Malberg. Madame Caroline de Malberg had sought spiritual direction from her parish priest, Fr. Chaumont, as to how to grow in holiness in her vocation as wife and mother.
For more information about the Daughters of St. Frances de Sales please visit the national webswite at www.sfdsassociation . org or email Julianne Jackson, Group Directress of the Gulf Coast Live + Jesus Group at email@example.com