Bicentenary of the Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus: 1820 - 2020
The Society of the Faithful Companions of Jesus, who served in Edmonton since 1888, is
approaching a significant landmark in its life and history: 200 years since its foundation in
Amiens, France. For the FCJs, their Companions in Mission, friends, colleagues and associates, celebrations will begin on the Foundress’s birthday, September 21, 2019, and end on the Feast of Christ the King, November 22, 2020.
Marie Madeleine de Bengy was born in the small town of Chȃteauroux, near Bourges in central France, in 1781 and was brought up in the social and religious turmoil that followed the French Revolution. She married Joseph de Bonnault d’Houët in 1804, but a year later, the marriage came to an untimely end when Joseph died of typhoid; their son Eugène was born three months after his father’s death. A young, sorrowing widow, Marie Madeleine was reluctant at first to believe that God was calling her to a radical life of prayer and service in the Church and world of her time. Gradually, with God’s help and the guidance of her Jesuit spiritual directors, she began to discern the path ahead more clearly. Finally, in 1820, at the age of 38, having attended to her son’s education and future, she opened a school in Amiens, thus marking the foundation of the Society of the Faithful Companions of Jesus. ‘My name is Magdalen’, she said. ‘I will follow my patron saint, who so loved Jesus as to accompany him in his journeys and his labours, ministering to him even at the foot of the Cross with the other holy women who did not abandon him but proved to be his faithful companions’. Before her death in 1858, Marie Madeleine founded schools and orphanages not only in France, but also in England, Switzerland, Italy and Ireland. Since then the Society of the Faithful Companions of Jesus has continued to spread, with Sisters and Companions in Mission (lay Associates) now in Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Romania, Canada, USA, Argentina, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar and South Sudan.
Mother Margaret Mary is equipped with a beautiful Chapel and Prayer space for students to come and interact with our school Chaplain as well as reflect and be in the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Chapel is a place to engage in Spiritual Guidance as well as a safe and caring place where students can go to just casually talk or collaborate on just about anything.
Flex sessions are held for students to come and learn about the scriptures in a comfortable setting and undertake fun activities with each other in a faith based setting.
Annual Chaplain Projects for Thanksgiving, Advent, Lent, and Easter are done by the Chaplain and student body at MMM where students learn the value of helping out charities and community organizations like the Edmonton Food Bank, The Mustard Seed, St. Vincent, DePaul, and Catholic Sign of Hope.
Students participate in monthly Masses in the Chapel led by our St. Thomas More priests and the students travel to the Parish throughout the year for Masses that celebrate events in the liturgical calendar.
Our student lead Social Justice Committee energizes the student body by modelling servant leadership in a variety of community orientated initiatives such as:
- Annual Children's Halloween Carnival in support of the Edmonton Food Bank.
- Winter Warmth Clothing Drive in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Society
- Christmas Bake Sales and Candy Grams in support of Catholic Social Services (Sign of Hope Campaign)
- Free the Children Campaigns:
- Selling Raffiki Chains for women in Kenya
- Purchasing Goats for villages in India
- Attendance at the Annual We Day in Calgary!
- Mentorship to Edmonton Catholic Schools students enrolled at the Terwillegar Recreation Centre 100 Voices Program
- Anti-Bullying Poster Campaigns and "Pink Day" activities
- Annual (Post Easter) Recover the Food Bank Food Drive