A New Story of Marie Madeleine, Grit and Grace, by Anne Rennie
21 November 2013
On the 21st of November, one hundred and fifty people attended the launch of the new book Grit and Grace about Marie Madeleine D’Houët and the FCJ story in the Province of Asia–Australia. Written by current staff member and alumna Ann Rennie this book was commissioned by the FCJ Communications Committee and Sister Judith Routier fcJ Province Leader. The book was launched by Professor Marie Emmett, the Dean of Education at the Australian Catholic University. The MC was Sister Helen Buckley fcJ, a former deputy principal at Genazzano.
Ms Pip McIlroy responded on behalf of the 16 writers who contributed reflective responses to the book. (You can read her talk here.)
Grit and Grace is a new telling of the special story of the founding of the FCJ Society by Marie Madeleine D’Houët in post-Revolution France and her call to establish a group of apostolic women dedicated to education, retreats, pastoral accompaniment and mission. The book is divided into two sections, with the story of Marie Madeleine’s life and vision and the activity of the Society in the region today completing the first section.
This book aims to refresh the FCJ story for today and to remind readers of the vital and visionary woman, the Venerable Marie Madeleine Victoire de Bengy de Bonnault d’Houët (Marie Madeleine), who was wife, mother, widow, daughter, sister, friend, business woman and foundress.
You can read a fuller account of the launch on the Archdioces of Melbourne website here.
Here is a short review by Claire Prowse, a 2012 graduate of Genazzano College, Melbourne.
This inspiring tale recognises the exceptional work and spirit of Marie Madeleine, whose vision has defined her life as a source of inspiration for generations of faith-filled women. It has transcended the limitations of her own lifetime to be celebrated in the work of the FCJ sisters and all members of our community. The book helps us to appreciate Marie Madeleine’s journey as a woman, mother, visionary and foundress. Her message is embodied in her legacy, of which all who read her tale or share in the fruits of her initial labour are called to be a part. Acknowledging the hardship she faced, this account celebrates her bravery, gentleness and humanity – a beautifully personal aspect which in its individuality speaks universally of the gift of contributing to a tapestry of service and selflessness, be it the first or only the most recent thread, weaving to enrich life in the present and for the future.