There is a new vocation that may soon be coming to England.
This calling was communicated by one of the most extraordinary mystics of the Church, who died in only 1981. Her name was Marthe Robin and she lived the last 50 years of her life in a vital apostolate, in which she spoke personally to and encouraged over 100,000 people. Yet she held these short but revelatory conversations from the bed where she lay paralysed in the dark in a tiny little farmhouse in the middle of the French countryside.
And for all of those 50 years she lived entirely and solely on the Eucharist and neither drank nor slept. Her experience in this is probably unique in all the history of the Church and it has been said that no one but Our Lady lived the Passion of Our Lord so closely. Indeed she experienced the Passion of the Lord every week; living in her body and in her soul in a mystical way a profound interior experience of the cross over 2,500 times.
Many foundations and vocations sprang from her words including the Community of St John, but here we are considering her own special foundation inspired by the words of Our Lady Herself, the Foyers de Charité. The founding text of the Foyers says
The calling therefore is a form of consecration, lived in community, in order to create a foyer (translated literally as a hearth, but conveying the sense of the warmth of a family home) that will welcome people to silent, 5 day retreats in an atmosphere of profound love and peace.
During these 5 days the retreatants will hear 3 talks each day from a priest, who will take them through a thorough catechesis – the history of salvation and the teaching of the church. There will be plenty of time for prayer, for support from the members of the Foyer and for good food - very good food in fact. Marthe, although she was in a continuous and total fast for 50 years, always concerned herself with the lovingly prepared menus.
A profound conversion of life for ordinary people is the goal of the retreat. It was Our Lady Herself who insisted on a whole 5 days and on silence. This is the time it would take to “change a soul”.
Reading about the moment when Fr Finet first heard from Marthe that he had been chosen to found the first Foyer, one receives a strong sense that it is all the work of heaven: http://www.foyer-de-charite.com/en/marthe-robin/the-beginnings-of-the-foyers.html
Marthe’s phrase, the new Pentecost of Love was taken up by John XXIII. It seemed an astonishing thing to be praying for with such faith in 1939, but as a mystic and prophet, she took her lead from her communion with God and not from current events. Though her life was extraordinary, the spirituality she inspires is simple and accessible.
To seek God is Faith
To find Him is Hope
To know Him is love
To sense Him is peace
To taste Him is joy
And to possess him, is intoxication.
If you would like to attend a 5 day retreat in England or if you would like to investigate the possibility that you may have a calling to join a Foyer and help with these beautiful and heaven-inspired times of conversion for souls then please contact Mgr Keith Barltrop in London – firstname.lastname@example.org; Fr David Hartley in Stoke-on-Trent - email@example.com Fr Tom Dubois in Bristol - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who knows how much of the new evangelisation and the new Pentecost of love depends upon just such Foyers where the love of God and the truths of the faith can be experienced in depth and tenderness.