The servant of God: Anne-Madeleine Remuzat
Sister Anne-Madeleine Remuzat was born in Marseille on November 29, 1696 into a very pious family and was baptized the very same day in the Church of Accoules. Very early on Anne manifested her desire to become a religious and after initially refusing, her parents finally allowed her to enter the second Monastery of the Visitation founded in 1652 in rue Bernard-du-Bois where one of her relatives was a Sister. The following year, Anne made her 1st Holy Communion and was filled with spiritual favors. In 1708, having been called by Christ to fidelity and then, in the language of the day, to be a ‘victim’, meaning to say his messenger, the one sent by him, she began the first period of renunciation and mortification.
Jesus appeared to her very often and conversed with her leading her to experience the dark night of the soul. During a visit from her father to the monastery in 1709, she asked him if she could return to the family.
During those two years, Fr Claude Francois Milley SJ became her spiritual director. Anne Madeleine took an active role in diverse works of charity in the cities of Marseille and Auriol. She was affirmed in her religious vocation as she worked with the sick and the poor, whom she visited often. On October 2, 1711, Anne entered the first Monastery of the Visitation as a Postulant. Behind the Vieille Charite, in the Monastery of the Grandes Maries, founded in 1623, was an Oratory of the Heart of Jesus which had been there since 1691. This was replaced in 1696 by a Chapel dedicated to the Sacred-Heart. On the 14th of January, 1712, she became a Novice and received the veil during a ceremony presided by Mgr de Belsunce who gave her the name, Anne-Madeleine. On August 14, her sister Anne joined the Monastery where three months later she received the veil with the name, Anne-Victoire (+1760).
Anne-Madeleine pronounced her Perpetual Vows on January 23, 1713. On the 17th October 1713, the day of the anniversary of the death of St Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, of Paray-le-Monial, Christ gave Anne-Madeleine the mission to work for the glory of His Heart. This marked the beginning of a new period of suffering but also spiritual consolation in prayer. Apostle and victim, she was also an intercessor working for the salvation of sinners. Numerous were they who come to consult her in the parlor of the Monastery.
In 1716, she saw the Holy Trinity whilst in ecstasy. Many visions and conversations with Christ followed. The next year, with the encouragement of Mgr de Bulsunce, she wrote the Statutes for the Association of Perpetual Adoration of the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. On March 30, 1718,
the Rules and Exercises were printed with the approbation of the Bishop of Marseille and the Association came into existence in the month of April.
The subscriptions rapidly numbered thousands and a great number of Monasteries of the Visitation promoted the Association in their Churches. That same year, even though the Jansenism doctrines had spread through Marseille with virulence, Christ miraculously appeared in the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the Church of the Pères Cordeliers de l’Observance before a group gathered for prayer during the ‘Forty Hours’ before Lent. By supernatural means, Anne-Madeleine was warned in advance about a chastisement to come if the city didn’t render itself to the Mercy of the Lord. Anne-Madeleine confided this message to the Père Milley, her Spiritual Director who transmitted it to Mgr de Belsunce.
In May 1719, the new Superior of the Monastery, Mother Françoise Benigne d’Orlye de Saint-Innocent (+1738), named Sr. Anne-Madeleine guardian of the Community. Her suffering increased further never to leave her. She spent her nights in prayer before the Tabernacle. In July of 1720 the Plague was declared in Marseille. In October whilst in Adoration, Christ revealed to Anne-Madeleine that the Plague would lead to the Institution of the Feast in honor of His Sacred Heart. Just a few days later, He made known to her the conditions. The message was immediately transmitted to Mgr de Belsunce who published an order on the 22nd establishing the Feast of the Sacred Heart in his Diocese and on the 1st November, for the first time in the world, he solemnly consecrated the city and the Diocese to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The plague which seemed to have disappeared returned in 1722 and it wasn’t until the Echevins of the city had made a vow to participate in the annual festival that the Plague completely disappeared. Having devoted himself without respite to the sick, Fr Milley finally contracted the disease and died during the epidemic. Anne-Madeleine didn’t get a replacement but following the counsel of Mgr de Belsunce, she undertook correspondence with Fr Gerard who resumed thenceforth her guidance. During her retreat in 1723, she was favored with a new vision of the Trinity. In 1724 she received the stigmatic imprint of the Passion, which at her request remained invisible. In May 1725, Mother Nogaret (+1731), previously superior of the Monastery regained her charge in the place of Mother de Saint-Innocent. Sr Anne-Madeleine pursued her apostolate with the people whose state of conscience was revealed to her supernaturally and whom she contacted through the mediation of the priests. She continued to pray and suffer for sinners as the Lord had proposed her and she continued to be favored with ecstasy and spiritual favors. In May 1728
Mother Nogaret named her Bursar of the Monastery – a task she carried out fervently.
Sr Anne-Madeleine fell gravely ill at the end of January and died on February 15, 1730. She requested that the Litany of the Sacred Heart that she had composed would be recited for her. Mgr de Belsunce proceeded to the inhumation in the presence of the people of Marseille who repeated over and over, “The saint is dead!”. Numerous miracles have been attributed to her. She is considered as being the successor of St Marguerite-Marie Alacoque and has been entitled, the Apostle, the Propagandist of the Sacred Heart. The Church declared her Venerable and her cause for Beatification was introduced on December 24, 1891 and once again in 1921 without result. And then, on Holy Thursday, April 9, 2009, Mgr Georges Pontier, Archbishop of Marseille, named Mgr Jean-Pierre Ellul, Rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Church containing her heart, Postulator of the cause of her canonization. Thanks to our prayers, we hope that in years to come and in the perspective that Marseille will become the European Capital of Culture in 2013, that it be reminded and mentioned that our city and Diocese were the first in the world to have been consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Let us pray to the servant of God, Sr Anne-Madeleine Rémuzat so that she will lead us closer to Christ in prayer and Eucharistic Adoration, making of us witnesses of His mercy.
Lord, I give you thanks for your servant,
You chose her to promote the worship of the Sacred Heart of your Son which led to the consecration of the Diocese of Marseille to the Sacred Heart during the Plague of 1720.
You enabled her to practice the Evangelical virtues in her religious life at the Visitation and to find joy in abandoning herself to your love.
You called her to make known how the mercy and tenderness of the Trinity is revealed in the Sacred Heart of the Incarnate Word.
You so filled her with your love that she was recognized as a living sign of your beauty.
Accord us the joy of hearing her proclaimed Blessed and in your goodness, Lord, accord me through her intercession the grace of ………………… which I implore you with confidence, through Christ our Lord, Amen.
If graces or healings are obtained through the intercession
of Anne-Madeleine, please write to the Postulator
2bis rue St Adrien
F - 13008 Marseille