In an earlier post (see here) we suggested that the Calendar of Saints could be more inclusive and broader in scope. Inevitably that invites the retort, So whom do you suggest?
So here we begin a series of possible saints and holy people for consideration.
We begin with Aimee-Adele Le Bouteiller, (Blessed Marthe, feast day 4th November). She was born in 1816 in Percy, Manche, France, and grew up helping her widowed mother run the family farm and later worked as a housemaid to support her mother.
In 1841 she joined the Sisters of Mercy at the Abbaye de Saint Sauveur le Vicomte and took the name Martha, a name associated with hard work, and hard manual work is just what she did. She worked in the kitchens, the gardens and made such a good name for herself in making cider that she was known as ‘Sister Cider.’
In the abbey she had a special bond of love with the abbey’s superior, Mother Placide Viel. The bond was strengthened amid a tension between Mother Placide, who was often away from the abbey to raise funds, and the superior’s elder cousin, Sister Marie Viel, who was jealous of Sister Marthe.
This friendship and love between the two women, of quite different backgrounds, forged in a church setting, is a fine example of friendship and love for us today.
Blessed Marthe (feast day 4th November) died in 1883. In one sense it could be said that she seemed to achieve very little. Her life was not one of great events or spectacular miracles. However her simple life, love and faith is a beautiful witness to the transforming and life-giving power of faith at work in daily life. Her simple, holy life reminds us that each of us, no matter how unremarkable our life might seem to be, is able to become a saint.