The French Catholic Diaspora: St. Mary Magdalene’s Sainte-Baume of Purity

Royaume France VBBDuring my last visit to the Icon of Our Lady of the Sign, Ark of Mercy at the Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Chicago, I was forcefully struck interiorly by a realization.

As I pondered in Eucharistic Adoration over the past seven years wherein I inductively developed the themes and concepts for Le Royaume, an understanding overcame me that through all of this Ste. Thérèse had shared her heart with me. My love for the Kingdom of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s mystical Kingdom of Catholic France, and Ste. Jehanne d’Arc, all flowed from the heart of “my little mother, Queen, and saint” as expressed in a poem I wrote years ago:

St. Thérèse – My little mother, queen, and saint

My little mother, queen, and saint
A little flower I found one day
Thérèse, whose fragrance none can hide
Sweet, from above, where she abides

My little mother, queen, and saint
Whose petals hold the dew and rain
Of grace from God that falls up there
That makes its fields so pure and fair

My little mother, queen, and saint
Who lets me drink that I’ll not faint
Each time my lips are moist, refreshed
It seems that more of me is fetched

’till nothing’s left, is what I pray
But that which falls Thérèse’s way
And somehow changes beautifully
Me, that is, where I can see

I wish that I could run right now
All through those fields, I see, and how
I’d not come back, but stay to thank
My little mother, queen, and saint

Our Lady of the Sign

I relished the impression. I rejoiced in knowing that through grace Our Lord and our Lady had answered my prayers over the years. Ste. Thérèse was my “little mother,” and I wanted to have a union of hearts with her. She bore me spiritually on her Feast Day, October 1, 1984, when I was converted in an instant to the Faith. Now, after many years, many crosses, and much Hope, I knew that my prayers were bearing great fruit in this relationship between the two of us.

My mind pondered even more deeply my resulting relationships with both Ste. Thérèse and Ste. Jehanne as expressed in another of my poems:

Jeanne d’Arc, where I and Little Flower go

I know the heart of Saint Thérèse
Through whom I came to love and know
Jeanne d’Arc, herself, who’s always there
Where I and Little Flower go

I’d never make a claim so bold
To know another’s heart, I mean
Except, this time, I know it’s true
I know it’s real, if never seen

So much depends on point of view
And even on one’s heart’s desire
It must have been that way for me
The day Thérèse showed me Jeanne’s fire

I saw it like I’d never seen
A moment so sublime before
Thérèse’s heart was like a wind
That swept me to it, wanting more

In flames I went; I took Jeanne’s hand
Afraid, but knowing, glad, no cares
My other hand was clasped, you see
By Saint Thérèse, who joined us there

You mustn’t fear, nor worry so
This fire’s where God in Spirit says
That I may know, be glad, and sure
I know the heart of Saint Thérèse

I know; because before Thérèse
I’d never held her hand to know
Jeanne d’Arc, herself, who’s always there
Where I and Little Flower go

Jehanne and Therese cloud RoyaumeFrance
I concluded that this is the pearl of great price that must be protected at all costs. It is the pearl that drives us to sell all we have in order to obtain it. It is the pearl that represents the Kingdom of God. We are commanded by Our Savior to pray for this Kingdom “on earth as it is in Heaven.”

The connection to all of this with Le Royaume’s royal foundress, St. Mary Magdalene, struck my interior even more forcefully and joyfully. We must keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heads and hearts in Heaven. We must dutifully live out our vocations in the world while “selling all we have” in order to obtain the pearl of great price.

MM France banner Royaume France with site
St. Mary Magdalene helps us by taking our hearts to her mystical cave of Sainte-Baume where the pearl in our hearts is protected in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We live in the world as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, bankers, carpenters, farmers, and nurses. Yet, our hearts are protected in mystical Sainte-Baume from the evils of the world through the loving attention and patronage of Mary Magdalene, who secures them in the Immaculate Heart of Mary the Mother of God.

This is Le Royaume’s interpretation of Mystical France which itself is a metaphor for Purity. St. Mary Magdelene helps us in her Sainte-Baume to maintain a pure heart, one capable of a relationship with our Heavenly sisters Jehanne and Thérèse and through them with Mary Immaculate and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.