A Late Vocation- Sister Anne Marie Worm, Visitandine

Today, many mature women seek out the Visitation Order to explore their vocation. This is not new to our communities.
One holy example from the past is the Visitandine of Bensacon, France, Sister Anne Marie Worm.(1852-1925)

Ms. Marie Worm was a pious person who had an outstanding accomplishment prior to her entrance to the Visitation Monastery at age 44. She basically started and built up an orphanage called La Saulnaire in France which she ran successfully until she entered religious life as a cloistered nun.

Struggles to Leave Career and Providence with the Oblates

Her leavetaking of her charitable career was not easy, either for herself or for those she cared for and worked with.
She consulted Bishop Petit, Archbishop of Besançon. It seemed to both of them that a religious community who would have complete freedom of action in La Saulnaire could go on and even develop the good work. Offers were made to the superiors of Sisters of Divine Providence. But they could not accept, and were even forced to withdraw the two nuns they had left behind at the orphanage. She learned of the Congregation of the Oblates of Saint Francois de Sales as very fit to continue the legacy of charity, and, with the approval of Msgr. Petit, Miss Worm took steps on this side successfully.

Starting all over, Adjusting to Monastic Life

It was October 27, 1896 that the generous postulant definitely crossed the threshold of the monastery. The reputation of her virtue had preceded her.
The hopes she inspired were not deceived. Without wasting time, Sister Marie handed over herself as a child into the hands of her Superior. It looked like she had never done anything but to obey or serve. The poverty of her cell was perfect, as well as the humble household chores from which she happily took her share. Far from asking for exemptions that would have been excused due to her age and her previous habits ,she followed all the customs that seemed more difficult to her, especially the multitude of little details and ceremonies that her memory could not retain.Always ready to blame herself, she was eager to accuse herself on her knees. Our very honored Mother and her worthy Directress of the novitiate were so edified that they said to one another: “This postulant starts where we would be happy to finish. ” On March 25, 1897, she received the Holy Habit from Monsignor the Archbishop, as Anne-Marie.

Sister Anne-Marie had to experience the double martyrdom foreseen by her holy director.A violent sciatica then held her to the infirmary, and was only the prelude to the pains that were waiting. She had the consolation, however, of devoting herself to the Community. Shortly after taking the Habit, she was given a class at the boarding school and some piano lessons.
A student said with tears in her eyes:”Sister Anne-Marie is a saint! ” The edifice of her holiness stood on the foundation of contempt for herself. During her retreat for Profession, April 1898, she had a sudden, clear view of all the faults of her life. “I am stunned, she said,I am nothing, Jesus is everything to me! Had I only been created to do one act of true humility, that would be enough as the goal of my existence, because humility glorifies God. ”

Her favorite as Saint Marguerite Mary, Visitandine of Paray le Monial, who received the revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

When later Sister was named Assistant to the Community, our mothers were to find in her Charity a true Cyrene.

Special Assignment

In 1904, our Sister Anne-Marie was appointed by her Superior to accompany our very honored Sister Jeanne-Salésie, then Deposed, who went to Belgium to find a shelter in case of expulsion. This trip procured her the immense
advantage of getting to know our dear of Communities of Nancy, Metz, and Brussels. She was particularly touched by her interviews with the venerable Sr Marie Chantal and Mother Marie-Séraphine Dedenon. “ Since my visit to the small infirmary where our good and holy Sister Marie-Catherine Putigny is, she wrote, the need for suffering developed in me. And even while traveling,the Lord held me as in solitude with Him;the outer things, the people of the world were like shadows before my eyes. Real life was in my interior that I lived it.Thank you, my God, for having thus withdrawn me in You and made known the way by which I must go away of all creation, especially of myself. “

War and Post-War

During these harsh years of shortage of  World war 1, she would have cut off the bare necessities if her superiors had not watched closely. And however, her condition became worse.

Her retreat of 1924 was marked by a progress sensitive to the virtue of surrender such as holy Francis de Sales wants his daughters. ” The lights of our pious Confessor and those of our very honored Mother have enlightened my way , she said. It is necessary to amend myself on the point of obedience.”

Suffering and Death

Sister Anne-Marie received the sacrament of the sick, April 25, 1925.
On Friday, November 13, she writes for the last time in her poor little notebook: “This morning, I secretly received the inner grace to become the Bride of the Crucifix, that is to say, the divine Crucified inseparable from his cross.Effect of this inner key:the resolution to be, in my practical life, inseparable from Jesus and his Cross. “

The last hours were very painful for her , but nothing seemed to disturb the peace of her soul. “O my Jesus,” she wrote,if it is pleasant for you to increase the sufferings of my agony, I ask you very freely to do so, begging you to apply this small surplus from my poor merits to all intentions and to all the souls that are dearest to me. You read in my heart those I have in view. “

This holy soul flew into the bosom of Him whom she had so much loved and desired here below.
It was December 14, 1925, feast of a holy virgin, protector of Alsace and Franche-Comté.


Source: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k9768307k

2 Responses to “A Late Vocation- Sister Anne Marie Worm, Visitandine”

  1. Ruth Cassin says:

    Thank you sister for this story. I wrote a commentary but the computer shut down before I clicked Submit Comment. I don’t have time now to reconstruct it. Perhaps we can talk some time.

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