Eucharistic Crusade

Saints Who Loved the Blessed Sacrament

Mother Mary of Jesus {1818 - 1878}


Known at the beginning of her life as Emilia d'Oultremont, Mother Mary of Jesus was born in a castle in Wegimont, Belgium, on October 11, 1818. Her father was the Count of Oultremont, Wegimont, and Warfusée and her mother was Marie de Presle. The Count and his wife were both simple in their tastes and very charitable. They were very good and pious Catholics and were most generous towards the poor and needy.

Sacred Heart

The Count at first had wanted to become a priest, but when his older brother was killed in the war, he was persuaded by others to remain in the world. It was God's will, for the Count did a great service to God and country.

Every morning, all the people including the servants had to assist at daily Mass in the castle chapel. There one could also see Count d'Oultremont kneeling on the stone floor and saying his Rosary. He and his wife were both wonderful examples for the servants to follow.

Emilia was her father's favourite and she was like him in many ways. She loved to be outdoors and would often mind the sheep, horses, dogs and goats. She was brave, but she was also stubborn; she would have to work hard to overcome this character flaw.

Later in life Emilia wrote, "My parents taught me before all else to know and love God. The practice of virtue was not difficult for me; I had only to follow my parents, which were models I had before my eyes. I had this, along with the inspiration of grace, which made itself clearly felt in my soul from the time I was young."

When Emilia was seven, her health became poor. The child suffered much and spent many days at a time, in bed. Later she wrote, "Days spent in bed and in suffering, were the means used by God to help me do His Holy Will. During these periods of illness and grace, Our Lord spoke to my soul. I loved to listen to Him and give a great part of my time to prayer and to reading pious things, especially the 'Lives of the Saints.' I loved the Blessed Sacrament and I loved to see it exposed. There I would gaze with much joy, upon Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament."

Since the age of eight, Emilia would consecrate herself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus every day. The young girl made her First Communion when she was eleven, and up to the age of fourteen, went to Communion every month.

On Sunday Emilia returned to her room after Mass in the castle chapel, as she was not feeling well. She knelt down to pray and suddenly Jesus poured all the joys of Heaven into her soul. She remained there for one and a half hours. From then on, Jesus would often remind Emilia about this special grace.

When the young girl was fourteen, she went with her family on a trip to Italy, but she returned home in poor health. She often remained quiet, thinking about God and other holy things.

Between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, Emilia took part in the social life, meeting other people. Although she went to Mass every day, recited the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, said her Rosary and did spiritual reading, in later life she looked upon these lukewarm years, as wasted time.

Emilia became very ill when she was eighteen. By this means God restored the young girl to Himself and she was more faithful to Him from then on. She wanted to become a religious, but her parents wanted her to get married. Thus when Baron d'Hooghvorst, a good Catholic, asked to marry her, she agreed. The arrangements were made and they were married on October 19, 1837. After the wedding, the young couple went to live in Count d'Oultremont's castle, as he would not be separated from any of his children, and here, Emilia continued with her devotions.


In 1839, the Count was appointed by the King as his representative to the Pope and the Baron went along as an aid to the Count. Emilia traveled with her husband and father and then went to live in Rome. The Baron was delighted to see his wife so pious and he encouraged her to a life of devotion. He went to Mass every day and said his Rosary every day. He also gave money to the poor and spent time with them as well.

By 1842, the happy couple had two children, and during this same year, Emilia had a vision of St. Ignatius, who told her that one day she would follow his rules. That year she received Communion six days a week and would pray for hours and hours before the Blessed Sacrament. In this way she rested from the troubles of the world.

The young woman continued to have visions of St. Ignatius and also the Sacred Heart of Jesus. One day when Jesus appeared to Emilia with a crown of roses and a crown of thorns in his hands, she eagerly took the crown of thorns saying, "O adorable Master, may this crown which I accept with all the love of my heart, decrease Thy suffering so that I shall be very happy!"

In the spring of 1844, Baron d'Hooghvorst and his family left Rome and returned to the castle at Warfusée. Even though she now had three children, Emilia still spent many hours every day before the Blessed Sacrament.

In the spring of 1846, their fourth child was born, and the happiness of the family was complete. But one day the Baron got a fever when he was out hunting and died a holy death in less than five months, at the age of thirty-four.

The poor woman was broken hearted, but she picked up her cross and carried on with her duties. In 1847, Emilia made a vow, consecrating herself to God forever. The holy woman went to Communion every day, and gave most of her time to prayer and caring for her children. Besides this, the good woman was an angel of mercy to the sick and the poor. She would often visit them, bathe their wounds and do their chores for them.

Emilia longed to become a nun. Her parents and children were against the idea and for the time being things remained the same. But God's ways are not our ways! Soon both of Emilia's parents died, leaving her with two boys and two girls, the oldest being but twelve years old.

Emilia purchased an estate Liège, Belgium and there continued her works of charity. Some time later, she decided to move to Paris. Her friends, the priests and even the Bishop were up in arms. They tried to persuade Emilia not to leave, but Emilia being directed by God, moved to Paris, took and apartment, and placed her boys in college. Of this period in her life she writes, "My heart felt the need of giving to God, all the respect, love, and adoration He deserved. The tender love of God for the world, filled my soul with a need of adoration, respect, homage, and love towards the Blessed Sacrament."

On December 8, 1854, Blessed Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and on that same day, Our Lady spoke to Emilia and the Society of Marie Réparatrice was born. Our Lady's heart was broken, "What affects my motherly heart deeply are the outrages, the sacrileges, and insults of every kind, loaded upon my Son, Jesus. I am not able to console Him! I desire to see souls who will love and respect my Divine Son, and I beg you to give some of your motherly love to my Son, Jesus." From that moment on, the Baroness knew what her work was. It would be to gather souls who, in place of Mary, would make Reparation to Our Lord for the outrages committed against Him in the world.

Emilia went home, sold her property in Liège, and then came back to Paris. She did not know for sure if she was to found a religious order, but she knew she must find souls to adore and love Jesus. She moved to an apartment again, and later took a less expensive apartment. The holy woman gave most of her time to helping the poor and especially helping the blind. And after a ten day retreat in February 1855, Emilia was even more eager to start the work of Reparation. From that time on, she lived and dressed more simply.

The good woman was determined to begin her work, and on the advice of Fr. Petit and Fr. Studer, she leased a mansion. Three young English women came to join her in the work of Reparation, and also the governess of her daughter, Mlle. St. Martin.

Fr. Studer was at first doubtful about this new movement but he soon realized that it was God's work, and supported it fully. On November 8, 1855, he gathered the women in Emilia's apartment, and there he received their vows in religion. Two lay sisters and another woman also joined them at this time.

The next week they moved to the mansion that had been leased and started the Novitiate, on November 21, 1855. Emilia made a retreat at the Visitation Convent, and during this time, God often spoke to her heart, guiding her in the work of Reparation. In time, the Baroness came to live at the mansion; she and her children lived on the first floor and the novices lived on the third floor. The children did not like the nuns calling their mother, by the name of "Mother", and it was hard for them to adjust to these new ideas.

Pope Pius IX

The name chosen for this community of nuns was, "The Society of Mary Reparatrix." Pope Pius IX was pleased with this new community, but before he would approve it, he declared that it was necessary to for them to set up houses in other districts. So the first community was set up in Strasbourg, in agreement with Bishop Roess. Mother Mary of Jesus then brought all her companions from Paris to Strasbourg. She returned to Paris, in January 1857, and continued to look after her children. She kept on the go between Paris and Strasbourg, taking care of her children and the novices.

On April 29, 1857, Mother Mary of Jesus brought her daughter Olympia, to the convent in Strasbourg, and before long, the girl decided to join her mother's convent. Emilia's son Adrian married in 1859, her daughter Marguerite became a nun at her mother's convent in 1860, and a few years later, Emilia’s son Edward, got married. When this marriage was over, Emilia was done with the world; she could now give herself entirely to God.

Some of the community opened a house in Paris and Mother Mary of Jesus became the Superior of it. The work of the Society advanced by leaps and bounds. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed day and night and many people came to adore. Also, retreats were conducted in the convent for the laity, and it was a great success. After the new foundation in Paris, came Toulouse and then London, England. Another was set up in Tournai, Belgium.

By 1863, the Society had five houses in Europe and two foreign missions. On December 8, 1863, Mother Mary of Jesus set out for Rome, to see Blessed Pope Pius IX, and after several interviews, the Pope authorized the new Society on June 27, 1864. Emilia then decided to transfer the Motherhouse to Rome and she opened it on June 21, 1865.

Mother Mary of Jesus received a heavy cross, when her young daughter Marguerite, died at the age of twenty-two. Then a few years later, her daughter Olympia died, at the age of twenty-nine. Emilia's heart was broken, but she suffered in peace. Then she received two more crosses when her two brothers died. The poor woman had to follow Jesus all the way to Calvary!

In time, her health began to fail, as she had a serious heart condition, called angina pectoris. From February 1877, till her death, Emilia suffered terribly. She died in Florence, Italy at the age of sixty, on February 22, 1898. Her body was buried in the Community vault, in Rome. A great woman had died! Emilia was noble by birth, noble in her charity and noble in the service of God. Let us strive to be virtuous and charitable like Emilia, and let us pray that she will be canonized, so that one day we can say,

St. Emilia, Pray for Us!

The End


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