(Les Filles de la Croix)
In this Sign, thou shalt conquer
One dusk evening, in 1833, Jeanne Haze was standing in the courtyard of the Carmelite order in Liege with her friend, Virginie Sorage when she saw a large black Cross, with a crown of ivory etched against the sky with each detail clearly visible. The Cross disappeared, leaving an indelible impression on the young women.
The Cross gave them their “Directive Principles” – “In this Sign you will learn to love to consider others as your brothers and sisters, called like yourself to build the Kingdom of the Good News in Justice and in Peace. To combat everything which seeks to set human beings at odds for there is only one Lord and He is the God of Love. To believe in the absolute tender love of the Father, even in times of darkness and depression, to place everything in the Father’s hands, not as a way of escape, but as a gesture of total trust, as one relies on those one loves, without this sign, without experiencing difficulty, poverty of spirit and death, there is neither birth nor growth.”
Jeanne Haze founded the Congregation – Filles de la Croix – the Daughters of the Cross – on 8th September, 1833 at Liege in Belgium. They dressed alike in a long black dress and wore a black head dress lined in white – and the Cross. They gave themselves religious names –
Jeanne – Sr Marie Therese
Ferdinande – Sr. Aloysia
Miss Lhoest – Sr. Clara
Miss Soroge – Sr. Constance
Miss Ancion – Sr. Julienne
No one who required their help was ever refused or rejected – orphans, prisoners, war victims, old incurables, penitents – all felt their healing touch of love and service.
In the different countries where the Congregation is established, the Daughters of the Cross will always have a special preference for those who are poorest. They will serve Christ in the works of general and special education, the care of the sick and the aged, abandoned children, the physically and mentally handicapped, the socially deprived, local pastoral work and the various needs of the Church. They will remain faithful to their original charism, which excludes no work of mercy.
The Lord’s plan for spreading the work and charism of the Daughters of the Cross began. In Aspel, Germany, a new Catholic school was opened. Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, compelled all Catholic schools to close and the Sisters were forced to leave. They were invited to England where they were wanted and appreciated. Europe, by now, was outwardly calm and the Congregation gathered strength and spread to Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Italy, North and South America and eventually to Africa and India, even the Far East.
Mother Marie Therese’s Daughters of the Cross flourish in her love and vision, centuries down the line, all over the world.