God uses the most unlikely people in mysterious ways. Madeleine Mirabal was born into a poor family in 19th century Paris. She suffered throughout her whole life. Despite not being raised in the Catholic Faith, she found God and step by step surrendered herself to His love, coming to realise that the very heart and essence of the Catholic Faith is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It was to her that God gave the inspiration for the devotion of the Mass of Reparation. Saddened by the absence of many Catholics from Holy Mass, she formed the habit of hearing extra Masses for those who were negligent. Her aim was primarily to render glory to God by making reparation on behalf of those Catholics who for some reason did not go to Mass, or who had lapsed in their faith, thereby neglecting their duty of giving God the praise and honour they owed him as their Creator and loving Father. Others soon followed her example. This was the beginning of the devotion known as the “Mass of Reparation.”
For ten years Madeleine Mirabal quietly pursued her work of pure love and reparation, whilst living a life of strict penance and mortification. In 1871, at the age of sixty years, she entered the newly-founded convent of Norbertine Canonesses at Bonlieu, France, as a humble lay sister. After having suffered a miserable childhood, abject poverty, an unhappy marriage to an abusive husband and the death of several infant children, Sister Rose, as she was now known, was to spend the last twelve years of her life offering her very self for the salvation of souls amidst the suffering, mortification, and peaceful joys of convent life.
After her holy death, the devotion so dear to her flourished and was approved by the Church, and was propagated especially by the Norbertine Order. It grew into the Archconfraternity of the Mass of Reparation, which became the source of great graces and the conversion of many souls. At its zenith it counted millions of members worldwide, but it unfortunately declined after the Second Vatican Council.
It is hoped that in this 900th Jubilee Year of the founding of the Order of Prémontré, this simple book may stimulate interest in the life of the humble, holy Sister Rose. May it help propagate knowledge about the Mass of Reparation at a time when many Catholics are neglecting their religious duties, and may it deepen our love and devotion towards the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Our Lord’s True Presence in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Purchase the following book as a companion volume: "The Spirituality of the Premonstratensians" by François Petit, O.Praem.
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Praise for Sister Rose: Her Life & Work
Fr. Martin Roestenburg has done the Church a great service by translating into English this lost treasure of a text on the life and work of Sr. Rose of Bonlieu. In an age when even the very word “reparation” is rarely heard, this work serves as an impetus for all Catholics to recapture that spirit of reparation which so moved Sr. Rose and countless other saintly priests, religious and layfolk. Arouca Press has once again brought to light something which had been sitting on the dark shelves of history for far too long. A great read for all Catholics! — Rev. Fr. Victor Szczurek, O.Praem., St. Michael’s Abbey, Silverado, CA
This abridged translation of Arthur Loth’s spiritual biography on the life and work of Sr. Rose of Bonlieu (d. 1882), a Premonstratensian nun, is very timely. It appears in an age where there is a great need for a liturgical and spiritual Ressourcement of the patrimony of our Catholic forefathers. This book is, in many ways, a first, necessary ‘call’ for the re-establishment of the Archconfraternity of the Mass of Reparation, to make Eucharistic reparation for lapsed Catholics, because penance and reparation have a fundamental place in Christianity. In the year the Premonstratensian Order celebrates nine hundred years of its existence, the humble, prayerful life and example of Sr. Rose, will also help members of the Order towards a renewed appreciation of the Blessed Sacrament, the centre of the Canonical Life, and many laity. The life and ‘message’ of Sr. Rose of Bonlieu deserves to be better known and acted upon. I heartily recommend this book. — Rev. Dr. Anselm Gribbin, ICRSP
For the last 10 years of her life as a Lay Sister of the Norbertine Canonesses in the Abbey of St. Anne at Bonlieu in the Diocese of Valence, France, Sr. Rose prayed earnestly for the establishment of the Archconfraternity of the Mass of Reparation, which by providing the permanent character of a fraternity would spread the Mass of Reparation; this came to pass. The 20th and early 21st Centuries have witnessed a great deal of change in the manner of liturgical celebration. Nevertheless, there is also a strong desire, especially among young Catholics, to delve deeper into the Holy Mass and to embrace its inexhaustible treasures. The production of an English translation of the spiritual insights of Sr. Rose by Fr. Martin Roestenburg, O.Praem., is timely. Let us hope that the Mass of Reparation will be taken up once more for the greater glory of God. — Rev. Fr. William M. Fitzgerald, O.Praem., S.T.L., St. Michael's Abbey, Silverado, CA
This compelling account of the life of Sister Rose, a little known Norbertine lay sister who lived in France in the 19th century, reveals the life of a saint. Born into poverty, she suffered abuse during her childhood, her marriage, indeed throughout her life; and yet, amidst it all, she consistently manifested a calm and deep faith in God, surrendering all to Him with great love, exhibiting profound charity, humility, mercy, and so many Christian virtues. In this 900th Jubilee Year of the founding of our Order, may this little treasure find its way into countless hands and hearts, to deepen our love and devotion for the immeasurable gift we have in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. May St. Norbert, Apostle of the Eucharist, continue to intercede for us all. — Mother Mary Augustine, O.Praem., Prioress of the Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph (Tehachapi, California USA)
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 978-1-989905-79-1 | $19.95 USD | paperback
ISBN: 978-1-989905-80-7 | $26.95 USD | hardcover
About the translator
Fr. Martin Roestenburg, O.Praem., was born in Delft, The Netherlands, in 1957. While still a child his family migrated to Australia, where at 26 years of age he entered the novitiate of the Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as Premonstratensians or Norbertines. He completed his bachelor’s degree in theology at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. After his ordination in 1991, he returned to Rome where he completed a Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselm (Anselmiano). In 2010 he was invited back to Rome to assist at the Norbertine Generalate, where he currently serves as secretary to the Abbot General and as guest master. He is an Australian national.
Sister Rose: Her Life & Work and The Mass of Reparation by Arthur Loth (translated by Martin Roestenburg, O.Praem.)
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