28 March 2011

Post # 600

Hard to believe, but it's true: this is our 600th blog post ... and our second in our recent mini-series:

Rigden had been engaged. When she told Leonard Neale, however, he said this was not God’s call for her, so she told her fianc√© she would never marry him. He was so distressed that he threatened and possibly even attempted suicide, and he begged her not to marry anyone else. He disappeared shortly after this, and her family worried that he had succeeded in killing himself.

She asked to enter the monastery shortly after refusing to marry, but Leonard Neale wanted her to remain with her family a while longer in the hope of converting them. He also anticipated that her family would oppose her entrance and cut off her inheritance. They even threatened to set fire to the convent. After a few years Neale finally agreed to admit her on the feast of the Guardian Angels, October 2, 1806. Just before she entered, she asked for her mother’s consent. Her mother refused. By this time she was 23 years old and there were two other sisters in the family, so she bid them “an eternal adieu.” They wept and accused her of abandoning them, and she wept in return, entreating them to abandon her to God. She did not see them again for 13 years, until after she had become Superior, even though they sometimes came to the parlor, and she only did that much out of obedience to her spiritual father, who was then Fr. Clorivi√®re.

When Rigden joined, the monastery was only a few years old, and it only had five or six sisters in it. There was much poverty and hard work, but this excited rather than discouraged the new postulant, and they received her with great joy.

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