St. Julie Billiart, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, came to her religious vocation late in life, at the age of 51. She was born in 1751, the fifth of seven children. As a child, she developed a great love for Jesus in the Eucharist. At 16, she began to teach to help support her family.
However, due to a murder attempt on her father, she was plunged into very poor health for 30 years, 22 of which she was completely paralyzed. During this time she was very patient, and offered all of her sufferings to God.
During the French Revolution, Julie opened her home as a hiding place for loyal priests, forcing her to flee from danger several times. She also received a vision of the Crucified Christ, surrounded by a large group of women dressed in habits. An inner voice told her that she would begin a religious institute for the Christian education of young girls.
Julie and a rich young woman began the teaching order in 1803. In 1804, Julie was miraculously cured and could walk again. She died peacefully in 1816 at age 64. Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1969.
…Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified… Luke 24:36-37
After his death, the resurrected Lord Jesus appears to the apostles, but they think they are seeing a ghost. Jesus calms them and asks for some food. Jesus was incarnated into a human body, and that same human body rose from the dead. It’s no wonder the apostles are constantly confused by a God in human flesh. The God-man in a glorified body is nothing they have seen before. We, too, are constantly reconciling our expectations of what and who God should be. Everything that we hope for in Christian life is present in the resurrected body of Christ. There is no way to understand the Scriptures except through Jesus. There is no way to love except through Jesus. And yet Jesus can be so hard to pin down, to fully explain. We pray together that we may recognize him in the breaking of the bread.