Two dates in the month of February evoke Claire Monestès for us. On February 4, 1921, Claire took her first vows in Marseilles, and so did Leonie Fabre, her first companion. The community of the Xavieres was founded on that date, Claire later said. On February 14, 1939, Claire passed away in Paris. On her nightstand was found a note that read: « Courage et confiance, l’hiver est passé, la tourterelle chante déjà, la moisson va venir, allons la cueillir d’un grand cœur reconnaissant et fidèle ». A translation in English would be as follows: “Courage and trust, winter is over, already the turtledove is heard singing, the harvest is coming, let us go out to the harvest with a faithful heart filled with gratitude.”
Claire Monestès is the founder of our community, the Xavieres, Missionaries of Christ Jesus. She was born in Savoy, France, in 1880, and died in Paris, France, in 1939. A fine musician, she was a passionate woman who from a very young age was determined to be consecrated to God. She was inspired by the missionary zeal of St Francis Xavier, and by the spirituality of St Ignatius Loyola. She grew up in a France marked by the beginning of the separation of Church and state. She grew in her spiritual journey, with an ever greater desire to bridge the divide between the Church and people who are far from the Church. In 1921, she founded the Xavieres.
Today, men and women of different walks of life are touched by Claire Monestès. They find solace and inspiration in Claire’s spiritual journey for their own life of disciples of Jesus in the Church.
During this month of February 2014, in this jubilee year for the Xaviere community, we give thanks to God for the life of Claire Monestès. We are grateful for the fruits she has borne in the Church, for the inspiration she is for many. We pray that we may have an ever deeper understanding of her gift for the mission today.
« Soyons ferventes du monde présent, non de celui d’hier; adaptons-nous perpétuellement. Servantes du monde présent, voilà la Xavière. » – Claire Monestès, founder of the Xavieres
“Let us be fervent of the present time, and not of time of the past. Let us constantly adapt. Servant of the present time, this is the hallmark of the Xaviere.” – Claire Monestès, founder of the Xavieres