Monastery of Saint Catherine

The weekend of October 20, 2017 was an eventful one at the Monastery of Saint Catherine of Siena in Langeac, in the Auvergne region of France. The cloistered Dominican Sisters there held an annual meeting of the Association that supports the monastery on Saturday, October 21st. They invited Father Ronald D. WITHERUP, PSS, to be the main speaker for the event, presiding at the opening Mass and then presenting a conference on the close relationship between Blessed Agnès de Langeac, one-time Prioress of the Monastery, and Father Jean-Jacques OLIER, founder of the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice.

Father Olier, who was Abbot of the nearby Augustinian monastery of Pébrac, learned of a “holy woman” living in Langeac and went to meet her during one of his missionary journeys to the region. When he met Mother Agnès, to his astonishment, he realized she was the woman who had appeared to him in a vision saying, “I am crying for you,” indicating that the Blessed Virgin Mary had asked her to pray for “my son, the Abbot of Pébrac.”

Although these two important figures from the seventeenth century were in close contact only a short time, until the death of Mother Agnès at the age of 32, they nonetheless showed the value of women and men working in close relationship for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through her prayers and sufferings, Mother Agnès helped Father Olier remain faithful to his priestly service in the Church. Through his vision and apostolic spirit, Father Olier became a key figure in the renewal of the Church in the seventeenth century by founding seminaries throughout France and helping to reenergize the faith, which was sorely in need of rejuvenation.

For two days following the Assembly, Father Witherup, who is a biblical scholar, gave some spiritual conferences to the Sisters updating them on recent developments in the study of the letters of Saint Paul.

Below are some pictures from the encounter with the Sisters at Langeac.