APRIL 8. JULIE billiart, whose limbs recovered
Patron saint against bodily ills, disease, & poverty
Lived: 12 July 1751 to 8 April 1816
Canonized: 1969 (the summer of l-u-v)
"[Julie] offered herself as a victim to God continually ... her prayer was almost continual." — Mgr. Lamarche, 1793
When Julie Billiart was a young girl (and what another source cites as "approximately 30"), someone shot a gun at her dad through a window while she sat at close range. The resulting shock caused Julie to fall under a mysterious and painful illness, which led to the gradual paralysis of two limbs or her entire body. By some accounts she could not speak. Julie remained laid up for more than 20 years, but she orchestrated many great acts while bedridden. She helped secure hiding spots for fugitive priests, delegated good deeds to "a little party of women" who admired her, and plotted her plan for the future Institute of the Sisters of Notre Dame. In 1804, a priest asked Julie to join him in a novena—a series of prayers breathed over 9 straight days—for an unknown intention. On the fifth day, the priest, in a move like Christ at Bethesda, tempted her to walk, saying, Mother, if you have any faith, take one step in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When she rose, she found she was cured.
During the French Revolution, endangered by her rep as a devotee, Julie—still paralyzed—lived in hiding. In a fit of ecstasy, Julie saw a group of sisters in strange vestments clumped around crucified Christ. Behold the spiritual daughters whom I give to you, God said.
In each of the stories above, the relic in unspecified. A relic is an object (e.g., clothing, a comb, a bed) or body part (e.g., hair) of a blessed person.
There is a virtual Heritage Center for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The physical center is located in Namur, Belgium.
This summary of Saint Julie's writings features calls to simplicity, patience, and fearlessness (In Julie's words: "a manly courage"). There must be nothing little about us, the saint cautions. We must have hearts of apostles. Other St. Julie-isms: Everything must be tested by fire to be purified [. . .] to achieve anything we must pay the price. Nothing is for nothing. [God] will drawn us out of our difficulties if it is his will.