ABOUT US Renée Burel, 3rd centenary

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Renée Burel, 3rd centenary
1: Plérin, 20th June, 1720

This 19th June 2020, we remember the first among us Daughters of the Holy Spirit who “gave her soul back to God her Creator” on 19th June, 1720, exactly 300 years ago: Renée Burel.

Renée: a young woman full of dynamism, enterprising, who had given everything of herself and her possessions to the “little house” of Légué -Le Légué, commercial and fishing port located in Brittany, France, between the towns of Saint-Brieuc and Plérin-, and to “those whom God had associated with her for the care of the poor and the school”: her dear sisters Marie Balavenne and Charlotte Corbel, and her devoted assistant, Mauricette Majol. The three of them were there that Thursday, 20th June, 1720, in the Church of Plérin, with Renée's blood relatives: her brothers Pierre and Michel, her sister Jeanne and her husband François Chattel, “and several others.”  

He must have had a heavy heart, the young Rector of Plérin, René-Jean Allenou de la Ville Angevin, 33 years old, who presided over the funeral ceremony. His eyes still full of what he had witnessed, some three weeks earlier, in the House of Charity of Légué: a young woman of 38 years old, in full lucidity, already affected by illness, “showing all the marks of piety” at the moment of receiving the sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Extreme Unction.

“Honourable daughter Renée Burel, Sister of the Third Order of St. Francis and one of the Sisters of Charity of this parish", aged about 39 years, having received the sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Extreme Unction, and having given all the marks of piety suitable for a dying person, died on 19th June, 1720 in the house of charity at Le Légué. And her body was buried on the 20th in the cemetery of Céans* opposite the large gate and main entrance to the church. The ceremony was done by me, the undersigned, in the presence of honourable people Pierre and Michel Burel, François Chattel, Marie Balavenne, Charlotte Corbel, Mauricette Majol and many others. (Signed): P. Burel, Jeanne Burel, François Chatel, Michel Burel, René-Jean Allenou, Rector of Plérin."  *of this place: Plérin

That 20th June, at the end of the ceremony, the body was buried in the cemetery, according to Renée's will, signed on the day of Pentecost 1718, confirmed first on 8th December, 1718, then again four weeks before her death on 22nd May, 1720: “I give my soul to God my Creator, and my body to holy ground, to be buried in the cemetery of Plérin, in the place chosen that it pleases those whom God has associated with me for the care of the poor and the school, and whom I honour as my Sisters”.

It was “opposite the large gate and main entrance to the church” that her body was buried.

In front of this tomb, hearts wonder: Renée, so determined to keep their House of Charity alive, here she is in the ground, dead. She who had discerned so carefully “the designs of God” for her, who had given everything for their realisation, why must she be so quickly deprived of them. What inner struggle she had to fight to completely surrender her life to God, and leave to others the care of the future and of the projects that were looming. And deep in the hearts of those who remained, various thoughts: Where do You want to lead us, Lord?

Who could have foreseen, on the evening of Renée Burel's funeral, what would happen to this small group of three women mourning their Sister, full of sorrow and uncertainty?

To be continued…

The members of the Spiritual Family are invited to reread with profit the study published in NEWS n ° 75 of November 2019 under the pen of Angèle Blanchard.

Sister Anne-Marie Tromeur - DHS Archives Service - Published on June 4, 2020


Filles du Saint-Esprit 15 bd. Sebastopol 35101 Rennes Cedex 2 France

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