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The Pandemic: invocation...

“Forced into a new confinement since 29th October 2020, in France, I invite you to look at Gui de Montpellier, a great figure of the Church who, like Saint Roch and so many other saints, healed and relieved, and that the Church invokes more particularly in times of pandemic ”. Invitation addressed to Christians of the diocese of Saint-Claude -Jura - by Bertane Poitou, of the Sacred Art Commission. A Diocese where the communities of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit -Poligny and Saint-Claude- are located.

Gui was born in Montpellier in 1160. He was most likely marked by the decision of his father who had participated in the Crusades and who, according to Gui's biographers, "tired of the tumult of arms and returned from the illusions of this world, embraced [ …] Monastic life and |…] became a model of religion and piety”. Gui founded around 1180 the Order of the Hospitallers of the Holy Spirit; the demographic rise of the 12th century in Europe resulted in the development of religious orders which worked to relieve the sick. Gui de Montpellier, by founding his Order, is part of this dynamic.

The Order of the Holy Spirit was to be inspired by the catalogue of the seven bodily works of mercy: giving food to those who are hungry, giving to drink to those who are thirsty, giving hospitality to strangers, giving clothes to those who are naked, taking care of the sick, delivering the captives, burying the dead. Moreover, as a preamble to the Rule of the Order and as if to summarize it, Gui inscribes the passage from the Gospel of Matthew 25, 34-40: “I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you dressed me; I was sick… ". Finally, to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience made by religious, Gui adds a fourth for the brothers and sisters of the Order: that of perpetually serving the poor.

Several authors could then say of Gui de Montpellier "that he wanted all works of mercy inspired by the Gospel to be exercised in his homes: that no need, no misery should remain without recourse! The order of the Holy Spirit therefore sums up the charitable Middle Ages." Finally, according to Léon Gautier, "the founding of the Order of the Holy Spirit was one of the greatest events in the history of the world in the Middle Ages".

“Today, while the Covid-19 epidemic is causing a health, economic and social crisis of an importance that could not be imagined in our time, while we feel our contemporaries rising concern, anguish and sadness, we can turn to Gui of Montpellier to invoke him so that he gives us all to rely on the Spirit who has breathed so much in our diocese through his Order, and that we continue his work." Bertane Poitou. We too can make this invitation our own, all the more so since there have been among us, since 2003, Sisters Hospitallers of the Holy Spirit and our first Rule invited everyone who entered the “House” to take care. "Of the relief of the poor whom they will visit and assist in any way they can ..."


Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit. Courtesy of the author. Posted on 13th December 2020.

"Holy Spirit, You who sanctify us, we pray to You through the intercession of Blessed Gui. Following his example, make us poor in spirit, calm, just, charitable, peacemakers, with a pure heart ... Ignite in us a holy zeal so that, united to Christ Jesus through You, we adore the Father All -powerful, source of eternal love and mercy, for ever and ever. Amen. " Litanies of Blessed Gui of Montpellier

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

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