By Sr. Beatriz Liaño, SHM
In previous issues, we spoke about Jeanne, more commonly known as Jeannot: Mamie’s only sister who, upon joining the Sisters of Charity, took the name of Sr. Helena. As far as their character goes, Mamie and Jeannot were as different as night and day. The first was very shy, the second extremely outgoing, but both incredibly generous and with a great capacity to give of themselves.
Mamie wrote a letter on November 23, 1955 to her sister, Sister Helena, a Daughter of Charity working at the time as a missionary in the Belgian Congo. Each line of the letter expresses her profound emotion as she opens her heart to her sister. The woman we know today as Mamie, “Lisette” (from Elizabeth) for her friends and relatives, had recently taken an important step in her faith journey.
By Sr. Beatriz Liaño, SHM
After the unexpected healing of the eye disease that was gradually making Mamie blind, her life returned to its normal tranquility. A short time after becoming a widow, her mother finally accepted the invitation to go live with Mamie and her husband, François Treuttens. François was very fond of his mother-in-law, Cornélie, and Cornélie responded with affection to the attention and care he offered her. Given that Sor Helena, Mamie’s sister, had already begun the novitiate, mother and daughter (Mamie and Cornélie) were able to get to know each other much better. The little one, Simone, was the delight of her parents and her grandmother. In this way, they lived four relatively tranquil years together.
By Sr. Beatriz Liaño, SHM
Josefina came to know the love of the Lord and Our Lady through Mamie. On May 19th, 2016, Josefina Rossi passed away. She was a close, faithful friend of Mamie, as well as the Home of the Mother. It was the day in which Spain celebrates the feast day of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest. In this section of the HM Magazine, dedicated to getting to know Mamie more and more, we would like to take a break and speak about Josefina. Even though this means postponing stories about Mamie’s life, Josefina deserves it.
Mamie received the mission to pray and offer sacrifices for priests. Our Blessed Mother gave her spiritual sons. Little by little, throughout her life, the priests for whom she should pray and offer sacrifices providentially appeared. Priest by priest, one after another, including three bishops. She was faithful to her mission, which she never abandoned. She knew what the Lord wanted from her and she fulfilled it day by day.
She knew that she would have ninety-nine priests as sons.
Her first son appeared in Lourdes. He was a Son of Mary Immaculate named Fr. Enzo Bianchi. She received her last son, Fr. Felix Lopez, Servant of the Home of the Mother, on the very day that he was ordained a deacon, July 13,1993, a year before Mamie’s death. Fr. Rafael Alonso was number forty-three and her spiritual mission began with him even before he entered the seminary.
By Father Rafael Alonso
There is no reason to be surprised by the title of this article. Mamie, whose name was Elisabeth Van Keerbergen, lived in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, until she moved to Spain. In Brussels she moved from house to house.
Her husband, François Treuttens was an enterprising metallurgist that worked with lathes and drills, that he used to make a wide variety of screws and other metal pieces. In one of their houses they turned the first floor into a workshop. Mamie, who at that time was ill, turned her sickbed into an “office” in order to help her husband with the business. She was a very sweet person with a great power of attraction. Many of her husband’s clients belonged to different protestant confessions. Their wives tagged along with their husbands to take advantage of the trip into Brussels to go shopping or just to walk around. Quite a few of them became great friends with Mrs. Treuttens because of these visits.
Perhaps Mamie and I traveled to the Shrine of Our Blessed Mother in Lourdes around 50 times throughout her life. With friends, on pilgrimages organized by the Home of the Mother, the two of us alone... healthy or sick... even with her foot that was infected by gangrene as a result of her diabetes and bad blood circulation... When she no longer had her foot also, right before her death.
The Shrine of Lourdes, location of so many pilgrimages, was one of her favorite places among the many that we visited. Here Our Mother had given her an amazing grace, curing her of the paralysis she was suffering as a result of the decalcification of her lumbar vertebrae. She had been regularly visiting Lourdes every year for one month as a service to the sick, at her own expense, staying at the Basilique Hotel, very close the left-side door of the Shrine. Her husband François Treuttens, who loved her and respected her deeply, took care of all the expenses. For these volunteer services, Mamie was given the medal of Hospitality of Our Lady of Lourdes, which I now conserve in my home as a treasure.
The year of 2008 is the Jubilee Year of Lourdes, in honor of the 150 anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous, in the grotto at Lourdes.
The apparitions at Lourdes had a special transcendental value for Mamie in her life. We have often mentioned it prior to this issue. This time, I wish to make reference to how she lived her visits to Lourdes in the season of winter and why she would go there, during the time when it is officialy “closed.”
Lourdes “officially” opens on Easter Sunday and closes October 7th, feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. These dates are not strictly observed, however. Depending on the organization, some years it opens sooner and closes later.
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A year ago Sr. Clare was invited to partake in the exposition “Young Witness of the Faith, the Saints Next Door.”