Catherine Mectilde de Bar, born at Saint-Die in Lorraine (France) on 31 December 1614, deserves to be universally known in the Church.
She is a woman of the stature of a Gertrude the Great and of a Teresa of Avila. Mother Mectilde’s writings, steeped in Sacred Scripture and in the liturgical tradition that formed her as a Benedictine nun, reveal a woman of profound human insights and supernatural wisdom.
The vocational journey of Catherine Mectilde de Bar was marked by unforseen turns, by sufferings of body and soul, by new beginnings, by constant displacements, and by an immutable stability in the One Thing Necessary. In this, Mother Mectilde speaks to the young men and women of today who must follow their vocations in the midst of uncertainty, movement, and rapid change. In 1653, she laid the foundations of a branch of the Benedictine family dedicated to the perpetual adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament in a spirit of reparation and ceaseless praise.
Mother Mectilde’s Eucharistic doctrine is a mystical expression of the Church, in East and West, has always believed concerning the adorable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. Her attachment to the worthy and reverent celebration of Holy Mass and the Divine Office is an invitation to the recovery of what earlier generations held as sacred and great. Mectilde de Bar offers a vision of Benedictine life capable of rejuvenating monasticism today with an infusion of Eucharistic vitality. Her dedication to perpetual adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament corresponds to a contemporary yearning, especially among young people, for a personal, transforming encounter with the Face of God.
Mother Mectilde’s intimate and cordial relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary is a model of life-giving Marian piety. The place she gives to Our Lady as Abbess of her monasteries suggests that every community and family can become, under Mary’s royal protection and consecrated to her maternal Heart, the cenacle of a continuous Pentecost, a school of apostles and evangelists, and a fruitful womb bearing new life in every generation.
Catherine Mectilde de Bar lived in a time marked by superstition, dalliance with the powers of darkness, and sacrilege. Distressing events on every continent demonstrate that such sins against the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar continue even today. Mother Mectilde bound herself in love to the perpetrators of such horrible crimes, praying God to show them mercy and presenting herself with Christ as a victim of reparation: an offering irrevocably made over to God with the intention of supplying for the love and adoration denied Him by those who hate Him and outrage His holiness.
Catherine Mectilde de Bar exemplifies the spiritual motherhood needed in the Church today, not only in monastic and religious communities, but wherever the Church is being born of the Eucharist again and again. She demonstrates that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar is a wellspring of supernatural fecundity in the life of every soul who, cleaving to the sacrifice of the Lamb, enters into His victimhood and, with Him, adores the Father in the Holy Spirit.
Mother Mectilde of the Blessed Sacrament reposed in the Lord on Quasimodo Sunday, April 6 1698. The words she uttered in the hour of her death are the expression of her whole life: ‘I adore and I submit’.