A Year with the Saints – 18 June


The chief merit of obedience consists not in following the will of a mild, amiable Superior who asks rather than commands, but in remaining patiently under the yoke of one who is imperious, rigorous, harsh, ill-humored, and never satisfied. This is a pure fountain of water gushing from the throat of a bronze lion. Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal used to say that she should feel greater satisfaction in obeying the lowest Sister, who would do nothing but vex her and order her about roughly and sharply, than in following the directions of the ablest and most experienced in the Order; for, she said, where there is least of the creature, there is most of the Creator.

Saint Athanasius relates of the ancient monks that they sought for harsh and unamiable Superiors who would never be pleased with what they did and who would reprove them for their good, as Saint Pacomius did his disciple Theodosius; and the harder and more unattractive the Superior was, the more perfect was their obedience.

Saint Catherine of Bologna desired that her Superioress should treat her always unkindly and impose upon her the hardest tasks. She said that her own experience had proved that obedience in ordinary matters is indeed very useful, but that obedience in things difficult or harshly commanded in a short time fills the soul with virtues, and unites it to God.

MLA Citation