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6 July

Venerable Aurélie Caouette, APS

Born on July 11, 1833 in Saint-Hyacinthe (Lower Canada) Aurélie attends school in her native village until she is twelve. She is extremely pious from an early age and passionately devoted to the precious blood of Christ. She enters a boarding-school run by the Congregation of Notre-Dame at Saint-Hyacinthe in 1845. During her studies there she receives spiritual guidance from Father Raymond who will accompany her till the founding of her religious community.

She leaves the boarding-school in 1850 and returns to her family home. Although she is manifestly called to religious life, she is not able to find the way forward. The first bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, Mgr Prince, suggests that she joins a teaching or nursing community, but Aurélie does not feel that is where her calling lays. She leads a virtually cloistered life, spent in prayer and physical suffering. Her devotion to the precious blood becomes deeper and more compelling, and she abandons herself to it, not knowing where it will lead. She pronounces her vow of chastity before Father Raymond and adds the name Catherine to her own out of admiration for that young martyr of Alexandria. She then takes the vow of obedience while continuing to live in the world.

In 1859 she meets Mgr Bourget, the bishop of Montreal, who listens attentively to the young mystic and, prophetically, tells her, “If I were the bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, I would say to you: ‘Go to a small, isolated house in the country and found a community of women to adore the Precious Blood.” For Aurélie Caouette, the way forward is clear at last. Bishop Prince supports the idea at once. However, his death on May 5, 1860 delays the undertaking. The new bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, Mgr La Roque, hesitates at first but finally approves and the congregation of the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood is born on September 14, 1861. The four members of Canada’s first contemplative community initially stay in the Caouette house. On September 14, 1863 the nuns move into their own convent and the same day they pronounce their vows. Aurélie Caouette becomes superior as Mother Catherine-Aurélie du Précieux-Sang. She dies on July 6, 1905 at the community’s convent in Saint-Hyacinthe.

LINK: www.adoratricesps.net