From Mulhausen, we took a trip to Namur, Belgium, a very special excursion for us. Here is where St. Julie Billiart began her community of Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur in 1804. Julie’s spirit is at a deepest root of our spirituality, because forty years after her death, her rule of life came to our first Sisters. Hilligonde and Elisabeth were formed and instructed in her spirit. St. Julie, though only a peasant girl, became a profound educator of future teaching Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Her love for God, creation, especially the children, found a perfect union with the Coesfeld spirit of education that our beginning congregation knew.
Julie taught catechism as a young girl in her fields. Her love for God was ever joyful in what she experienced as his great goodness to her. Though her life was marked with heavy crosses, she always trusted to take the next step. A definite example is when she had been paralyzed for over 22 years, and after a novena of prayer in honor of the loving heart of Jesus, she stood from her wheelchair and walked. Then she walked all over Belgium establishing convents and schools to educate the young.