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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Delvaux

Created Anew

So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:

the old things have passed away;

behold, new things have come.


I am freshly home from a pilgrimage I was sent on by work. I was privileged to go to France to experience the origins of the Congregation I work for in Le Puy and then a bit of time in Lyon. I could write so very much on the experience but I would hate to bore you all. Instead, there was a theme I felt that now fits well with this favorite line from 2 Corinthians.


In the Cathedral of Le Puy you can find one of the Black Madonnas. She rests in an ornate space behind the main altar. She is not the original, the original was damaged but an image endured that allowed for the new sculpting of this beautiful image of Mary around the 17th century.[1] The recreation of what was lost, losing no value, but instead honoring the importance of this image struck me.


Over the course of our reflections and the formation, discussions about the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph filled our mornings. The history is very familiar to me (necessary given my role in Mission Integration), but I loved hearing about it from other voices and reflecting with the diverse group of participants. Over the course of those days, I found myself siting with the many, many times the sisters needed to reinvent or even restart (especially after the French Revolution). Incredible bravery, creativity, and commitment answered each moment of challenge.


Some Christian traditions interpret this passage from Paul as a one-time event – accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior or be baptized – and you are a new creation. My time in France reminded me of the grace and beauty of our Catholic understanding. We are constantly being made new and renewed.


The Black Madonna of Le Puy was a replacement, a copy, made from a wood cutting image. She lost none of her value to the faithful, none of her beauty. The Sisters needed to rebuild, recreate, and respond to dramatic shifts in the world and the Church, as they continue to do. These images and this reading give me hope. Fundamental recreation or dramatic changes do not mean we lose our value, our meaning, our identity. We can engage in these moments of creation and co-creation with our God. It is often in these moments of loss and rebirth, desolation and grace that we find ourselves closest to our God.


Our faith is an invitation to constantly turn and return to our God of Love. We have the constant invitation to engage in co-creation with our Loving God to make ourselves, our lives, and Creation anew. What are you invited to make anew?


[1] If you’d like to learn more and read a powerful book regarding the Black Madonnas, I strongly recommend God is a Black Woman by Christena Cleveland, Ph.D.

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Jenn, this reflection is magnificent. I love the linkage of recreating the original Lady of LePuy to "i can make all things new!" I cannot wait to hear more of your insights from visiting our sacred spaces! 🩵🙏💙

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