Cistercian Nun: 1204-1250
+ Alice (or Aleidis) was born in Schaerbeek, Belgium, and was entrusted to the care of the Cistercian nuns of La Cambre Abbey when she was seven years old. She later joined the community.
+ Alice was honored by her religious sisters for her humility and silent, wholehearted service to the community.
+ While still a young woman, she contracted a skin disease that was diagnosed as leprosy and she was segregated from the other nuns. Alice accepted her suffering and illness, turning the experience into an opportunity for closer union with Christ. She found great consolation in the Eucharist.
+ Alice became critically ill in 1249, but survived for another year. By the time she finally entered eternal rest on June 11, 1250, she was paralyzed and completely blind. Pope Saint Pius X approved devotion to Saint Alice and she is honored as a patron of the blind and of those who are paralyzed. Her commemoration is traditionally celebrated on June 15.
The Abbey of La Cambre, of which Saint Alice was a member, was founded in 1196 but was suppressed during the French Revolution. The formal name was the Abbaye de la Chambre de Notre-Dame. The buildings that housed Saint Alice have long since disappeared and the former abbey church is now a simple parish church staffed by the Norbertines.
“Sharing in the Body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic Bread, we are taken up into communion with him and with one another.”—Lumen Gentium (“The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church” of the Second Vatican Council)
O God, who called your handmaid Blessed Alice to seek you before all else, grant that, serving you, through her example and intercession, with a pure and humble heart, we may come at last to your eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Nun)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.