Sister Josefa Menendez was a Spanish mystic who lived from 1890 to 1923. In 1920, she joined the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Poitiers, France. During her four years of a simple and hidden life, she wrote down the words dictated to her by Jesus during miraculous appearances. His words have been published in The Way of Divine Love, a book which was highly recommended and endorsed by Pope Pius XII.
Sister Josefa wrote the words exactly as given to her by Jesus, words which give strong evidence of the never-ending Divine Mercy for each one of us who asks Him for His forgiveness. The stirring words of Jesus as He relates the details of His Passion and His thoughts for each step during His Passion, have served as meditations for many for more than 50 years.
The dictation of Jesus shows us the quiet way to sanctity through devotion to daily duty. As He dictates His deeply spiritually moving words of Divine Love and Mercy, He would suddenly tell her to stop writing so she could tend to her jobs in the convent, such as training novices, or working in the laundry room. None of her fellow sisters suspected her marvelous and miraculous interior life.
From Josefa’s amazing visits from Jesus and His words reminding her of her daily duty, we homeschooling mothers can draw strength in the understanding that our spiritual life can and must continue along with our homemaking and homeschooling activities.
The nuns would say that Sister Josefa made her little “sphere of influence one of prayerful industry.” Our homeschooling home can be the place where we influence our children to work diligently, but always accompanied by prayer and a prayerful attitude. We can make our children sensitive to the continual presence of God within us and within our home. Before our family begins the duties of each day, we can unite ourselves to Jesus and what He will ask of us that day. Morning prayers, reading selections from the Bible or words from a saint or about a saint, daily Mass, all these can contribute to show our children how our home and family, how our homeschooling, is essential to develop our spiritual lives.
Jesus told Josefa that her convent was a place where He could find peace and joy, a silent faithfulness to His Commandments, a charity and helpfulness toward each other. Surely this is the meaning of “the domestic church,” which the popes have asked the Catholic home to be!
Ironically, many believe that we home schooling parents want our children to escape from the “real world.” In fact, it is because we are concerned about the salvation of those in the real world of temptations and sorrows that we teach our children how to carry the message of the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to others. In our homeschooling domestic church, we are training ourselves and our children to take the message of salvation as Jesus told His Apostles and disciples to “Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
The nuns said of Josefa that “she felt her responsibility” in her dedicated training of the younger nuns. Our dedication can give us joy in serving our children for God’s glory and their salvation. The nuns said that “with patient good nature” and with “sweetness,” she “exacted” from her young nuns the “interest, care, and perfection” necessary for good work to please Jesus.
Saying the Morning Offering with our children, the whole family can offer everything during the day for His greater honor and glory. If everything is done for Jesus, can any of us ever allow anything to be done thoughtlessly?
While we may yearn for private time behind closed doors to spend with Jesus in “recollection,” we busy homeschooling moms must “recollect” in the middle of kitchen duties or math class, feeding the baby, or teaching diagramming.
We may never reach the “spirit of sacrifice” of Josefa, who was allowed to suffer the wounds of Jesus, but we can aim for an extraordinary spiritual life, one hidden and interior, one specially reserved for our beloved Jesus.
We must ask His Blessed Mother to help us each moment to continue to carry out our daily and humble duties of home management, and to carry out our very special calling to raise saints through Catholic homeschooling.