OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE AND NOTRE DAME
On the first Notre Dame vow day, February 2, 1804, “kneeling before the blessed Sacrament, Julie Billiart, Frances Blin, and Catherine Duchâtel took the vow of chastity, and promised to devote themselves to the education of orphans, and especially to the formation of teachers for the country schools. But shortly afterwards, as these promises were not vows, they changed the reference to orphans for good reasons.”
On this occasion, three silver medals of Our Lady of Guadalupe were given by the Fathers of the Faith to Julie, Françoise and Catherine.
The medals were exactly the same, and bore on one side, encircling the image of the Blessed Virgin, the inscription: "Notre-Dame de la Guadalupe, Mexico, 1797". On the reverse side of the medal were the words: "Non fecit taliter omni nationi" (“There is none like thee among the nations:” Ps.147 v. 20. Words of Pope Benedict XIV as he went down on his knees on seeing for the first time a copy of the miraculous picture of Our Lady).
One day, while at recreation, a Sister asked Mère Ignace, the third Superior General, the favour of examining the medal more closely and Mère Ignace acceeded to her request. Reading on the reverse side of the medal, "Non fecit taliter omni nationi", the Sister exclaimed: "This is certainly true; God has not given to every Congregation a Mère Ignace!" The Superior General said nothing, but the medal disappeared for several days. When Mère Ignace wore it again, the inscription had been replaced by ''Ecce Ancilla Domini" (“Behold the handmaid of the Lord” Luke 1:38).
The medal preserved in Namur, that of Julie, was given to all the Superiors General on the day of their election and until 1940 all wore it. In 1940, this precious medal was placed in safe-keeping. The medal given to Mère St. Joseph was henceforth worn. It still had the initial inscription on the reverse side, but Mère Monica in her turn had it changed as Mère Ignace had done. The third medal, was around the neck of the statue of the Virgin, on the side altar of the church in the motherhouse; it was not found in the ruins left by the Second World War.