“Something which existed since the beginning,
that we have heard,
and we have seen with our own eyes,
and touched with our hands:
the Word, who is life – this is our subject” (1 Jn 1, 1).
From the beginning of time
God’s love was present
in the creating, redeeming and sanctifying Word.
In the fullness of time
God’s love became present
in the person of Jesus, the Incarnate Word,
who was sent to dwell among us.
He proclaimed that the reign of God is in our midst.
Out of love for us
he lived a human life,
he accepted suffering and death,
and he rose from death to life.
Jesus gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit
as the fulfillment of the promise of his Father.
Filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit we are empowered to build up the Body of Christ.
Made one in the Spirit of Jesus,
the Church extends the mystery of the incarnation,
in Word and Sacrament,
by sharing in the life and mission of Jesus:
living a human life like his,
accepting suffering and death with him,
and being raised with him to newness of life.
It is this mystery of the Church’s life of faith
that inspired the life of Jeanne Chézard de Matel
in the seventeenth century, in France.
She experienced in a unique way
that the incarnation continues in each of us.
Jeanne was called by God to found an Order
that would be dedicated to walking the Way of Jesus,
Word made Flesh,
and to proclaiming God’s presence
by being a gospel of love.
Jeanne celebrated God’s presence
in a special way
in the Word and in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
She yearned to manifest that presence
by allowing the Lord
to make of her life
a word and sacrament of love.
Jeanne invited others to join her
in the mission of being messengers of the grace of the gospel
of love and goodness,
in the tradition of Mary Magdalene,
the Samaritan woman,
and other women disciples of the Lord.
The same spirit and vision
that gave direction to the life of Jeanne Chézard de Matel
has continued to inspire women of faith from many nations
to be visible signs of God’s presence in the world
through a life
of contemplation, community, and service.
In 1853 a group of women,
having heard God’s call to proclaim the Gospel to all nations,
left France, filled with missionary zeal,
and founded the first American congregation of the Incarnate Word
in Brownsville, Texas.
In 1896, inspired by Jeanne’s vision
that the Order would “extend the incarnation”
and manifest Christ again to the world,
women from Brownsville
entered Central America
and established the first Mexican community
in Villahermosa, Tabasco.
In 1926, seven spirit-filled women,
Sisters Baptist, Brendan, Thomas, Thecla,
Columba, Gabriel and Raphael,
carried with them, from Gomez Palacio, in the state of Durango Mexico,
to Cleveland, Ohio,
the charism and spirit of Jeanne Chézard de Matel
and the Order of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament.
Our Cleveland Congregation
is a community of women,
centered in the person of Jesus,
faithfully sharing the tradition that has been passed on to us.
We witness that God’s reign is in our midst
by walking in the Spirit of Jesus:
patient in suffering,
longing for truth and justice,
We “extend the mystery of the incarnation,”
in Word and Sacrament,
by sharing in the life and mission of Jesus.
Out of love for others
we live a human life like his,
accept suffering and death in union with him,
and are raised with him from death to life.