(Pauline Jeuris - Belgian - 28 years old)
She was born on 28 December 1872 at Herk-la-Ville,
in Belgium. Daughter of simple parents and courageous
Christians who worked hard to bring up a boy and six girls of whom four dedicated themselves to God.
At seven years of age she lost her mother and her father was obliged to leave for a neighbouring village. There, a woman took the two youngest girls to her home and Pauline found affection and protection in this home. Affectionate and gay, the child very soon won the hearts of her protectors.
At fifteen she entered the Secular Third Order of St Francis of Assisi. Her sister Rosalie was the first to enter the novitiate of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Antwerp where she received the name of Marie Honorine. It was only after the departure of Marie Honorine for Sri Lanka that Pauline decided to enter the novitiate, followed by her sister Mathilde.
Marie Amandine was simple, joyful, generous, truly Franciscan. Her good humour and easily relationships attracted and created around her a homely atmosphere of joyous serenity.
She was first sent to Marseilles to be trained in the service of the sick in the future hospital of Taiyuanfu. From there she left for the mission. The boat passed through Sri Lanka and its port, Colombo where she had the joy of meeting her sister Marie Honorine. The joy was mutual and then there was the 'good-bye': «Good-bye … till heaven!».
In the mission she gave the best of herself to the dispensary. She describes her task in these words to her superior general: «There are two hundred orphans, among whom are many sick ones whom we care for as best we can. The sick from outside also come to be cared for. If you saw these patients, you would be horrified.You can't imagine their wounds, aggravated by a lack of hygiene. How fortunate I am to have learned a little of everything in Marseilles. I do all I can to relieve them.»
In fact, the task was enormous: a life of sacrifice without a break, accepted with joyful endurance. "Sister Amandine is, by age and by nature, the youngest among us", wrote Marie Hermine. "She sings and laughs all day. That is not bad; on the contrary. The cross of a missionary must be borne joyfully". The Chinese called her "The European sister who is always laughing".
She passed nights and days watching over and caring for Marie de Sainte Nathalie during her illness, and continued her usual work with the sick, so much so that in the end she fell seriously ill … There are no great means, but little by little her robust nature overcame everything … She resumed her service. In one of her last letters, Marie Hermine relates: «Marie Amandine said this morning that she was praying to God not to preserve the martyrs but to strengthen them.» And in fact, she herself continued to prepare remedies, singing as usual. Her joy was the admiration of those who were imprisoned with her.
Certainly, she to whom God had given Franciscan joy, will have sung the "Te Deum" till the end, that hymn of praise of the Lord God, "Total Good, Unique Good, all Good" according to the prayer of Francis of Assisi.