Edifying woman for our time: Madame Lefebvre

April 02, 2014
Source: District of the USA

Have you ever read the inspiring story of Madam Gabrielle Lefebvre, 20th century Catholic wife and mother? Read some excepts from Fr. Le Crom's book about the mother of Archbishop Lefebvre.

In connection with our news from last week, Defeminization of women continues, we offer some extracts from a recent Angelus Press blog post that features excerpts from Fr. Le Crom's book, The Life of Gabrielle Lefebvre, the mother of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

A Catholic wife and mother of the 20th century, Madam Lefebvre serves as an excellent example of valiant womanhood to Catholic women of the 21st century, who are beset by many problems of the modern world—which she herself (in union with her husband) had to navigate through.

Excerpts from The Life of Gabrielle Lefebvre

Early married life

As Gabrielle neared the age of 18 she began to consider in which direction her vocation lay. She had spiritual aspirations which began to disturb her father who, in spite of a lively faith, was opposed to her entering a convent.

Her studies finished when she reached the age of 20, and it was time to decide her future. The sisters at her school had thought for a long time that she was called to the religious life, and she herself reflected on it. Prayers were said, conferences were held, the will of God was sought.

She visited Msgr. Fichaux who was her spiritual director, and his response was clear. She ought to stay in the world and have a family. In this way only would she do the will of God. In submitting to this direction, which she considered to be binding, Gabrielle kept, for a time at least, a certain nostalgia for the religious life. From then on, her prayers were to ask God for a husband who would be a devout Catholic...


In this way Gabrielle and Rene met and became engaged. The engagement, however, did not bring the hoped-for peace to Gabrielle, who felt her heart divided and feared lest she was robbing Our Lord of herself. The young woman saw in human love a barrier to her desire for perfection. Nevertheless, on April 16, 1902, Gabrielle Watine married Rene Lefebvre. It is said that on this day Gabrielle cried...


With the birth of their first child, Madame Lefebvre became aware of her responsibilities as a mother. To form the soul of the infant that God had given to her, to give it the right direction and to sanctify it, seemed to her beyond her strength...


There is no life of togetherness without trials, and this marriage, apparently so perfect, was no exception. It was for both husband and wife an opportunity to practice the greatest perfection. In spite of differences of temperament, these two souls, united in Christ, loved each other deeply. One of the children later described her parents as “two choice jewels, very distinct one from the other, made to perfect each other.”


Madame Lefebvre took the education of her children seriously. She wrote to her Aunt Bernardine:

I continue to ask for prayers for guidance in this very important matter of education, because it is by sanctifying myself that I will obtain, above all, the graces to sanctify my children, and I swear to you, dear Aunt, that I prefer the readings which nourish me to those which explain how to give the food of piety to children. Education—above all, maternal education—is in fact much more of an outpouring of the soul than a syllabus for a teacher."

Get the book: The Life of Gabrielle Lefebvre>

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