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GRACE IN SUFFERING: An Experience of Oneness with Jesus Crucified Based on the Paschal Moments of St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus

Kristine Joy A. Lomeda, RA (Philippines)

Master of Arts in Theological Studies with concentration in Biblical Theology
Markus Locker, Ph.D. (Adviser)


The concept of suffering is part and parcel of humanity’s journey towards fullness of life with God. For Christians, suffering is inevitable as it is seen as one’s participation in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. It is in the knowledge that God, who knows the longing and the inner capacity of man to persevere and endure, is one with them in all the chaos and pains that life throws. In recent times, humanity continues to suffer – young and old being abused, abandoned, persecuted, families being broken or abused, races being persecuted or bullied. The world now experiences both natural and man-made calamities and on top of it, the recent pandemic that paralyzed the world. These are the many manifestations of suffering and pain in which at some point, humanity’s feeble mind can and will never understand how or why all of these have to happen. In the Bible, there are many characters who faced suffering and even questioned God why they had to suffer, however, they were not given an exact, outright answer on the question of suffering. Instead, those who suffer were made to experience the existence of a God who cares, who loves, and who is intimately united with the suffering person.

The life of St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus, the foundress of the Religious of the Assumption, is an epitome of how God has been faithful to all who call on Him. St. Marie Eugenie witnessed the many transitions and revolutions of the 19th century. She is one of those whom we can consider a modern-day saint. Though born in an affluent family in France, her own journey of suffering started at a very young age. Her moments of pain are very similar to what a typical woman of today goes through. And in the midst of her own chaos, she has that deep longing for Someone bigger and greater than her. When her own calling to religious life is born, together with it are the many pains she silently endured. Her experiences of rejections, persecutions, renunciation and of silent unspeakable pains gave God the space to work deep in her heart and being. Many years passed, God knew He won in and through St. Marie Eugenie. This young foundress was never spared from pain and suffering. She believed that only through these pains would she become more united with the Paschal Mystery of the One who chose her, who loved her, who stayed with her until the very end.

This paper titled, “Grace in Suffering: An Experience of Oneness with Jesus Crucified Based on the Paschal Moments of St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus” is a qualitative historical study. It navigates on the foundress’ own experiences of paschal moments and how all of these experiences allowed her to be in complete union with Jesus Crucified – both in her personal journey and in the journey of the Congregation. By identifying these paschal moments, St. Marie Eugenie signals a profound way of entering into one’s own suffering – that only by seeing the pain through God’s lenses, and entering deeper into the heart of God, that hope is born, endurance is strengthened, faith is lived and love becomes more encompassing. These paschal moments of St. Marie Eugenie indeed serve as an impetus for those in the Assumption and those who will read her life to grow in their deeper understanding of suffering – asking God not only to know what suffering is, but to feel it and own it. One emerges from it a better, hope-filled “Easter” person who believes that suffering does not have the final say because of Jesus’ Resurrection. “God is with us,” Emmanuel, as the Bible says – St. Marie Eugenie firmly believes this. Grace in suffering can only be understood by those who have gone through it and this same grace enables one to empathize with those who suffer. Like St. Marie Eugenie, each time one looks at the Jesus Crucified, one understands this: that it is through suffering that the works of God are born and won.

Final Defense:

12 April 2024, Friday, 10:00 a.m., Online

Board of Examiners:
1. Fr. Hartono Budi, S.J., Th.D. (Second Reader/Principal Examiner)
2. Carmen Lourdes Valdes, Ph.D.
3. Sr. Vicenta Javier, R.A., Ph.D.

Proposal Defense:

21 June 2023, Wednesday, 3:00-4:15pm, Online via Zoom

Board of Examiners:
1. Markus Locker, Ph.D. (Adviser)
2. Fr. Hartono Budi, S.J., Th.D.
3. Fr. Oliver Dy, S.J., S.T.D., Ph.D.

Home » Academic Programs » Theses and Dissertations » Kristine Joy A. Lomeda, RA (Philippines)
Loyola School of Theology