St. Jeanne Elizabeth des Bichier des Anges
Feast date: Aug 26
St. Jeanne was born July 1773 at La Blanc, France and died August 26, 1838. She was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII.
Born to nobility and educated in a convent school, Jeanne Elizabeth witnessed closely and was personally affected by the events of the French Revolution which shook France when she was just 16 years old.
Upon the death of her father, she moved to La Guimetiere with her mother, and in 1796, realizing that she needed to do something to defend the Church and keep the faith alive amidst the attacks of the revolutionaries, she decided to begin a ministry of teaching and serving the poor.
She gathered groups of faithful in the town – which was at this point without a priest or community of religious – and organized meetings of prayer, studying of the Scriptures, and singing hymns.
She entered a Carmelite convent upon her mother’s death in 1804, and later the Society of Providence, with the advice of Saint Andrew Fournet, an underground priest who was forced to remain clandestine because he refused to make a pledge of allegiance to the government of the new republic.
He realized that she was the one God had called to lead a community of women he had gathered, and she cofounded the Daughters of the Cross with him in 1807 to care for the sick and poor, and to teach the faith.
By the time of her death in 1838, the community had more than 60 houses all over France.