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St. Marie de la Croix

3. March 2010

Canonized by Pope Benedict on Oct 11, the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, lived a truly inspiring life of humility and dedication.

Jeanne was a poor fisherman’s daughter, born at Cancale in Brittany on October 25, 1792, during the French Revolution. Her parish priest, who had conformed to the Revolutionary regime, left the village within a few years. Women kept the faith alive through private instruction. They defiantly continued their pilgrimages to pray for the safety of their men at sea. After Napoleon made peace with the Church in 1802, Mass returned and Jeanne was able to receive the sacraments.

Jeanne’s father drowned before she was four years old. Her mother scrabbled hard to keep her four children alive. Breton women were famously hardy and used to giving each other mutual support. Jeanne did her part by watching cows, spinning, and knitting. By age 15, she went out to work as a kitchen maid at a country estate. The kindly lady of the manor took Jeanne along when distributing food to the poor. This apprenticeship in discreet giving would prove invaluable to her in later years. read more

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