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Thursday 29 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany
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St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

Humble and fearless

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Foundress of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd: 1796-1868

Her life

+ Rose-Virginie Pelletier was born on the island of Noirmoutier off the coast of Brittany, where her parents had fled during the French Revolution. Following the deaths of her parents, the young Rose-Virginie was sent to live in a convent in Tours.

+ While living in Tours, she became acquainted with the Convent of Our Lady of the Refuge, a religious community founded by Saint John Eudes with the mission of helping women who were at risk of abuse and exploitation. Rose-Virginie entered the community in 1814, receiving the name “Mary of St. Euphrasia.”

+ In 1829, Mary Euphrasia was asked to open a new convent and “refuge” in Angers and she used a former convent dedicated to the Good Shepherd as the foundation of the new house. Two years later, when the house was at risk of closing, Mary Euphrasia returned to serve as superior.

+ Over the following years, new convents and refuges were opened and Mary Euphrasia saw the need to organize them in a new way. This eventually led to the establishment of a new religious community: The Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

+ Mary Euphrasia was a humble woman who could be fearless when she believed she was doing God’s will. Although she left no great spiritual writings, she believed that every person was a child of God, loved by God, and always capable of growth and conversion.

+ Saint Mary Euphrasia died from cancer on April 24, 1868, and was canonized in 1940. A statue of Saint Mary Euphrasia is enshrined in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Spiritual Bonus

The spirituality of the Sisters of the Good Shepherds is inspired by the writings and spirituality of Saint John Eudes, the 17th-century French priest who was revered for his devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.


If you always love one another, if you always uphold one another, you will be capable of working wonders!”—Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

To learn more about the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, visit:


O God, who have taught your Church to keep all the heavenly commandments by love of you as God and love of neighbor; grant that, practicing the works of charity after the example of blessed Mary Euphrasia, we may be worthy to be numbered among the blessed in your Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Those Who Practiced Works of Mercy)


Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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