Daughter of Charity (1786-1856)
+ Jeanne Marie Rendu was born in Confort, France. She was three years old when the French Revolution began and her family sheltered French priests who had chosen to remain in France despite the fierce persecution of the clergy.
+ She made her First Communion in the basement of her house during a Mass celebrated by one of these courageous priests.
+ Following the Revolution, she was educated by the Ursuline Sisters in Gex, France.
+ As a young woman, Jeanne Marie worked with the Daugthers of Charity at a local hospital. She entered the community in 1802, taking the name “Rosalie” as her religious name.
+ Following her novitiate, she was sent to the Mouffetard District, one of the poorest slums of Paris. She would spend the next 54 years serving the sick and poor in that part of the city.
+ During her decades of service, she opened a free clinic, pharmacy, school, and orphanage, as well as a youth center and a home for the elderly.
+ Blessed Rosalie Rendu died in Paris on February 7, 1856, and was beatified in 2003.
On this day, the Church also remembers Saint Chrysolius of Armenia. During the persecution of the emperor Diocletian (ca. 304), Chrysolius left Armenia and traveled to north-east France where he worked as an evangelist, proclaiming the Gospel in the area of Flanders, Belgium. According to tradition he later served as bishop of Flanders and died as a martyr.
“Her charity was inventive. Where did she draw the strength to carry out so many things? From her intense prayer life and the continuous praying of the Rosary, which she never abandoned. Her secret was simple: to see the face of Christ in every man and woman, as a true daughter of Saint Vincent de Paul.”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of Blessed Rosalie
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 Rosalie, 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.