+ Marie-Victoire Couderc was born into a comfortable family in Le Mas, France. Although she received no formal education, she was nevertheless able to read and participate in the religious devotions popular at that time.
+ In 1825, she participated in a parish mission which inspired her to pursue her dream of religious life and she became a founding member of a community known as the Sisters of St. Regis. A short time later, she and other sisters assumed the care of a hospice for pilgrims at the shrine of Saint John Francis Regis, and Therese (as she was known in religious life) served as superior.
+ As part of their ministry, the sisters offered spiritual direction to the pilgrims and, in 1834, Therese became part of a new group of sisters solely devoted to the ministry of giving retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola. These sisters adopted a new religious habit and rule of life, becoming known as the Religious of the Cenacle.
+ In her years as the superior of the “Cenacle Sisters,” Therese was humiliated by male authorities who tried to seek control of the fledgling congregation. She was ultimately vindicated when, shortly before her death, the bishop of Viviers officially recognized her as the co-founder of the community.
+ At the end of her life, Therese suffered from acute hearing loss, arthritis, and rheumatism that left her in constant pain. United her suffering to that of the souls in purgatory, to whom she felt a strong attachment, she died on September 26, 1885. She was canonized in 1970.
“God has always given me peace of soul, the grace to leave myself in his hands and to want nothing but to love him and be ever closer to him.”—Saint Therese Couderc
To learn more about the life and ministry of the Religious of the Cenacle, visit: www.cenaclesisters.org
O God, who called blessed Thérèse to seek your Kingdom in this world through the pursuit of perfect charity, grant, we pray, through her intercession that we may advance with joyful spirit along the way of love. 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 a Religious)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.