St. Jeanne Elizabeth des Bichier des Anges was born at La Blanc, France, in 1773. She was a member of a noble family, and studied in a convent school. When she was just 16 years old, she lived through the French Revolution and was deeply affected by the events.
After her father’s death, Jeanne and her mother moved in La Guimetiere, and in 1796, Jeanne vowed to keep the faith alive amidst the attacks from revolutionaries of the time. She began a ministry of teaching and serving the poor, gathering groups of faithful in her town, which at that point had no priests or religious communities. Jeanne organized prayer meetings and bible studies.
When her mother died, Jeanne entered a convent in 1804, and later joined the Society of Providence under the advice of St. Andrew Fournet, an underground priest who had refused to swear allegiance to the government of the new republic. Fournet recognized Jeanne as the one God had called to lead a community of women he had gathered.
In 1807, Jeanne co-founded the Daughters of the Cross with him, to care for the sick and the poor and to teach the faith. By the time of her death on August 26, 1838, the community had over 60 houses across France.
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