Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin
Born in Dourdan, France on October 14th 1653 into a hard-working Christian Family that specified in making silk stockings, she soon developed a passion for active Charity by accompanying her mother to visit poor sick people with the Confraternity of Charity.
In 1685, open to what the future might hold, Marie transformed the family business into a craft shop for the manufacture of woolen stockings. She took on some 15-25 year old apprentices and exercised an educational and social role over them that was ahead of its time: abolition of apprentice-tax, bonus for productivity, promotion for good work. This “industrial revolution” assured the rapid economic expansion of the town.
1696 marked the point at which she turned her life completely over to God and to others. Inspired by providence, she left Dourdan, a small prosperous town where she was born, to go and live in the humble village of Sainville which was ravaged by war, famine, epidemics and ignorance. In Sainville she “found a community of the Third Order of St. Dominic to be of use to the Parish, to instruct young girls and be of service to those in the country regions who are poor and sick” She placed her Sisters under the protection of Mary in the Mystery of her Presentation in the Temple. She taught that the service of charity must stand in direct relation to intensity of contemplation and proclamation of the Word. She asked her community to “spread everywhere knowledge of Jesus Christ and his mysteries”. She died in peace on January 24th 1744 at the age of 90, leaving the Church with its first Dominican Sister of Charity.
Her remarkable work- a life time of loving service – has been an inspiration for thousands of Dominican Sisters of the Presentation throughout the World in 36 countries during last 324 years.
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