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 owned a
workshop for knitting silk stockings, Marie Poussepin soon developed a passion for active
Charity by accompanying her mother who was a member of the Confraternity of Charity, to visit
the poor sick people.
In 1685, open to what the future might hold, Marie transformed the traditional family workshop
of hand knitted silk stockingsinto a factory to make woollen stockings, by introducing looms.
She took on some 15-22 years 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 Country.
Dominican Sisters of the Presentation
1696 marked the point at which Marie Poussepin turned her life completely over to God and to
others. Inspired by providence, she left Dourdan, her small prosperous town 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 availablefor the
ministries in 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 theproclamation of the Word and the service
of charity must stand in direct relation to the intensity of contemplation. She asked her
community to “spread everywhere the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his mysteries”. She died in
peace on January 24th 1744 at the age of 90.
The Charism of Marie Poussepin is kept alive with the same spirit and channelled through
various ministries. United in love and strengthened by the sharing of the Word and the Bread,
the sisters are sent forth to their various ministries. Her remarkable work- a life time of
loving service – has been an inspiration for thousands of Dominican Sisters of the Presentation
during the last 324 years.At present they are in 36 countries, in four continents.
As Marie Poussepin was inspired by the spirituality of St. Dominic, it was an apostolic
Dominican community of Third Order that she intended to establish.