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Marie-Euphrasie Pelletier

(1796—1868)


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St John Eudes (1601—1680)

 

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(1796–1868),

foundress of the Good Shepherd nuns. Born on the island of Noirmoutier, where her parents had taken refuge after the war of La Vendée, she went to school at Tours and joined there the convent of Refuge founded by St Jean Eudes for the rescue and protection of women in moral danger. This was in 1814, and in 1825 (aged twenty-nine) she became superior and founded a new house at Angers. This was at the bishop's invitation in 1829. After some years this developed into a new Congregation with one novitiate and one superior-general who could move subjects from one house to another independently of the local bishop. These houses numbered over 100 in 1868, with 2,760 nuns. In 1831 she had founded a contemplative community for women which complemented the active commitment of her other nuns to social work. In all her activities she aimed at providing compassion and solicitude like those of Christ, the Good Shepherd, to the nuns, penitents, and young girls in family difficulties under her care. Strength and cheerfulness under accusations of rashness and ambition were matched by a deep love for her nuns: ‘I love them’ she said, ‘more than life itself.’ She was canonized in 1940. Feast: 24 April.

Lives by G. Bernoville (1946) and G. F. Powers (1940); see also H.S.S.C., x. 197–8.

Subjects: Christianity.


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