St. Jeanne-Antide Thouret
Name: St. Jeanne-Antide Thouret
Date: 23 May
Born in the diocese of Besançon in November of 1765, Saint Joan Antide lost her piousmother when she was 16 years old, and for several years took charge of the householdand her family of younger brothers and sisters. After many hesitations, her fatherpermitted her to enter the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent dePaul in Paris in 1787.
She worked in various hospitals caring for the sick, until the Revolution in Francebrought about the dispersion of the Congregations. She was ordered to abandon herreligious habit in 1792, but refused and fled; she was struck so violently that sheremained for eight months between life and death. In 1793 she returned from Paris to hernative village of Sancey on foot, begging her bread; there she opened a school and caredfor the sick.
Times were growing ever more difficult, and Sister Thouret again had to depart, this timejourneying to Switzerland, where she assisted a French priest who had gone into exilewith a few members of his little community. Again she cared for the sick; but the entiregroup was forced to move once again and go to Germany.
After two years she went to the village of Landeron in Switzerland. There she met theVicar General of Besançon, and he asked her to found a school and a hospital in that city. In 1799 the foreseen school was opened at Besançon, and with a few novices theFoundress began work in France again.
She wrote a rule for her Daughters of Saint Vincent de Paul, as she called them todistinguish them from the larger group, the Sisters of Charity, of whom they wereindependent. The Congregation’s members multiplied, as did their works; in 1802 theywere given the direction of a house of detention at Bellevaux, sheltering more than 500prisoners. They opened schools in eastern France and Switzerland. The foundress wasinvited to go to Naples to take on the direction of a hospital and initiate other works; sheaccepted this invitation in 1810.
She remained in Naples until 1818, obtaining from Pope Pius VII the approval of herInstitute in 1819. Problems arising in Besançon caused her many sufferings, when thenew bishop there desired to maintain the Community under diocesan authority. SaintJoan Antide died in Naples in 1826, having left for her Sisters many examples of heroicvirtue. She was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI, who invited the French nation toexult with joy on seeing its crown enriched by a new flower of holiness.