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August 17

St Jeanne Delanoue - August 17

Saint Jeanne Delanoue
(Joan of the Cross)
Nun, Foundress
(1666 – 1736)

“I will pay you, when our Lord sends me the money; do not fear, He always pays His debts.”

Saint Jeanne Delanoue’s response to the wood merchant when she was out of wood in winter with only a penny in her house

Her Early Years

Jeanne was born at Samur, Anjou, France on June 18, 1666. She was the youngest of twelve children born to a draper father and a mother who owned and operated a religious goods store near the sanctuary of Notre-Dame-des-Ardilliers. Her father died when she was six years old. So, in order to maintain the family, Jeanne helped her mother run the shop selling religious goods, catering to pilgrims on their way to a local Blessed Virgin Mary Shrine.

Took Over the Family Business

Jeanne’s life took a significant turn when her mother passed away in 1691. Being a smart and hard-working individual, she took over the family business and managed to make it a success. Her “business” was growing and prospering. A skillful, energetic, and indefatigable businesswoman, Jeanne kept the store open even on Sundays and holydays, which was considered somewhat scandalous in 17th century France. Her early life was characterized as one of self-centeredness, pride and avarice.

Her Vision and Conversion

However, during the season of Pentecost in 1698, Jeanne experienced two profound mystical encounters that deeply impacted her perspective on life. Her first encounter was a vision while the second involved a series of pious commentaries by Frances Souchet, a widowed pilgrim from Rennes, France. She invited Jeanne to consecrate herself to the many poor people of her neighborhood.

These experiences led Jeanne to shift her focus from the comforts and successes of the material world to a more spiritual path. She made the courageous decision to close down her shop and dedicate her life to serving the poor, sick, and neglected. Within a short time no longer did the poor await her visits to them, but they came to her. In 1700, she warmly welcomed a child into her home. Soon after, Jeanne took in the sick, the aged, and the destitute. The orphans of Samur were her special concern. With the help of generous benefactors she had met through her business, Jeanne founded and furnished three orphanages.

Foundress – New Order

Within four years, in 1704, some young girls were interested in helping Jeanne and were even willing to wear a religious habit if she wished them to do so. It was thus that the congregation of St-Anne de la Providence was born. Under this name the constitutions were approved in 1709.

Her innate leadership qualities and dedication to the cause inspired others to join her. So with her young niece and two trusted members of her group Jeanne established the Sisters of St Anne of Providence of Samur in 1704. At this point, Jeanne took on the name Jeanne or Joan of the Cross. She became renowned for her miraculous healing abilities, which further enhanced her reputation as a devout and compassionate figure. Together with her companions, Jeanne or Joan of the Cross founded numerous orphanages and hospices throughout France, thereby providing care and support for the less fortunate.

In 1715, Jeanne’s tenacity, supported by the dedicated women who worked with her, brought about the foundation of Saumur’s first home for the poor – a home which King Louis XIV called for in 1672! Her charity quickly spread beyond the limits of her diocese. More than that, already there were forty helpers who were under her direction and who had made the decision to follow her example of self-sacrifice, of prayer, and of mortification.

Her Death

Joan of the Cross passed away on August 17, 1736, in Fencet, France, due to natural causes. At her death, Joan of the Cross left a dozen communities, as well as homes for the poor and schools. “The saint is dead”, they said in Saumur. By the time she died, there were 12 communities with more than 400 sisters. The Sisters of Jeanne Delanoue, as they call themselves today, work in France, Madagascar, and in Sumatra, where they began in 1979.

Although Saint Jeanne Delanoue does not have a specific patronage associated with her, her life and works continue to inspire countless individuals seeking to live a life of selflessness and service to others. Her legacy serves as a reminder of the transformative power of faith and dedication in making a positive impact on society.

Born :                   June 18, 1666 in Samur, Anjou, France

Died:                    August 17, 1736 age 70 in Fencet, France

Beatified:            November 5, 1947 by Pope Pius XII

Canonized:         October 31, 1982 by Pope John Paul II

Feast Day:          August 17

Patron Saint:     None

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Jeanne Delanoue gave up her self-centered and avaricious life to instead dedicate herself to helping others. So, rather than seeking her own comforts and riches, Saint Jeanne Delanoue focused on helping those in need, especially orphaned children, by establishing several orphanages. She went on to found the Congregation of St Anne of Providence, a group of like minded women that went on setup 12 religious houses, hospices and schools. All these events started by a chance encounter with a devout pilgrim at her shop, who invited Saint Jeanne to consecrate herself to the many poor people of her neighborhood.

Who can you invite today to consecrate herself or himself to the poor of your neighborhood? Your invitation could led to the next saint!

Prayers

Saint Jeanne Delanoue,

You who dedicated your life to serving others with humility and love as a faithful servant of God and tireless advocate for the poor, sick and orphaned, intercede for us so that we may follow your example of selflessness and compassion.

Help us to see Christ in the faces of the needy and to serve them with the same devotion and care that you showed.

Guide us in our efforts to alleviate suffering and bring hope to those in despair and grant us the grace to persevere in faith, even in the midst of trials so that through our actions, others may come to know the boundless grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saint Jeanne Delanoue, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

A Marvellous History : or, Life of Jeanne de la Noue (ebook)

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 17 August – St Jeanne Delanoue (1666-1736)

Catholic Ireland – Aug 17 – St Jeanne Delanoue (1666-1736) Founder

Catholic News World – Saint August 17 : St. Joan of the Cross – Former Business Woman who Became a Nun and Foundress of the Congregation of St Anne de la Providence – Jeanne Delanoue (1666-1736)

Daily Prayers – Jeanne Delanoue (Joan of the Cross)

Feast with the Saints – Saint Jeanne Delanoue Feast Day: August 17

Franciscan Media – Saint Veronica Giuliani

Independent Catholic News – Saint Jeanne Delanoue

Melanie Rigney – Jeanne Delanoue

Missionary Society of St. Columbans – Saint Jeanne Delanoue

Prayers4reparation – A Short Biography of St Jeanne Delanoue

Saints, Feast, Family – The Story of Saint Joan of the Cross

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Veronica Giuliani (1660-1727)

Video Link

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint Joan of the Cross – YouTube (CatholicSaints.Info)