- Jeanne Marie Rendu
Eldest of four daughters in a middle class mountain family. When she was three years old, the French Revolution broke out. Priests loyal to Rome were expelled, killed, or chased into hiding. Jeanne’s family hid those who stayed to minister to French Catholics, claiming that they were hired farm hands; the girl made her First Communion in her basement at a Mass celebrated by one of these covert priests. Her father died on 12 May 1796 when Jean Marie was nine years old, and her baby sister a few months later. She was educated for two years at an Ursuline boarding school in Gex, France.
As a young girl, Jean Marie began working with the Daughters of Charity at the local hospital. On 25 May 1802, at age 16, she entered the congregation at the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris, France, taking the name Rosalie. The intensity of her new devotional life harmed her health, and she was transferred to the house in the Mouffetard District, one of the poorest in 19th century Paris; she worked in the slum for 54 years. She worked with the sick and poor, taught catechism, and taught girls to read. Superior of her community in 1815. She started a free clinic, pharmacy, school, orphanage, child-care center, youth club for young workers, and a home for the elderly poor. Awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honour by Napoleon III in 1852 for her charitable work; she wanted to refuse, as she sought no personal honour, but was ordered by her superiors to accept it. Blind during the last two years of her life.
Never have I prayed so well as in the streets. – Blessed Rosalie, talking about her work with the poor
In an era troubled by social conflicts, Rosalie Rendu joyfully became a servant to the poorest, restoring dignity to each one by means of material help, education and the teaching of the Christian mystery, inducing Frédéric Ozanam to place himself at the service of the poor. Her charity was inventive. Where did she draw the strength to carry out so many things? From her intense prayer life and the continuous praying of the Rosary, which she never abandoned. Her secret was simple: to see the face of Christ in every man and woman, as a true daughter of Saint Vincent de Paul and like another Sister of her epoch, Saint Catherine Labouré. Let us give thanks for the witness of charity that the Vincentian family gives unceasingly to the world! – Pope John Paul II at the beatification of Blessed Rosalie
- “Blessed Rosalie Rendu“. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 February 2016. Web. 24 October 2016. <>