Daughter of Rainiandriantsilavo and Rambahinoro. Raised by her paternal uncle, Rainimaharavo, the commander-in-chief of the Malagasy army, the girl grew up in the animist faith of her ancestors. She began attending a Catholic school at age 13 and was immediately drawn to the faith. A convert, baptized on 1 November 1863, taking the name Victoire. A change in the national politics led to antipathy to the French and to Catholics; Victoire’s family, being part of the ruling class, put her in a Protestant school and threatened to make her an outcast if she held to her new faith, but she would not change. Victoire felt drawn to religious life, but her family arranged a marriage for her to Ratsimatahodriaka, a cousin and leading figure in the military; they were wed on 13 May 1864. Her new husband was a violent, womanizing drunk, and all of Victoire’s friends urged her to divorce him; she refused, saying that marriage was a sacrament and could not be broken, and instead she prayed for his conversion.
In 1883 the political situation in Madagascar turned forcefully against the French. All foreign missionaries, which included all priests, were ordered out of the country; Catholic schools and churches were ordered closed, Catholic gatherings were outlawed, and all Catholics were ordered to renouce the Church or be considered traitors. The faithful ignored the orders, held prayer services in boarded up churches, catechized new converts, and did it all peacefully and without a priesthood. Victoire helped lead and support the movement, keeping schools open, sometimes being the first into a church, shaming the police guards into letting the Christians enter. During 1885 peace was established between France and Madagascar, and on 7 March 1886 the missionaries were allowed to return; they found the faith alive and growing.
Victoire was widowed in in 14 March 1888, her husband asking forgiveness and being baptized on his death bed. She devoted the rest of her life to caring for the poor, the sick and the imprisoned, with all her free time spent in prayer.
- “Blessed Victoire Rasoamanarivo“. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 April 2015. Web. 5 July 2015. <>