Mother Élisabeth-Théodelinde Bourcin-Dubouché

19th century portrait of Mother Élisabeth-Théodelinde Bourcin-Dubouché, artist unknownAlso known as

  • Mère Marie-Thérèse du Cœur de Jésus
  • Mother Marie-Thérèse of the Heart of Jesus
  • Théodelinde Bourcin-Dubouché
  • Théo (her family nickname)


Daughter of Jean-Baptiste Bourcin du Bouché, Sieur du Bouchet, a senior government official, and Marie Elisabethe Carlotta Marini; Élisabeth grew up in a home that ignored religion, but she went to church for social reasons, learned the basics of the faith, and began to pray regularly. In 1833 she began studying with the painter François-Louis Dejuinne, and immediately showed great talent, skill and dedication. As her skill as an artist grew, so did her love of the faith, the sacraments, and of people around her whom she saw suffering.

In 1835, while in prayer, Theo was struck down by a sense of the love of God. Overwhelmed, she began studying the Bible, and approached her priest about the matter; he said she should discern if she had a call to religious life. On 25 February 1847, she had a vision of the face of the crucified Jesus with two drops of blood coming from His mouth. In early 1848 she sought permission from the Prioress of Carmel to create a Carmelite Third Order, regular and secular; on 6 August 1848, she formed the first community of the Sœurs de l’Adoration Réparatrice (Sisters of Adoration and Reparation). Théodelinde took the Carmelite habit on Pentecost, 27 May 1849, made her profession on 29 May, and took the name Mother Marie-Thérèse of the Heart of Jesus. She was joined by 13 sisters on 13 June 1849, and in 1850 she founded a second community in Lyon, France. By 1854 they had grown enough to take over a former Ursuline monastery in Paris. On 19 April 1855 she was received in private audience by Pope Pius IX who commended the Sisters for their work.

On 8 November 1855 Mother Marie-Thérèse was badly burned in a fire in the chapel of the Sisters; she had rushed into the building to save the Blessed Eucharist that had been reserved there. She lived and worked another eight years in terrible pain, but managed to make a start on the mother-house of the Sisters. The Sisters continue their good work today in France and Ireland, and the Cause for Canonization of Mother Marie-Thérèse has opened.




I see! I see! I see! – Mother Theo’s dying words

MLA Citation

  • “Mother Élisabeth-Théodelinde Bourcin-Dubouché“. CatholicSaints.Info. 27 March 2018. Web. 11 August 2020. <>