The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Jeanne Antida Thouret

Saint Jeanne Antide ThouretArticle

The life of the Sister of Charity, Venerable Jeanne Antida Thouret, brings us into the midst of the distressful times of the Revolution. Her parents were plain country-folk of Sancy-le-Long in Burgundy, where she was born on 27 November 1765. Since her mother died early, Jeanne had to attend to the housekeeping and to take the place of a mother to her seven brothers. A servant-girl of the house, who endeavored to corrupt her, threatened to become a dangerous enemy for Jeanne, but it proved only an occasion of making her more diligent in her practices of piety and finally of taking a vow of chastity. When her brothers were in turn obliged to enter the army, Jeanne never failed to give them salutary warning of the dangers that threatened them both in body and in soul. It cost her a hard struggle before she obtained her father’s consent to become a Sister of Charity. She left home during the night, because otherwise the whole village, where she was greatly loved and esteemed, would be aroused against her departure. She hastened to Paris and entered the mother-house of the Vincentian Sisters.

But she could not long practise her unselfish vocation here. When the revolutionaries invaded the hospital to force upon the Sisters the oath of the Constitution, Jeanne was seriously wounded in trying to escape. Matters soon grew worse and the innocent Sisters were violently expelled from their convents. Our heroine at last found safe asylum at Freiburg in Switzerland. After a pilgrimage to Einsiedeln to pray for enlightenment she accepted a post as teacher in the Swiss village of Landeron. As soon as things began to change for the better in France she betook herself to Besan^on in 1799 and gathered together some associates for the practice of works of charity. They observed the rules of Saint Vincent de Paul. The new institute soon acquired a high reputation. When Napoleon called a meeting at Paris for the reorganization of the various houses of the Sisters of Charity, Mother Thouret, supported by Cardinal Fesch and by Laetitia, the mother of Napoleon, was successful in having her plans carried out. King Joachim Murat also desired the Sisters of Charity of Besan&ccedi;on for his kingdom, so Mother Thouret went to Naples with some Sisters in 1810 to establish there a home for the Congregation. Soon after she went to Rome and obtained the Papal approbation of her institute. But at this time the Sisters at Besançon, instigated by a priest, refused obedience and the bishop, not desiring the Sisters to become directly subject to Rome, took their part. Thus Mother Thouret had the grief of seeing her first foundation in France desert her. But she labored all the more zealously to establish her new work in Naples. Here she died in the repute of great sanctity on 25 August 1826.

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Venerable Jeanne Antida Thouret”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 March 2018. Web. 21 September 2018. <>