The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Caroline Barbara Carré de Malberg

Venerable Carla Barbara Colchen Carré de MalbergArticle

Rapid progress has been made in the process of the Venerable Caroline Barbara Carre de Malberg, who died at Lorry, near Metz, on 28 January 1891. She was born on 8 April 1829, the daughter of Francis Colchen, a wine-merchant of Metz, and received in her family and in the convent of the Sisters of the Visitation a truly Christian education. At sixteen she had finished her studies and showed a seriousness of character unusual at this age. She heard Mass daily, communicated often during the week and was a stranger to worldly amusements. She endeavored to influence her girl friends in the same direction. So people were somewhat surprised when Caroline at twenty married her cousin, Captain Paul Carré, especially since the latter did not attend to his religious duties. But she did this in compliance with the wishes of her parents, at the advice of her confessor and, as she herself said, in the hope of winning her cousin to God.

But she had to make many sacrifices to win that soul. First of all the captain turned a deaf ear to all the prayers of his wife. Then he was a rough soldier, impetuous, and careless. Since Caroline in many things could not conform to his views, he began to treat her as uncultured and narrow. He made no concealment of this before others and censured her in their presence. This caused his delicately sensitive wife the bitterest pain. Yet she held her peace and prayed and showed her husband only the greater love and affection. This conquered the soldier’s heart and in the year 1852 men saw the captain again making his Easter duties in Metz. He had not been freed from all his faults of character, it is true, and in the future he gave his wife many occasions of humiliation and opportunity for self-conquest, but from this time he remained loyal to his Faith.

Madame Carre was above all a genuinely Christian mother, leaving nothing undone to plant the love of virtue deep in the hearts of her children. Unfortunately they all died in childhood save one son, and he only reached the age of twenty-nine. But he proved worthy of his mother. He was an army officer and used to profess his Faith openly as such. For example, he would take part in the Corpus Christi procession in his uniform and when in his last sickness he was about to receive the Last Sacraments, he desired his comrades to come and see how a Christian officer dies. The Servant of God was filled with the spirit of faith, and the power of the supernatural was never a doubtful thing with her. When, for instance, she came home after Holy Communion, she kissed her children so that Our Lord dwelling in her might bless them. Her social position made it incumbent upon her to pay and receive many visits and to take part in many worldly festivals and amusements in company with her husband. On such occasions everyone was edified by her great modesty and simplicity and her efforts to infuse piety and religion into the conversation, thus to benefit souls.

Her spirit of apostleship led her to institute a work which enabled her to scatter blessings everywhere. With the aid of a zealous priest, the Abbe Chaumont, she founded at Paris in 1872 a religious league of pious ladies of the world called the Daughters of Saint Francis of Sales. The aim of the association was twofold; viz., the sanctification of one’s self, and the salvation of others. It proposed to lead women to perfection in their station in the world according to the principles laid down by Saint Francis in his “Philothea.” The members were to make it their duty to see that religion be better practised in their families and social circles and that, to this end, they should undertake the formation of good governesses. Finally they were to afford practical support to the conversion of women of the heathen. The league won great approval and to-day is spread over many lands, some of its members working with great success as catechists among Mohammedans and the heathen. Canonical approval of the Society was obtained in 1901. In 1906 it numbered as many as eight thousand members.

Pius X, in a document dated April 13, 1910, gave it the highest praise and expressed his joy at its continual growth. Madame Carre remained directress-general until her death. The position involved a great deal of labor, for evidently she never permitted it to interfere in the least with her duties toward her husband. The care of the association really increased her charity and devotion to God and it was her example that attracted others to it and enkindled their zeal.

Deeply revered and greatly mourned by all, she died on 28 January 1891, in her native place, whither she had returned to seek restoration of her health. Her body rests in Lorry, near Metz. Veneration for her grows from year to year and, on 23 June 1909, the cause of her beatification was introduced.

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Venerable Caroline Barbara Carr£ de Malberg”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 September 2018. Web. 23 January 2019. <>