“I would want to have a thousand lives…”
- Marie Rivier-

 

From the moment Marie Rivier dreamt of her “school and convent” she was aware that she wanted to live this mission in community with companions. Her vision of mission was not being alone but with others. She often told her future companions, “Let us come together, and we will teach little children”. Her companions discovered their vocation through these words of the young foundress. 

While Catholic schools were closed during the French Revolution, this small woman of God founded schools and educated the faith of the children in her region of France. While she was engaged in schools teaching children, she was also giving catechism in the Parish, caring for the poor, the orphans, and the sick. She gave religious instruction to the mothers of her time! Marie Rivier was already empowering women and mothers to find their rightful place in society and in the Church. She understood that evangelization plays an integral role in the development of humanity.

 

 

The first apostolates of Marie Rivier and her companions grew and expanded and today they can be found in the different parts of the Congregation, now present in 20 countries and 127 communities. Her mission of making Jesus Christ known and loved has acquired many faces throughout the 225 years of our existence.  As long as there is a corner of the world, where Jesus Christ is neither known nor loved, the daughters of the Woman-Apostle cannot be at rest.

Her apostolic fire spread beyond her wildest imagination in 18th century France. When she died in 1838, this small, handicapped woman of God, Marie Rivier, had founded 149 schools in the mountainous Region of Ardèche. Her exemplary missionary commitment for the sake of the Gospel won the heart of Pope Pius IX and in 1853 he proclaimed her the Woman-Apostle.

Today the mission of the Woman-Apostle finds its full blossoming in the creativity and ingenuity of her daughters. With creative fidelity, the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary continue to make Jesus Christ known and loved, constantly adapting to the needs of the present day and yet remaining true and faithful to their Catholic heritage of Christian faith.

 

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