Saint of the Day

April 24: Blessed Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

If you enjoy this daily blog of lesser-known saints, see my book, which contains short biographies of saints for every day of the year.

Rose Pelletier was born in 1796 into a faithful French family; she became a religious sister in an order which cared for what used to be known as “fallen” women. That is, women who were poor, orphaned, and/or who had fallen into a life of prostitution. Such women had few options to leave their difficult lives.

The homes run by the sisters gave these women shelter, training, and, most importantly, faith. Rose, now known as Mother Mary Euphrasia, was only twenty-nine years old when she was sent to open a new home for her congregation. The establishment of a new house of refuge was very successful under her direction, but when it was time for her to leave, she realized that her order had a serious problem: it needed a stronger and better organized central government, rather than each house being subject to its own rules, without consistent training of novices or clear guidelines about jurisdiction. Convincing other members of the order, as well as negotiating with bishops and priests over who had authority over what, was a lifetime of work for Mother Mary Euphrasia, and she virtually created a new institute. Complaints about her being too innovative, impatient, or disrespectful of proper authority were balanced by the obvious good fruits that resulted from her changes, as the congregation expanded to accept more vocations and serve more women. She died in 1868.

Saint Mary Euphrasia, show me how to best serve those in need around me.