Skip to main content

Bichier des Ages, Jeanne Élisabeth, St.


Cofoundress of the Daughters of the Holy Cross of St. Andrew; b. Le Blanc, near Poitiers, France, July 5, 1773; d. Paris, Aug. 26, 1838. She was the daughter of a public official and was educated at Poitiers. Her early spiritual formation was influenced by an uncle, Abbé de Moussac. After her father's death (1792), she successfully conducted a protracted lawsuit with the revolutionary government to save the family property from confiscation. With her mother she settled at La Guimetière, near Bethines, Poitou, and followed a regular routine of prayer and good works.

Jeanne became the center of the local resistance to the Constitutional clergy. In 1797 she met St. André fournet, a priest of nearby Maillé, who had continued his pastoral labors despite his refusal to take the oath supporting the civil constitution of the clergy. Fournet became her spiritual director and advised against her emigration to join the Trappistines. After her mother's death (1804), Jeanne wore peasant clothing and gathered others to aid in her works. When Fournet presented her with a plan to establish a religious congregation to care for the sick and to educate the poor of the district, Jeanne entered the novitiate of the Carmelites at Poitiers to prepare for her superiorship. In 1805 Jeanne and five companions began the first community at La Guimetière. It moved closer to Maillé in 1806, and in 1811 to Rochefort. Jeanne made her religious profession in 1807. The bishop of Poitiers approved the community in 1816 as the Daughters of the Holy Cross of St. Andrew. "La Bonne Soeur," as she was popularly known, guided the new community through rapid growth, despite some misunderstanding with Fournet. By 1820 there were 13 convents, and by 1830 more than 30. When a convent was opened in the Basque country at Ignon, Jeanne came to know St. Michael garicoÏts, who became spiritual director of the congregation after Fournet's death in 1834. Jeanne traveled frequently to establish new houses and to carry out her tasks as superior general, but ill health forced her to curtail her activity and to retire to Paris after 1834. She was beatified on May 13, 1934 and canonized with Michael Garicoïts on July 6, 1947.

Feast: Aug. 26.

Bibliography: g. barra, Vive ancora; biografia di sant' Elisabetta Bichier des Ages (Turin 1961). j. saubat, Élisabeth Bichier des Ages (Paris 1942). PIUS XII, "Plus d'une fois" (Allocution, July 7, 1947). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 39 (1947) 401408. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 3:410413.

[t. p. joyce]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bichier des Ages, Jeanne Élisabeth, St.." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 22 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Bichier des Ages, Jeanne Élisabeth, St.." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (March 22, 2019).

"Bichier des Ages, Jeanne Élisabeth, St.." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.