de Meester, Marie Louise, Mother
DE MEESTER, MARIE LOUISE, MOTHER
Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of St. Augustine; b. Roulers, Belgium, April 8, 1857; d. Heverle, Belgium, Oct. 10, 1928. Her desire to devote herself to the conversion of the heathen became a reality when she was sent to Travancore, India, in 1897. While wishing to extend her missionary activities beyond a single country, she was unable to recruit for her new community, the Missionary Sisters of St. Augustine, until a novitiate was established in Belgium in 1908. In 1910 Pius X authorized her to found missions in the Philippines, and Belgian Redemptorist Fathers in the Caribbean requested two foundations in the Virgin Islands also. In the U.S., where she obtained the assistance of Abp. Denis Dougherty of Philadelphia, Pa., she opened (1919) the congregation's first American house in New York City. This foundation later served as a procuratorial center for the Caribbean missions. After returning to Belgium in October 1919, she accepted further missions in the Congo and China and also directed the construction of a new motherhouse in Heverle, near the University of Louvain, Belgium. Her international apostolate was carried on by her congregation in nine countries. In the U.S. the novitiate for the Missionary Sisters of St. Augustine was established at Mount St. Augustine, Albany, N.Y.