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Javouhey, Anne Marie, Bl.


Religious foundress; b. Jallanges (Côte-d'Or), Burgundy, France, Nov. 10, 1779; d. Paris, July 15, 1851. She was fifth of the ten children of a prosperous farmer. During the French Revolution she helped her family house many nonjuring priests, one of whom, Abbé Ballanche, encouraged her religious vocation. She spent a few months in the novitiate of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joan Antida at Besançon (1800) and in that of the Trappistines near Riédra, Switzerland (1803). In 1806 Anne and her three sisters started a school and an Association of St. Joseph in Chalon-sur-Saône after pius vii had approved their plans when he passed through the town (1805). In 1807 Anne founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny (see st. joseph sisters) to conduct schools and orphanages and to aid the sick and aged. She became superior general and pronounced her vows, together with her three sisters and five others. Soon the congregation spread to mission territories. In reply to a request from the local governor, four sisters went to the island of Réunion (then called Bourbon), to the east of Africa (1817). After starting houses in France, Anne went to Senegal, where she inaugurated a project, later abandoned, of sending Senegalese boys to France to prepare for the priesthood. At the invitation of the British government, she set up hospitals in Gambia and Sierra Leone. In 1828 she went to French Guiana, where she achieved her most remarkable success by establishing a self-supporting colony for enfranchised slaves. Visits to her foundations within France and outside it caused her to travel very frequently. She had to suffer the opposition of colonial officials. The bishop of Autun, in whose diocese the motherhouse was at first located, and other French bishops sought to remake the constitutions and to direct the work of the congregation. Because of her differences with the bishop of Autun, the local clergy in Guiana denied her the Sacraments for 20 months. After 1843 she directed the institute from Paris, where the motherhouse was established permanently in 1848. At her death the congregation had 118 houses, 700 sisters in France, and 300 more in Africa, India (from 1827), Tahiti (1844), and South America. Anne Javouhey was beatified Oct. 15, 1950.

Feast: July 15.

Bibliography: Lettres, ed. j. hÉbert and m. c. de segonzac (Paris 1994). c. c. martindale, Life of Mère Anne-Marie Javouhey (London 1953). g. d. kittler, The Woman God Loved (Garden City, N.Y. 1959). j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheueux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes (Paris 193556) 13:142162. b. a. moore, A Little Good (Melbourne 1982). j. cramblit, Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey (Northfield, Ill. 1995). j. libis, Folies douces: approches de la peinture de Marie Javouhey (Mâcon 1995).

[c. e. maguire]

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