Noailles, Pierre Bienvenu

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Founder of the Holy Family Sisters of Bordeaux; b. Bordeaux, France, Oct. 27, 1793; d. there, Feb. 8, 1861. After a very irreligious youth, he suddenly reformed following a visit to the Parisian church of Saint-Sulpice (1813), entered the seminary of Saint-Sulpice, and was ordained (1829). As curate in Bordeaux he took a special interest in the sick, outcasts, orphans, and peasants. To aid them he founded in 1820 the Holy Family Sisters. Until 1903, when the Holy See definitively approved the constitutions, there were seven branches of this institute, each engaged in a different type of apostolate, and bound together only by constitutions common to all of them. Since that time there have been only four branches, engaged in teaching, care of the sick, and social work, and, at one community in Bordeaux, in perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Noailles entered into an agreement with Charles Eugène de mazenod whereby the spiritual direction of the sisters was confided to the oblates of mary immaculate, whose superior general was also the head of the Holy Family Sisters (18581903). Since 1903 the sisters have had their own mother general, who resides in Talence, near Bordeaux. Despite numerous difficulties, Noailles established 124 houses. In 1961 there were 4,812 sisters, and 294 houses in 15 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America (Brazil), and North America (Canada). In 1944 the cause for Noailles's beatification was introduced in Rome.

Bibliography: j. baffie and p. ortolan, Vie de bon Père Pierre-Bienvenu Noailles, 2 v. (Bordeaux 188081). m. heimbucher, Die Orden und Kongregationen der katholischen Kirche, 2v. (3d ed. Paderborn 193234) 2:516517. c. salotti, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 36 (1944) 309212.

[j. daoust]