Poussepin, Marie, Bl.

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Foundress of Dominican Sisters of the Presentation;b. Oct. 14, 1653 near Chartres in the village of Dourdan, France; d. in Sainville, France, Jan. 24, 1744.

Marie's well-to-do middle class parents, Claude and Julienne Fourrier, were hosiers and actively engaged in the local parish and in the Confraternity of Charity dedicated to works of mercy. When her mother died in 1675, Marie assumed responsibility for looking after her younger brother and rescued the family business from bankruptcy by expanding into the manufacture of woolen stockings and introducing the latest advances in looms. She also revolutionized the work place by abolishing the customary apprenticeship fee. In addition Marie was generous to the young employees, rewarding them with bonuses and offering them opportunities for advancement.

Sometime after 1690 she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, and in 1696 she moved to Sainville, where she gathered a community of women to serve in the local parish, educating girls and ministering to the sick and poor of the area. Marie placed her sisters under the protection of Mary in the mystery of her Presentation in the Temple. They took simple vows, living according to the rule of the Third Order of St. Dominic, and they dedicated themselves to apostolic work at a time when most women religious lived a cloistered life.

When Marie died at the age of 90, the community had established 20 houses in northern France. Her tombstone bears the simple inscription: "She saw what was good in the eyes of God and accomplished it." Pope John Paul II beatified her Nov. 24, 1994.

Feast: Oct. 14 (the anniversary of her baptism).

Bibliography: b. prÉteseille, Marie Poussepin, translated from the French by m. c. vaillot (Private printing). L'Osservatore Romano, English edition (Nov. 23, 1994).

[m. w. lapointe]