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Ranfaing, Elizabeth of, Ven.

RANFAING, ELIZABETH OF, VEN.

Foundress; b. Remiremont (Lorraine), Oct. 30, 1592;d. Nancy, Jan. 14, 1649. Elizabeth (Marie Elisabeth de la Croix de Jesus) had been coerced into marriage with Dubois, an aged nobleman, who treated her brutally. She was a widow, at 24. With her three daughters she opened a refuge for fallen women in Nancy in 1631. The success of this venture, one of many such houses, convinced ecclesiastics of the permanent need for this apostolate. In 1634 the Holy See approved of her congregation under the title of Our Lady of Refuge. It spread rapidly throughout France, particularly in the late 19th century. Several independent houses of refuge became members of the congregation, which had St. Ignatius as patron and the Rule of St. Augustine as a guide. The constitution provided for three types of members: those of unblemished lives, vowed specifically to serve the penitents; penitents of altered lives, equal with the first sisters but ineligible for office; and penitents proper, following the same rule but without vows. To guarantee this apostolate to the penitents, the rule specified that the third group always constitute at least two-thirds of the community.

Bibliography: h. m. boudon, Le Triomphe de la croix en la personne de la vénérable mère Marie-Élizabeth de la Croix de Jésus (Liège 1686). l. giambene, Enciclopedia Italiana di scienzi, littere ed arti, 36 v. (Rome 192939; suppl. 1938) 29:317. m. heimbucher, Die Orden und Kongregationen der katholischen Kirche, 2 v. (3d ed. Paderborn 193234) 1:650. p. hÉlyot, Histoire des ordres monastiques, 8 v. (Paris 171419) 4:344361. g. allemang, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 3:818.

[c. lynch]

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