Rivier, Marie-Anne, Bl.

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RIVIER, MARIE-ANNE, BL.

Also known as Anne-Marie or Marinette, foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary; b. Dec. 19, 1768, Montpezat-sous-Bauzon, France; d. Feb. 3, 1838, Bourg-Saint-Andéol, Diocese of Viviers, France; beatified by Pope John Paul II, May 23, 1982.

Marie-Anne Rivier, who had been crippled by a fall as a toddler, was miraculously healed through the faith of her mother and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1774).

By age 18, Rivier had opened a parish school, tended abandoned children, and engaged in evangelization. After the outbreak of the French Revolution, Rivier organized secret assemblies on Sundays.

On Nov. 21, 1796, the feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, when the French Revolution was dissolving existing congregations, Rivier and four companions founded a community in the small village of Thueyts, Ardèche, France. With the assistance of Father Pontannier, they consecrated themselves to God and to the education of youth. Neither the Reign of Terror nor the absence of human assistance prevented them from spreading and expanding their apostolate to include adult education and, in 1814, orphanages. The motherhouse was established at Bourg-Saint-Andéol (1819). At the death of Marie-Anne Rivier, who was known for her faith, expansive joy, and courage, the congregation had 141 houses.

The sisters arrived in Canada, Oct. 18, 1853, at the invitation of the first bishop of St. Hyacinthe, Jean-Charles Prince, and began their first mission in the United States at Glens Falls, New York, in 1873.

Bibliography: a.-c. pelleschi, Une parole de feu (Paris 1983). t. rey-mermet, In the Strength of Her Vision, tr. g. dansereau (Manchester, NH 1978). a. richomme, Marie Rivier (Paris 1967). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 78 (1986): 707710. L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 24 (1982): 67.

[k. i. rabenstein]

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