Trichet, Marie-Louise of Jesus, Bl.

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Baptized Louise Trichet; co-foundress of the Daughters of Wisdom (La Sagesse) ; b. Poitiers, France, May 7, 1684; d. Saint Laurent sur Sèvre, Vendée, France, April 28, 1759. Trichet was the fourth of eight children of devout, bourgeois parents, who ensured that she was baptized on the day of her birth. Her family life and the Christian education that she received endowed her with virtue and an awareness of the needs of others.

At age 17, the beautiful young woman met the already-esteemed louis de montfort in the hospital of Poitiers and spontaneously offered her services, confiding to him her desire for religious life. Two years later she responded to his invitation to commit herself totally to working with the sick. Although her mother opposed her decision to follow "this mad priest," she accepted the grey religious habit and the name Sister Marie-Louise of Jesus on February 2, 1703 and began her humble duty as a nurse.

Together with de Montfort, she founded the Daughters of Wisdom, the mainspring of whose spirituality was to be Jesus, the "Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom." After de Montfort's departure, she worked alone until she met Catherine Brunet in 1714. The following year the two women, who had now been joined by two others, established the order's first community at La Rochelle (Charente) where they continued to help the children of the poor, the neglected sick (both in hospitals and homes), and others in need. The order continued to grow, and by the end of the twentieth century the Daughters of Wisdom had more than 2,361 members on five continents.

Pope John Paul II beatified her on May 16, 1993. Sister Marie-Louise of Jesus is buried next to the relics of St. Louis de Montfort in the parish church of Saint-Laurent, in Saint Laurent sur Sèvre, where both were venerated by Pope John Paul II during a visit September 19, 1996.

Feast: May 7.

Bibliography: r. laurentin, Petite vie de Marie-Louise Trichet (Paris 1993). m. t. le moign-klipffel, Les Filles de la Sagesse (Paris 1947). b. papasogli, Wisdom of the Heart: The Story of Marie Louis Trichet (Bay Shore, N.Y. 1993). m. t. pierce, Marie Louise of Jesus: De Montfort's Spiritual Daughter (Dublin 1963). a. richomme, Marie-Louise Trichet (Paris 1971).

[k. i. rabenstein]