Xainctonge, Anne de, ven.
XAINCTONGE, ANNE DE, VEN.
Foundress of the Society of St. Ursula of the Blessed Virgin; b. Dijon, France, Nov. 21, 1567; d. Dô1e, June 8, 1621. Her father, Jean, gave her an education usually reserved for the son of such a brilliant lawyer. The Xainctonge home adjoined the Jesuit College of Godran, and Anne yearned to provide girls with a training similar to the Jesuits' for boys. While teaching catechism and supplementing the inadequate lessons of Dijon's "dame schools," Anne gradually recognized clearly her vocation: to establish a religious community of women dedicated to the apostolate of education, "embracing rich and poor with the same love," consecrated by vows but not living in the cloister—a revolutionary ambition bitterly opposed by family, friends, and clergy. A decade of misunderstanding, persecution, and lonely struggle bore fruit on June 16, 1606, when with three companions she founded in Dôle the Society of St. Ursula, the first noncloistered teaching congregation. At her death there were six foundations in eastern France and Switzerland. In 1964 Anne de Xainctonge's daughters were continuing the formation of youth in Europe, Africa, and America, still inspired by the spirit of their foundress, who was declared venerable in 1900.
Bibliography: m. t. breslin, Anne de Xainctonge, Her Life and Spirituality (Kingston, NY 1957). s. r. marie celestine, Review for Religious 17 (1958) 201–210.
[m. t. breslin]