The Congregation of Jesus and Mary was founded by Claudine Thevenet at Lyons, France in 1818. Claudine lived through the horrors of the French Revolution. Her work was born in a heart crushed by the pain of personal tragedy during this time. Her brothers were shot dead in her presence and their request to forgive the perpetrators of the crime, left an indelible mark on her young mind. Claudine was then 19 years of age and this event was a decisive turning point in her life.
God works in such wondrous ways to realize His designs. Claudine concluded that in all the violence she witnessed, there was more ignorance than malice. The thought of those who lived and died without knowing God, haunted her and caused her anguish. Far from closing in upon herself in suffering, she opened her heart to the miseries surrounding her.
Led by the Spirit, Claudine first opened her door to welcome two orphans – a door which would never close. Many young people would later cross the threshold of Houses founded throughout the world. Her response to the call of God took form in the total commitment of herself to the following of Christ. A Religious Family was born in the Church… Thus “Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary”. Claudine's Ideal was to make God known and loved by means of Christian Education in all social milieu. This ideal remains the aim of the Congregation with the preference, inherited from the Foundress, for the Young and among them for the Poor. Claudine died on 3 February 1837 and her last words were.”HOW GOOD GOD IS”, words which have resounded down the years in the hearts and lives of her Sisters living her Charism.
Claudine wished to form……
- Women of Faith in God, in themselves and in others;
- Women who would live their lives in the light of Faith.
- Women capable of being good Wives and Mothers, and of creating happy Homes.
- Women, whose very Presence anywhere would exude Goodness and touch other lives.
- Women capable of earning a living by their honest work.
Her desire for her Religious and Lay Collaborators was that they be…
- Living Witness in their own lives of the values they teach.
- Completely given to the young and be Real Mothers to them.
- Have foresight and thoroughness in preparing and carrying out their duties.
- Impartial in their dealings with the children.
- Have a great simplicity in doing all things to please God.
- Courteous, and without any affectation, in their manner, tone of voice, deportment
- Orderly in their work and in their personal appearance and without pretence.
CLAUDINE’S PEDAGOGY was one of Love… A love that she drew from the heart of Jesus pierced on the cross for the salvation of all men. Different social structures and environments require new forms of presence and make new demands on our creativity, but today, as in the times of Claudine Thevenet, the work of Education in Love, remains the best reform we can offer. The finest methods affect nothing without love. Claudine wanted her Sisters to go out to others with a heart of a Mother; with a heart that can love all.
To form good persons, excellent teachers and exemplary mothers,
educating for love and through love.
To make God known and loved through Christian Education.
PRAISED FOREVER BE JESUS AND MARY