Daughters at beatification
BEATIFIED Sr Rosalie Rendu
Two Australian Daughters of Charity, Sr Rosalie Griffin and Sr Angela Francis, travelled to Rome to represent their province when Pope John Paul II beatified Rosalie Rendu during Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Sunday.
Sr Rosalie Rendu was an important figure in the formation of the St Vincent de Paul Society and holds a special place for the Daughters of Charity around the world.
She was born Jeanne-Marie Rendu at Confort, in France, in 1786, and was the eldest of four girls.
Her father died when she was nine.
During the French Revolution her family risked their safety by making their home a refuge for priests. One of them was the Bishop of Annecy, who became her friend and mentor.
From an early age Jeanne-Marie cared for the sick and needy who called at the family home.
She was educated for two years at an Ursuline boarding school in the town of Gex, and, with her mother’s consent, she was able to spend some time at a Gex hospital where the Daughters of Charity cared for the sick.
Jeanne-Marie asked to be allowed to enter the Company of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.
She was nearly 17 when she arrived at the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in rue du Vieux Colombier in May 1802.
Five years later, as Sr Rosalie, she made vows for the first time to serve God and the poor.
It was as a Daughter of Charity that she became known as the “good mother of all” who showed charity to the poor and the rich.
Sr Rosalie gave direction to Frederic Ozanam and his companions when they began the first conference of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. She gave them addresses of people to visit, and also helped them financially.
She told them to “be kind and loving, for these are your first gifts to those who are poor”.
When Frederic Ozanam began home visitations in Paris in 1833, she told him: “Because you see Christ in his poor, I know you will approach each one you visit with humility as his servant.
“He who brings to the house of a poor man a morsel of bread, comes back from that house, often enough, his heart filled with joy and consolation. This, in the gentle intercourse of charity, one gives but little for a great return,” she said.
Sr Rosalie died on February 7, 1856.
In Australia there are 15 houses of the Daughters of Charity in four states. The province also includes Fiji and New Zealand.
Another Daughter of Charity, Sr Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro (1837- 1905), was beatified at the same time as Sr Rosalie Rendu.
Also beatified with them were:
Juan Nepomuceno Zegri y Moreno (1831-1905), priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy;
Valentin Paquay (1828-1905), priest of the Order of the Friars Minor; and
Luigi Maria Monti (1825-1900), religious and founder of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception.