1864 : the decisive encounter

In May 1864, she met Etienne Pernet.

A year later, Fr Pernet confided to her his project of founding a new religious family. Initially, she refused this unexpected call. Then she accepted and left all for Jesus Christ. She was forty.

In July 1865, she brought together the first community of the Little Sisters of the Assumption. In the service of the sick, of the working-class families and the poor they wished to :

"Procure the glory of God by the salvation of the poor and those of least account " (...) "When the veil of charity touches the face of the poor, the face of Jesus is etched on it for all eternity." Marie de Jésus

On the 7th April 1870 they moved to 57 rue Violet. Mother Marie de Jésus displayed all her qualities of heart, intelligence and organisation in coping with difficulties of every sort. Her faith made her strong in trials.

"Jesus, show me the poor and I will run to them with a heart filled with love. Lord, you will help out my good will, you will make up for my inexperience, you will teach me to be respectful and sensitive, tactful about their misfortune." Marie de Jésus

The founders worked together for almost twenty years. When Mother Marie de Jésus was dying, on the 18th Septembrer 1883, Fr Pernet said to her in the presence of the community :

"We only ever had one mind and one heart."

The mission Marie de Jésus received was to enable the charism of Etienne Pernet to be embodied and to fructify in the life of the first sisters and of the communities ; it was to be "the mother of this little work which I love more than my life", as she wrote in 1873.

" Poverty does not frighten me, I am not afraid that Providence will fail us." Marie de Jésus

11/04/2011
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