Julie Billiart

1751-1816

Born in Picardy, in France, the pious Julie was allowed to make a vow of chastity at age 14 and did manual labor when her family suffered financial reversals. In her early 20s, she became paralyzed after an attempt on her father’s life; at 30 she was an invalid, dispensing catechism lessons and spiritual advice from her bed. Forced to leave home during the French Revolution, she settled in Amiens, where she co-founded the religious institute that later became the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. In 1804, during a parish mission, she walked for the first time in 22 years. From then until her death, she traveled constantly in France and Belgium to expand one of the great teaching congregations of the church.

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