Foundress of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary
CLAUDINE THEVENET was the woman called by the Congregation of the Religious
of Jesus and Mary work. Her work was born in a heart crushed by the pain of personal
tragedy during the French Revolution.Her brothers were shot to death before her
and the family was distressingly scattered.
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 realise His designs. She concluded
the violence she witnessed there was more ignorance than malice. The thought of
those who live and die 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 Convents which are found throughout the world.
Her response to the call of God took the form of total commitment of herself to
the following of Christ. A Religious Family was born in the Church, the 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 milieux. This ideal remains the aim
of the Congregation with the preference inherited from the Foundries, for the young
and among these, for the Poor.
What kind of women did she wish to form in her work with the young?
What did she desire of her Religious and their Lay Collaborators ?
Women of Faith in God, themselves and others. Those 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's lives.
- Women Capable of Earning a Living by their honest work.
What was her Pedagogy? It was a system:
- To be living Witness in their own lives of the values they teach.
- To be completely given to the young and to be real Mothers to them.
To have Foresight and Thoroughness in preparation and carrying out their duties.
- To be impartial.
- To have great simplicity in doing all things to please God.
To be courteous, but without any affection, in their manner, tone of voice, deportment
To be clean and orderly in their work and in their personal appearance but without
Hers was a Pedagogy of Love .....
Of prevention that foresees and forestalls faults giving guidance at the opportune
time.... there is a greater delicacy of love implied in removing obstacles than
merely healing wounds.
Of attention to the individual stressing the dignity of each person.
Of participation and collaboration because love cannot develop except in a united
Of giving a practical formation enabling the young while living with the present
to prepare for the future.
Of social formation…. To take their place in society with confidence.
A pedagogy based on simplicity and a family spirit.
A stimulating pedagogy giving each one the taste for going beyond self for making
a reality of the dream which God has for each one of His children.
A love that she drew from Heart of Jesus
pierced on the cross for the salvation of all. 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 effect nothing without love.