Wednesday, 8 April 2020

# Feast # Saints

Saint Julie Billiart

Saint Julie Billiart painted in 1830, by an unknown artist

The 8th of April is the feast day of Saint Julie Billiart (12 July 1751 — 8 April 1816). She is the patron saint against poverty; bodily ills; and disease.

Born in Cuvilly, France, Saint Julie Billiart’s family were large and prosperous farmers. She memorised the catechism by heart by the age of 7 years old and would teach it to her fellow playmates. At the age of nine, she received her first communion and took a vow of chastity. In her teens, she already had the reputation of being a saint. She worked in the fields when her family was in financial strife. However, when she was twenty-two she became paralysed and was bedridden for the next 22 years. She received Holy Communion daily, made altar laces and linens, and catechised the children in the village who stood by her bedside. During the French Revolution, she helped the priests and was smuggled to safety while hidden in a hay cart. She hid in the home of a countess and soon had young and noble ladies around her bed whom she taught the interior life. From this group of ladies, she founded the Institute of the Sisters of Notre Dame, who educated girls and trained catechists. She made her vows in 1804 and was cured of her paralysis. She then made over a hundred journeys, founding 15 convents of her order.

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