Peter Coudrin

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Peter Coudrin, depicted in a stained-glass window of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, founded the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Peter Coudrin or Pierre Coudrin of France was the founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a religious institute of the Roman Catholic Church famous for its missionary work in Hawaii. He was born on March 1, 1768, at Coussay-le-Bois, just south of Paris.

Vision[edit]

In 1792, Coudrin was secretly ordained to the presbyterate just as France was becoming embroiled in revolution against its monarchy. Coudrin went into hiding in an attic of the granary of the Chateau d'Usseau where he was confined for six months. During his hiding, Coudrin woke up one evening surrounded by illuminated apparitions of priests, brothers and nuns in white albs. He took the vision to be a divine calling to establish a religious institute that would become the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Coudrin quickly left the granary and traveled to Poitiers to begin an underground ministry, waiting for the right moment to start his group.

During his underground ministry in 1794, Coudrin met Henriette Aymer de Chevalerie. She had been released from a revolutionary prison, accused of hiding a priest. She told Coudrin of a heaven-sent vision she had while in prison calling her to service to God. Coudrin and Henriette Aymer de Chevalerie shared with each other their visions of creating a religious institute in the midst of danger for Roman Catholics in France.

Establishment[edit]

On Christmas Eve 1800, knowing they could face the guillotine for their actions, Coudrin and Henriette Aymer de Chevalerie officially established the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary with a mission to spread the message of God's unconditional love as manifested through the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and finding God's mercy through the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Father Coudrin recited his vow starting at 11:45 in the evening: I Marie-Joseph take the vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as a Zealot of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, in whose service, I wish to live and die. Mother Henriette renewed her vows shortly thereafter.

The original members of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary founded new schools for poor children, seminaries to help grow the priesthood of their institute and parish missions throughout Europe. At the time of Coudrin's death in 1837, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary had 276 fathers and brothers and 1125 sisters.

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