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Saint Jeanne Delanoue
|Born||18 June 1666|
|Died||17 August 1736 (aged 70)|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||8 November 1947 by Pope Pius XII|
|Canonized||31 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II|
Jeanne was born in Saumur, located in the region of Anjoú, France, the youngest of twelve children. Throughout much of her childhood and early life she was described as very selfish, thinking only of herself. Her father was a draper, and her mother ran a shop selling religious goods, catering to pilgrims to a local shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Ardillier. She took this business over at the age of 25 when her mother died. She also provided accommodations to pilgrims who were visiting the shrine. The fact, however, that her only goal was to make money from them was apparent when she opened her store on Sundays, an unusual practice in that period.
On Pentecost 1693, Jeanne encountered a poor widow and pilgrim from Rennes, named Francoise Fouchet, who predicted that Jeanne would one day spend her life in care for the poor. Though Jeanne was already a devout person, this prediction was met with skepticism; but as time passed, caring for the less fortunate is exactly what Jeanne came to do. She began caring for orphans and living a truly spiritual life, to the point where she eventually closed the family business to commit herself more fully to this work. As she converted her ways, many doubted her sincerity but she was not discouraged. Jeanne, along with other women who shared her vision of helping the needy, founded the Sisters of Saint Anne of Providence of Samur. The congregation was formally approved by the Vatican in 1704.
Worn out by her labors, Jeanne Delanoue died on 17 August 1736 at Fencet, France, of natural causes. At the time of her death there were twelve communities of her sisters, spread throughout France, serving the poor and needy.
The congregation Jeanne founded was renamed Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne of Providence of Saumur on 3 December 1964. She was canonized in October 1982 by Pope John Paul II. Today the congregation she founded serves the poor in France, Madagascar and Sumatra.
La Nef ardente is an oratorio by Michel Bosc about Jeanne Delanoue.