(Special Order only)Visionary leader of the Sisters of St. Joseph (1759-1843). Her arm raised in a gesture of welcoming which reflects the charism of the Sisters today. (click image for history notes)
Notes from the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph
The Sisters of Saint Joseph were among the first Catholic communities to be founded for the ordinary woman. They were not wealthy or educated and worked to support themselves especially by making lace, a common trade in that region of France.
The community grew. In 1650, it was formally recognized as a religious congregation by the Bishop of LePuy. By the time of the French Revolution, it had spread through south central France in the region of the Valey. Then, caught in the political turmoil of the times, the congregation was disbanded. Some of the Sisters were martyred at the guillotine and others returned to their homes or went into hiding.
After the revolution had ended, a heroic woman, Jeanne Fontbonne, who had narrowly escaped the guillotine herself, refounded the Sisters of St. Joseph at Lyon, France. She was known in the congregation as Mother St. John. Before long, the sisters were numerous again.
In 1836, a request came from the Bishop of St. Louis, Missouri for Sisters to teach deaf children. He had been advised by a friend in France to " get the Sisters of St. Joseph because they will do anything". Three sisters crossed the ocean and came to a log cabin in Carondelet, Missouri to found a school for deaf students. From there, they spread across the United States beginning new foundations and now are members of the organization known as The United States Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
This minature sculpted by Mary Southard, CSJ was the model for the life-size version now in Lyon, France.
Cast in DuraStone (inside only); 12" x 4.5" Finished in a warm bronze-like patina.