Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot: Founder
On January 9, we remember Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot, a French lay woman who founded the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, which later became the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
Born into a very pious and wealthy family in Lyons, France in 1799, Pauline developed into a deep, thoughtful girl during her teen years through tragedy. First, a serious fall caused her to retreat from the world to heal physically. Then, the death of her mother caused great emotional pain for the young girl.
At the age of 17, she began to lead a life of self-denial and self-sacrifice, and on Christmas Day, 1816, took a vow of perpetual virginity. Pauline’s prayer life was nurtured at this time by her brother Phileas who was studying to be a priest. Phileas shared stories of the missions of their time with his sister, telling her of the struggle to establish the faith in China and another large mission land of the time, the United States.
At the age of 18, Pauline had a prayerful vision: two oil lamps appeared, one empty, one overflowing. The overflowing oil was filling the empty lamp. To Pauline, the empty lamp was her home country of France, still struggling with its faith after the French Revolution. The overflowing lamp represented the young, vibrant faith of the New World whose stories could re-energize Europe.
Her vision became her vocation. At just 19 years old, in a time when most women were not even educated, Pauline organized the workers in her family’s silk mill into “circles of ten”, asking them to gather weekly to pray and sacrifice for mission work around the world. Once established, each circle member was asked to find 10 more people to do the same. Within a year, 500 workers were enrolled; soon there would be thousands. The sacrifices made through Pauline’s circles became the foundation for the Universal Solidarity Fund of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
In 1826, she founded the Association of the Living Rosary. The fifteen decades of the Rosary were divided among fifteen associates, each of whom had to recite daily only one determined decade.
Pauline died on January 9, 1862 and was declared venerable on February 25, 1963. The cause for her beatification and canonization continues. She is the patron against poverty.
Venerable Pauline’s Offering
My hope is in Jesus Christ!
My only Treasure is the Cross!
I seek nothing but the Will of God,
And aspire for nothing
Save its perfect accomplishment!
I place my hope in Thy mercy,
Which surpasses all Thy works!
Mary, O My Mother,
I Am Thine!