1789 – 1801: In France the Revolution raged: religious practice was banned, churches secularised, seminaries closed, priests sought out and dragged to the scaffold. No matter ! Sure of the Master’s call,
Jacques François Dujarié
continued his preparation for priesthood in secret and was ordained on the 26th December 1795. Secretly, at night, he carried out his ministry in Ruillé and the surrounding area, passionate for the Gospel! Calm was restored and he was named Parish Priest in January 1803.
His concern: Three miles from the village of Ruillé, there were scattered farm houses where families did not know Jesus Christ, where children were not being taught how to read, where the sick were not being visited. A solution needed to be found : it would only take two people of good will to respond to these needs.
Father Dujarié found them temporary accommodation and had a house built for them
"The Little Providence"
which rose from the ground in 1806.
Example is contagious: this small group grew, then spread into neighbouring parishes. In 1808, there were a dozen members… with time it became obvious that a leader was necessary.
Providence was watching over that... In Brittany, in Pléhédel,
Zoé du Roscöat
(Mother Marie-Madeleine) felt called to consecrate her life to the Lord in a very poor Congregation. The hand of God led her towards Father Dujarié and the hills above Ruillé.
In 1820, the Sisters chose her as their first Superior General.
In 1822, a dramatic event shook the little society to its core: Mother Marie-Madeleine fell ill and died. In a mysterious way the Lord had been preparing
to be her successor for this mission. She was from the Island of Bréhat, in Brittany and became known as Mother Marie. Under her leadership the small group was consolidated and numerous Communities were to open in France to serve the poor, the children and the sick.