St. Julie Billiart

St. Julie Billiart (12 July 1751 – 8 April 1816) was a French nun, saint, educator, and founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She was born in Cuvilly, a village in Picardy, in northern France. She was paralyzed and bedridden for 22 years, but was well known for her prayer, her embroidery skills, and her education of both the poor and the nobility, especially her work with young girls. She had to flee Cuvilly after the start of the French Revolution and escaped to Compiègne, where the stress she experienced resulted in another illness that took away her ability to speak, and where she received a vision foretelling that she would found a new religious congregation that would eventually become the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. In 1804, Billiart established the Sisters of Notre Dame in Amiens, where they and other nuns dedicated themselves to the care and education of young girls. Billiart, who was called “Mother Julie,” was healed of both her paralysis and her speech and went on to found schools and homes for poor girls in France and Belgium. As of 2020, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur worked in 16 countries on five continents. Billiart died on 8 April 1816 in Namur. She was beatified on 13 May 1906 by Pope Pius X and canonized on 22 June 1969 by Pope Paul XI.


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