‘St. Claudine Thevenet’ Mother Foundress of the CONGREGATION OF JESUS & MARY :
Claudine Thevenet was a woman called by God to form the Congregation of the Religious
of Jesus & Mary. Her work was born in a heart crushed by the pain of personal tragedy.
During the French revolution, her two brothers were shot to death in her presence.
For nineteen-year old Claudine, this was a turning point in her life.
God works in wondrous ways to realise His plans. Led by the spirit of God, Claudine
opened her door first to welcome orphans. Later, her response to God's call took
shape in a total commitment of herself. As a result, a religious family was born.
Later, some of them would make an arduous journey from France to India to undertake
the education of girls in 1842.
Claudine's ideal was to make God known and loved by means of Christian education
in all social milieus. This ideal remains the aim of the congregation whose preference,
inherited from the Foundress, is for the young and among these the poor.
What kind of women did she wish to form in her work with the young? :
Women of faith in God, themselves and others who would live their lives in the light
Women capable of being good wives and mothers and creating happy homes
Women whose very presence anywhere would exude goodness and touch other lives
Women capable of earning a living by their honest work
What did she desire of her Religious and their lay collaborators? :
To be a living witness in their own lives... of the values they teach
To be completely given to the young and to be real mothers to them
To have foresight and thoroughness in preparing and carrying out their duties
To be impartial
To have simplicity in doing things to please God
To be courteous, but without any affectation in their manner, tone of voice, deportment
To be clean and orderly in their work and in their personal appearance, but without
What was her pedagogy? It was a system :
of prevention that foresees and forestalls faults; giving guidance at the opportune
time... there is greater delicacy of love implied in removing obstacles than merely
of attention to the individual, stressing the dignity of each person.
of participation and collaboration because love cannot develop except in a united
of giving a practical formation and enabling the young, while living with the present,
to prepare for the future.
of social formation... the ability to take their place in society with confidence.
a pedagogy based on simplicity and a family spirit.
A stimulating pedagogy giving each one the taste for going beyond the self; for
making a reality of the dream which God has for each of His children.
Hers was a pedagogy of love... a love that she drew from the Heart of Jesus pierced
on the cross for the salvation of all men. Different social structures and environment
require new forms of presence and make new demands on our creativity, but today,
as in the time of Claudine Thevenet, the work of education in love remains the best
reform we can offer. The finest methods affect nothing without love.