ST. MARY EUPHRASIA PELLETIER
Founded by St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier (1796 – 1868) and known as the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd Mission has its origins in Angers, France. On 16 January 1835, Pope Gregory XVI approved the Congregation which has its roots in the Order of Our Lady of Charity known as the Refuge, which was founded by St. John Eudes (1601 – 1680).
John Eudes was an outstanding priest and leader in the Christian renewal of 17th century France. Fired by the love of the hearts of Jesus and Mary, he established a refuge in 1641 to help women and girls who were exploited and in moral distress. From a few committed women in this service, the Order of Our Lady of Charity evolved.
ST. JOHN EUDES
In 1814, Rose Virginie Pelletier entered Our Lady of Charity at Tours. She was given the name Mary of St. Euphrasia. Sister Mary Euphrasia combined a great apostolic spirit with a deep interior life. The community and mission took on new vigour when she was elected superior at the age of 29. A house in Angers was founded in 1829 at the invitation of the local bishop. There, in 1831, Sister Mary Euphrasia formed a contemplative community for some of the girls and women under her care who desired to dedicate their lives to God. These contemplative sisters offer their lives of prayer and penance for the people served by the Congregation.
Sister Mary Euphrasia longed for the world to benefit from the saving work initiated by St. John Eudes. She envisioned a central administration that could send the sisters to all parts of the world. Surmounting many obstacles, the Generalate (Central Administration of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd of Angers) was born.
Sister Mary Euphrasia Pelletier gave herself unreservedly to the Mission as she responded with great zeal and love to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. The Congregation grew enormously. Without telephone, fax, e-mail or air travel, Sister Mary Euphrasia founded in her lifetime, 110 houses in 35 countries on every continent. She died in Angers on 24 April 1868. Her beatification took place in 1933 and her canonization in 1940. Today, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd and the Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd serve in 72 countries, embracing the world with their zeal for the salvation of all people.
A year after the death of St. Mary Euphrasia, the Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) Mission was founded. From Ceylon, the Good Shepherd Sisters came to Singapore in 1939 and reached out into Malaysia in 1956.
(Extract: “Gratitude is the Memory of the Heart”,
published by Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd, Malaysia)