Saint Julie Billiart
Who is Saint Julie Billiart?
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur consider their Foundress, St. Julie Billiart, “a saint for our times” and in all times! She lives today in the minds and hearts of multiple women, men and children throughout the Globe! She is surely a woman of our modern era who showed courage through action, in transforming differences and inequities of her time through the ministry of education!
What is her story?
In the small village of Cuvilly, north of Paris, France, Marie-Rose Julie Billiart, born on July 12, 1751, was the seventh of nine children of Jean-François Billiart and Marie-Louise Antoinette Debraine. Most of her siblings died in infancy and adolescence. Raised by strong Christian parents, her elder sister, Madeleine and younger brother, Louis-François married and nurtured good Christian families. Marie-Rose Julie, even as a child, heard a call in the whisperings of God within her, and she shared her beliefs and deep love of God by teaching other children in the village. Although an ordinary child in so many ways, the mark of the cross was a distinctive sign of her inner spiritual greatness. Suffering often accompanied her in the family losses, with the robbery of her father’s shop, and her illness brought about by shattered nerves after an attempt on her father’s life (1774). Poor medical treatment in 1782 resulted in the paralysis of her legs.