Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

In religion Mother St. John, second foundress and superior-general of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyons, born 3 March, 1759, at Bassen-Basset, Valey, France ; died 22 November, 1843 Lyons.

In 1778 she entered a house of the Sisters of St. Joseph which had just been established at Monistrol (Haute-Loire) by Bishop de Gallard of Le Puy. The following year she received the habit and soon gave evidence of unusual administrative powers, particularly through her work in the schools. On her election, six years later, as superior of the community, Mother St. John, as she was now called, co-operated with the saintly founder in all his pious undertakings, aided in the establishment of a hospital, and accomplished much good among the young girls of the town. At the outbreak of the Revolution she and her community followed Bishop de Gallard in refusing to sign the Oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, notwithstanding the example of the Curé of Monistrol, who went so far as to abet the government officials in their persecution of the sisters. Forced to disperse her community, the superior remained at her post till she was dragged forth by the mob and the convent taken possession of in the name of the Commune, after which she returned to her father's home. Not long afterwards she was torn from this refuge, to be thrown into the prison of Saint-Didier, and only the fall of Robespierre on the day before that appointed for the execution saved her from the guillotine.

Unable to regain possession of her convent at Monistrol, she and her sister, who had been her companion in prison, returned to their father's house. Twelve years later (1807), Mother St. John was called to Saint-Etienne as head of a small community of young girls and members of dispersed congregations, who at the suggestion of Cardinal Fesch, Archbishop of Lyons, were now established as a house of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She restored the asylum at Monistrol, repurchased and reopened the former convent, and on 10 April, 1812, the congregation received Government authorization. In 1816 Mother St. John was appointed superior general of the Sisters of St. Joseph , and summoned to Lyons to found a general mother-house and novitiate, which she accomplished after many difficult years of labour. During the remainder of her life she was busied in perfecting the affiliation of the scattered houses of the congregation, which had been formally decreed in 1828. She also established over two hundred new communities. An object of her special solicitude was the little band which she sent to the United States in 1836 and with which she kept in constant correspondence, making every sacrifice to provide them with the necessities of life. Towards this end of her life, Mother St. John was relieved of the arduous duties of superior, and spent the last few years in preparation for the end .


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter