Ven. Pauline-Marie Jaricot





Pauline Jaricot is the foundress of the work of the Catholic Mission, a world-wide organization which funds and supports the work of Catholic missionaries. She was born in France in 1799. One of the most illustrious heroines which the Church has given to the world in modern times is without doubt the sweet French girl, Pauline Marie Jaricot. Many were the obstacles which this noble child had to confront to surrender herself to God, among which were the loss of her mother at an early age, while at the same time falling prey to a violent disorder which attacked both body and mind, and was excruciatingly painful. She suffered chest palpitations that were most violent, almost causing suffocation. During those dreadful years of torment there were some moments of relief at intervals, the most appreciable one at the end of a novena made to St. Philomena. Unable to pray at the a shrine of the Saint's Pauline decide to go to Paray-le-Monial, to the Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart, which inspired her to try to journey to Rome to see the Holy Father  to plead the cause of St. Philomena. The trek almost killed her because of her weakened condition brought on by her illness. When she and her party reached the summit of Mount Cenis in the Alps, a glorious view burst on their gaze: A beautiful child suddenly appeared-----no one knew whence he came-----and approaching the carriage where Pauline lay, smiled on her sweetly and presented her with a beautiful white rose, which exhaled a delightful fragrance. The guides had never seen the child, who disappeared as quickly as he came, nor could they form any idea of who he might be. they realized that the rose could not have bloomed so high in the mountains. No such flowers were known to that region of snow. Pauline prayed continually to the Virgin Mary and to St. Philomena. During the journey she suffered a serious relapse and once more all hope of saving her was lost. yet she rallied after a few days they began again toward the Eternal City. She did see the Pontiff who recognized her as a Saint, asking her to pray for him when she reached Heaven. Pauline replied:

"Yes, Holy Father, I promise to do so, but if on my return from Mugnano [to pray to St. Philomena], I come back well and go on foot to the Vatican, will Your Holiness deign to proceed without delay with the final inquiry into the cause of St. Philomena?"

The Pontiff agreed, for that indeed would be a first class miracle, which was needed for approval of devotion to her as a Saint. It was now August and the heart was horrific, so the party went by night, arriving on the eve of St. Philomena's Feast. The next day, the Feast itself, when Pauline received Holy Communion near the urn of the Saint, she experienced such frightful pains all over her body and her heart beat so violently that she was thought to be near death; she recovered enough to make a sign to be left near the urn, on which she fixed her eyes with an expression of deepest affection. Suddenly an abundant flood of tears filled her eyes and color came back to her cheeks, and a warm glow spread throughout her limbs. Her soul was inundated with such Heavenly joy that she though she was about to enter Heaven. But it was not death, it was life: St. Philomena, the beloved, had arranged for her cure by God and she was thus preserved for many long years of toil for Christ and His Blessed Mother. The Roman pontiff had Pauline remain in Rome for a year to fully explore the validity of the cure. At the close of that year, with the blessing of Christ's Vicar, Pauline returned to France and the Pope named St. Philomena the Patroness of the Living Rosary.


"If only I could love . . .without measure,
Without end . . . "

This is the story of Pauline-Marie Jaricot, whose dream of "loving without end" led to the founding of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith .


IT SEEMED as though Pauline Jaricot, at the age of fifteen, had everything. She was treasured, the youngest of seven children in a loving family. Her father was an industrialist in the silk manufacturing city of Lyons, France, and the family lived in more than ordinary comfort.

She was pretty with dark hair and bright eyes, a stylishly dressed and popular belle of young Lyons society.

Then, in October, 1814, at age 15, Pauline had a fall that left her partially paralyzed and in terrible pain. Not long after this, her mother died.

It took Pauline many months to recover emotionally and physically. When she did recover, she resumed her social whirl, though with somewhat less delight than before. Her heart, she wrote at this time, was "made for the whole world."

Pauline was transformed one day at Mass in Lent of 1816 by a sermon given by Abbe Wurtz about vanity and its manifestation in society women's dress and behavior. She sought the Abbe as her spiritual director. She began to dress in plain, simple clothing and to give her time and her love to the sick-poor of her city, often at the Hospital for Incurables.

Pauline had also expressed a larger wish:

"If only I could love without reluctance . . . without measure . . . without end."
In seeking a way to this larger love, found only in the Lord, Pauline Jaricot sowed the seed of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith.


Pauline Jaricot was born in the wake of the destruction of the French Revolution, with turbulence continuing between Church and State.

This was the era in which she formed her great wish to help missionaries. She was spurred on in this desire by her older brother, Phileas, who was preparing to be a priest.

In 1817, while she was praying, Pauline had a vision of two lamps. One had no oil; the other was overflowing and from its abundance poured oil into the empty lamp. To Pauline, the drained lamp signified the faith in France. The overflowing lamp represented the faith of new Christians in the Missions. Their faith could revitalize the faith in her homeland! Pauline knew then that she must work for missionaries. One evening in 1819, a plan came to her as her family played cards and Pauline herself sat by the fire praying. "Circles of ten" describes her plan: people would commit themselves to sacrifice a "sou," a very small coin worth about a penny, every week. Each of these friends would find ten others who would do the same, and on and on. Pauline recorded that ". . . it astonished me that no one had thought of such a simple scheme before. Then I wrote to my brother to tell him of the scheme."
Her first recruits were girls working in a silk mill, young women for whom even a sou would be a sacrifice. By 1820, 1,000 people were involved. Their pooled offerings were sent through the Paris Foreign Mission Society for its work in China. Pauline hoped to expand the distribution of these funds to other missions as well.

The progress of her idea, however, was not be smooth.

Opposition to her successful plan arose and Pauline found herself attacked by some as being overly ambitious.


On May 3, 1822, in Lyons, a group of men called "Les Messieurs" gathered to discuss a request for funds for the missions in Louisiana in the United States. A representative of Louisiana's Bishop Dubourg, Father Angelo Inglesi, hoped at this meeting to have an organization set up similar to Pauline's "Propagation" which was doing so well. The organization he had in mind would be formed to help the missions in Louisiana which, at that time, extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada.

But "No!" responded Benoit Coste who was one of "Les Messieurs." He made the point that no one single mission should be sole beneficiary of funds that were gathered. Any society "Les Messieurs" would sponsor must help all missions everywhere. (This was just what Pauline had been hoping to do herself.)

Another of "Les Messieurs," Victor Girodon, spoke glowingly about the structure of Pauline Jaricot's "Propagation," and the group voted to adopt it. After a short period of time, Pauline consented to uniting the collections of her group to that of the new group, reflecting that it was "a gain for Asia and for other parts of the world . . . " Pauline was, as she said modestly, "the match that lights the fire."

In time, and in accord with the Propagation of the Faith goal to help all missions, the range of distribution expanded to include Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands and Australia in addition to the mission areas of China and the United States (Louisiana and Kentucky) which were the beneficiaries of the first distribution by the newly-formed Propagation of the Faith in 1822.

In the first century of its existence, several million dollars came to the Church in the United States which, until 1908, was "mission territory." The Fathers of the First Plenary Council of Baltimore, held in 1852, wrote to the Propagation of the Faith in France: "There is not here a single diocese the organization of which is complete and which is capable of responding to the demands of the faithful. New Sees cannot exist but by your charity . . ." Yet in this same letter, they notified the Society in France that the bishops in the United States had "decreed that the Society for the Propagation of the Faith be established in all their dioceses . . ." That year, the young, poor and struggling Church in the United States contributed $16,026 to the Propagation of the Faith.

Today, the Propagation of the Faith-----the "fire" lit by Pauline Jaricot-----is, under the direction of the Holy Father, the Church's central means to foster in all Catholics a deeper sense of universal
mission and to gather the support necessary for what the Second Vatican Council called "the greatest and holiest duty of the Church," the proclamation of the Gospel to all the world (Ad gentes 29).


Shortly after the foundation of the Propagation of the Faith, Pauline Jaricot established the Association of the Living Rosary; again her method was to form "circles" which would reach out to form new groups. Later, in a project on behalf of the working class people, she fell into debt. In her life marked by disappointment, by failure, by physical and spiritual suffering, she adopted an idea of St. Paul and strove to die daily to self.

The Cure of Ars, her spiritual director for many years, made this public tribute to her: "I know someone who knows how to accept the Cross, and a heavy Cross, and how to bear it with love! It is Mlle. Jaricot."

In 1962, 100 years after her death, Pope John XXIII signed the decree which proclaimed the virtues of Pauline Jaricot, declaring her "Venerable." Pope John wrote: "It was she who thought of the society, who conceived it, and made it an organized reality."

One writer, Father Charles Dollen, said more recently of Pauline Jaricot, "The theology of the Cross came alive for her, and she offered herself, a victim for the sins of mankind. More and more she identified with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, loving, suffering, atoning."

 Today, Pauline Jaricot's magnificent method of loving without end lives on, and the cause for her beatification is underway.

What Does Pauline Jaricot Say To Us Today?

Baptized into the life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each of us has a responsibility to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus in the world around us and even to the ends of the earth.

But, we may ask, "How?"

We can think of Pauline.

. . . Pauline who cared for the sick in her city and, with her idea of "prayer and sacrifice," sent her love to each comer of the world.

We can think of Pauline.

. . . Pauline who chose to live more simply than she had to.

. . . Pauline who accepted the sacrifice of being" anonymous," neither seeing the recipients of her mission sacrifices, nor being known by them.

. . . Pauline who saw that Christ's mission to all peoples was not something to have in mind from time to time, but daily.

. . . Pauline, the girl with the bright eyes and the world in her heart, who teaches us a way to love without end, and to share our Catholic faith to the ends of the earth.

Pray that the Church, which has reaped so much from her
generosity and vision, may honor this lay woman among the blessed.



"My hope is in Jesus, my only treasure is the Cross . . . I will bless the Lord at all times and His praise shall be always in my mouth. I adore the will of my God. What does it matter to me, O beloved and loveable will of God, if Thou takest from me all earthly goods, reputation, honor, health, and life; what does it matter that Thou maketh me descend into the depth of humiliations. What does it matter-----if, I find the hidden fire of Thy heavenly love? How happy I should be if I could die for Thee and for my fellow creatures. Jesus, Priest and Victim, I unite the sacrifice of my life and the cross I carry to Thy Blood shed for me. I shelter myself in Thy Wounds and I expect all strength from Thee. My heart is ready, O Lord, my heart is ready. I only wish to do all for Thy greater glory. I rely upon Thy strength when the supreme moment comes and not upon my own. I have put my hopes in Thy mercy. I recommend to Thee all to whom I may die indebted, and I beg Thee, that having given my life and my blood for them, my friends will pay my debts after my death".

Mary, O my Mother, I am Thine!


Pauline Marie Jaricot,
Victim Soul of Jesus Christ, pray for us!

Almighty and merciful God, Who has chosen a humble virgin, Marie Pauline of Jesus Christ, the poor one of Mary, to found the great Catholic works of the Propagation of the Faith and the Living Rosary, and Who has wished in the midst of humiliations, trials and persecutions to purify her works, deign to hasten the day when Holy Mother the Church will publicly recognize her saintly life. We pray that by her example of patience and love for the Cross, her life-time prayer may be realized: the Universal propagation of the Faith in all its Purity.

Mary, O my Mother, I am yours!

P.O. BOX 1303

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