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Saint of the Day

St. Julie Billiart

April 8
Born: July 12, 1751, France.
Died: April 8, 1816 while in prayer in Namur, Belgium.

Sixth of seven children of peasant farmers Jean-Francois Billiart and Marie-Louise-Antoinette Debraine. She was poorly educated, but knew her catechism by heart at age 7, and used to explain it to other children. At age 14 she took a private vow of chastity, and gave her life to serving and teaching the poor. At age 22, she was sitting next to her father when some one shot at him; the shock left her partially crippled for 22 years. During the French Revolution, a group of her friends helped organize the work she'd started. Julia was miraculously healed of her paralysis on 1 June 1804, and resumed her work. Her organization became the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame (Institute of Notre Dame; Sisters of Notre Dame), dedicated to the Christian education of girls, formally established in Amiens, France, the first vows being made by Saint Julia and two others on 15 October 1804. By the time of her death the Institute had 15 convents.

"Let us pray more and more that the Kingdom of God may spread everywhere in the hearts of all. The harvest is great but there are no laborers. Let us work at becoming good laborers!" - St. Julie Billiart

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