The Sisters of the Presentation
«Keep the presence of God in all your actions.
Often renew the intention of doing everything for His glory.»Marie Poussepin
The Sisters of Charity, Dominicans of the Presentation live their vocation with the people.
In the heart of their professions (mainly hospital, medical and educational), through their commitment to society and to the Church, they act to serve the most disadvantaged people and to build each human being in his/her human and spiritual dimension.
- Charity is at the heart of their religious life.
- Working is the means to live religious poverty.
In that way, they follow the path shown more than three hundred years ago by their Foundress, Marie Poussepin, a true social apostle of charity.
Today the Congregation is founded in 36 countries of four continents.
She was born in Dourdan, near Paris (France) on October 14th 1653in a family in an artisan family making silk stockings. During the “golden century” of Louis XIV and Colbert, great is the misery of the people: bad harvests, diseases and wars see the people in a tragic state.
In 1680, Marie Poussepin takes in hand her father’s business which had reached a very precarious state, to be able to meet the needs of her family and of the people of the village.
Open to technical progress, she sees that making woolen stockings would offer more market openings and she starts replacing the needles by weaving machines. Soon, Dourdan becomes the second centre in the country for the production of woolen stockings...
She takes advantage of that prosperity to offer to young people to learn how to use the machines and that, without them paying for the right of a formation, as long as they would make a certain number of stockings. This new way, allows the poor, the orphans, to learn a trade and to make money. She creates jobs so that they would come out of their poverty by themselves.
At the same time, Marie Poussepin is, with her mother, a member of a Fraternity of Charity in her village. In 1690, she hands over the family business to her brother Claude, and in 1693 she joins a Fraternity of the Third Order of the Dominicans.
She shows herself as a business and active woman, committed to those who are suffering.
Moved by the misery in the countryside around her and by the status of the poor women of her time, Marie Poussepin starts in 1695 a Dominican Fraternity to which she gives all that she possesses. This Community, set up in Sainville, a small village in the Beauce region, live according to the Dominican tradition, but not in a monastery, so as to be able to practice charity.
Marie is the first Dominican Sister of Charity, not living in a monastery.
Fully live a religious life and fight against poverty is the challenge of all her life.
In Sainville she starts a small school for girls, visits the sick …
The Sisters are not paid for the help they give to the poor but have to work to make the money needed (weaving). Marie will give a great role to working, as a form of ascetism and a fraternal commitment to reach the objectives of the Congregation.
Soon, other Communities will start. At the death of their Foundress, January 24th 1744, the Sisters of Charity, Dominicans of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, have twenty Houses over six Dioceses.
The Mother-House of the Congregation is in Tours since 1813.
Marie Poussepin was beatified on November 20th 1994