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St. Elizabeth Bichier des Ages

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Ave Maria Hour Radio Show

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Rebroadcast of the long-running radio program, "The Ave Maria Hour," a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org

Born on July 5, 1773 in Le Blanc, France, Elizabeth was the daughter of Antoine Bichier, the Seigneur of Ages and a public official, and Marie Augier de Moussac, whose father was a politician. She spent much of her childhood at the convent at Poitiers.

In 1792, after the death of her father, Elizabeth and her mother went to live in La Guimetière. Near their new home was a parish left in chaos because of the French Revolution. Elizabeth dedicated herself to rebuilding the community. Every night she gathered parishioners for prayers and hymns. Elizabeth became friends with a local priest, André-Hubert Fournet (who later became a saint), and together they reestablished religion in the area.

With Fr. Fournet’s spiritual guidance and assistance, Elizabeth found her true vocation. In 1806, she established a religious congregation of women to care for the sick and aged, for the education of children, and to offer reparation for the blasphemies and sacrileges committed against the Most Blessed Sacrament during the French Revolution. The congregation was officially recognized by the diocese in 1816 and named Daughters of the Cross. During her lifetime, Elizabeth established over sixty convents under the rule of the Daughters of the Cross.

In 1836, Elizabeth fell seriously ill. After ten days of intense suffering, she died on August 26. She was canonized in 1947.

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