CLAUDINE THÉVENET was born in Lyon on 30th March 1774, the second of a family of seven children. “Glady” as she was affectionately known had a strong influence on her brothers and sisters, thanks to her goodness, gentleness and self-forgetfulness in the desire to make others happy. The French Revolution broke out when she was fifteen. In 1793, she witnessed the execution in revenge of her two brothers after the city fell in January 1794. Their last words, “Forgive, Glady, as we forgive” remained deep in her heart and her mind and were to change the course of her life. From now onwards she would dedicate herself to the relief of the great suffering caused by the Revolution.
For her a main source of distress was the people’s ignorance of God and thus was born in her the great desire to make Him known to everyone, but it was to be the children and the young people who would be the main object of her zeal and her desire to make Jesus and Mary known and loved. Her encounter with a holy priest, Father Andre Coindre, would help her to discover more clearly what God was asking of her and would be decisive in the orientation of her life. When Father Coindre found two little shivering children abandoned on the steps of the church of St. Nizier, he took them to Claudine who did not hesitate to take them into her care.
Companions soon joined Claudine and they formed an association, the Association of the Sacred Heart of which Claudine was immediately elected president. On July 31st 1818, the call of the Lord was heard through the voice of Father Coindre . “God has chosen you”, he said to Claudine. This laid the foundation of the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary.
Her Congregation was to be profoundly influenced by her strong personality. “Be true mothers of both body and soul” she told her sisters. She would tolerate no preferences, no partialities: “The only preferences I will permit are for the most poor, the most miserable, those who have most defects; those you will love a great deal”.
Claudine Thevenet was canonized (declared a saint) during the Pontificate of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on the 21st March 1993.
The education of the children was the main concern of our mother Foundress so she says,” let us form these children that they will be a blessing to every house they enter.” This is our thrust and our goal too of shaping and influencing the lives of the children entrusted to our care. Throughout their school life we instill in them values and mold them into a caring, honest, realistic human being who is concerned about others. For us Education is not only book learning, it is learning how to live a good and purposeful life. Character building, protecting and strengthening the Child’s goodness and their sense of moral and civic responsibility is the first and foremost aim of Our Education these are some of the moral and civic responsibility is the first and foremost aim of Our Education these are some of the qualities fostered in a Jesus and Mary pupil.
Today the education institution began by the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus & Mary are found in several countries spread across Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America. In India we serve in 40 institutions in 9 States, we have colleges, High Schools, Teachers Training Colleges, Schools for mentally handicapped children, orphanages, dispensaries, project for women upliftment and Faith formation, Claudine’s legacy continues today through her beloved daughters-Jesus and Mary sisters.