Sturdy Roots

The Founding Mothers and Fathers of The School Sisters of Notre Dame

St. Peter Fourier
(November 30, 1565 - December 9, 1640)

"Gave a new direction to religious life, insisting that ministry be integral to the community they founded."

Prologue, You Are Sent, p. 18.

Peter Fourier became a Canon Regular of St. Augustine and was noted for his holiness in the midst of a lax congregation. He had received his education from the Jesuits and spiritual direction from his Jesuit uncle strengthened him. However, he chose not to join the Jesuits because he wanted to serve in a poor parish. As a parish priest in Mattaincourt, France, he established a credit union and provided legal aid to the poor. He was revered as a holy pastor.

Blessed Alix LeClerc
(February 2, 1576 - January 9, 1622)

Alix LeClerc turned to Christ at age 17. At the time of her conversion, she sought out Peter Fourier, who agreed to be her confessor.

Peter wanted Alix and her three friends to be "Pious Women" rather than form a religious community. He knew that if they became a religious community they would have to abide by enclosure. She wanted to work with poor children in rural areas and small villages. However, Alix insisted on being in a religious community and thus the Canonesses of Notre Dame were formed.

Because of the rule of enclosure at the time, her dreams were not realized. In 1598 she had a vision in which Mary appeared to her holding a child and said: "Take this child and make him grow." This confirmed her desire to begin a religious community that would educate children. Since Peter Fourier was a Canon Regular of St. Augustine, he devised a rule for the Canonesses based on the Augustinian Rule.

The SSND Family Tree
The Holy Trinity
St. Anthony of the Desert
St. Augustine
St. Peter Fourier
Blessed Alix LeClerc
Bishop Michael Wittmann
Fr. Francis Sebastian Job
Blessed Mary Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger
Mother Caroline Friess
The Living Coomunity
The SSND Family Tree in Artistic Form

© Judith Best, SSND - 2010 - School Sisters of Notre Dame
Layout Development: BraeRex Communications

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