Sr. Justine Bisqueyburu, D.C. and the Green Scapular

by | Jan 27, 2017 | Daughters of Charity, Formation

On January 28, 1840, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Sr. Justine Bisqueyburu, of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. This began a series of visits which culminated in a special gift of Mary: The Green Scapular. This is described in the presentation below.

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It is also fascinating to learn more about Sr. Justine’s life. She was energetic and smart, traveled internationally and had the leadership skills to run a military hospital for nine years.

When she was in the Seminary, at the time she first took her habit, these remarks were written about her:

Sister Bisqueyburu (Justine). Tall. Knows how to read, write, cipher, knows her grammar. Gentle disposition. Is sensible, has judgment and an ardent imagination. Skillful, intelligent, courageous, pious and virtuous. Fit for school.”

Here are some other excerpts I selected from a biography written 20 years after her death by Father Marie Edouard Mott, C.M..

…her first employment on leaving the Seminary was that of school teacher at Blangy, a small place situated in the Department of Lower Seine. Yet she did not stay there long, for in 1841, we find her in the House of Charity of Notre-Dame parish at Versailles, where she remained until 1855. It was there she made her first Holy Vows. There also she had the opportunity of spending herself unreservedly in the practice of charity, revealing the extraordinary aptitude with which she was gifted for the care of the sick.

When the Crimean war broke out in 1854 and military authorities made an appeal to the devotedness of the Daughters of Charity for the nursing of the wounded soldiers on the battlefield, the Superior readily complied with her expressed wish to be employed for that purpose. She left for Constantinople in 1855 with the other Sisters destined to the same charitable functions, and, like them, she devoted herself unreservedly to this work. The devotedness of the Daughters of Charity in the painful labor of the ambulances, aroused an admirable enthusiasm in those who witnessed it regardless of religion or nationality, and provoked a generous emulation, even within the ranks of schism and heresy.

She was placed at the military hospital at Val de-Grace in Paris, (a former Benedictine convent, the ‘Valley of Grace’) where she remained two years. One of the Sisters who lived with her at that time and later was placed under her charge at Rome – Sister Bergasse – testified that she was deeply devoted to her patients and that she possessed all the qualities of a true servant of the poor.

Qualities as precious as hers determined Superiors to place her at the head of an establishment. The one first entrusted to her in 1858 was the Military Hospital of Rennes […] At Algiers, she was placed at the head of the Dey’s Military Hospital, a very important house which necessitated a sure and firm hand to direct it, together with a kind and motherly heart that would be guided by correct judgment. Sister Bisqueyburu showed herself equal to her task during the nine years she held this office, from 1858 to 1867.

One of her companions who had the great privilege of spending seven years under her direction at Algiers, (Sister Naude) and who became Superior of an important house in foreign lands, gave us the following statement of this epoch of her life under the date of March 22, 1907, less than four years after the death of the Sister:

Everywhere the first in the accomplishment of duty, she surpassed us in the practice of humility and mortification.”

Under an austere exterior appearance lay hidden a great kindness of heart. The illness of one of her companions was to her a most painful trial and when the patient died, she was inconsolable.”

For our venerated Superiors she had a respect and obedience inspired by her great spirit of faith and she was prompt in executing not only their orders, but their least wish. Likewise, civil authorities, military officials, doctors and administrators placed an entire confidence in her.”

In the beginning, she had numberless difficulties, finding herself at variance with many prejudices which she succeeded in overcoming, adjusting everything with much wisdom and firmness, for she knew how to convert the sentiments of those most opposed to her into admiration for her virtuous and saintly life. The strength necessary was the outcome of her solid piety, her unreserved confidence in God and her tender devotion to the Most Holy Virgin. But nothing would ever make one suspect that she had been the object of supernatural favors.”

Read or download the full biography (pdf) at