Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day that Sister Rosalie Rendu was presented with the Legion of Honor Medal by Napoleon III for her service to the poor (March 18, 1852). Read the story below.

“[Sister Rosalie] responded to calamities. During the revolution of 1830… she gave asylum to the archbishop as well as to many other priests. During the cholera epidemic of 1832, she quickly gathered orphan children and had her Sisters care for them, thus beginning an orphanage. By 1838, the Sisters’ soup kitchen was providing some 2,000 poor with a daily ration. Expenses never seemed to worry Sister Rosalie as, indeed, she saw the open hand of Providence securing what was needed for God’s poor.

During the revolution of 1848, her relationship with the poor inhabitants of the Mouffetard district was such that she was able to put an end to the bloodshed. Like another hero, Archbishop Denis Auguste Affre of Paris, killed by a bullet from the height of the barricades when he sought to end the revolutionaries’ violence, Sister Rosalie fearlessly climbed to the top of the barricades in her district and addressed the crowd: “Do you think that I want to go on living when my children are being slaughtered? Stop this shooting! Haven’t I enough widows and orphans to care for? Do you want to give me more?” Though the fighting continued elsewhere in the city, the struggle ceased there. In 1852, to acknowledge her years of dedication, Emperor Napoleon III bestowed on Sister Rosalie the cross of the Legion of Honor. Seeing that she did not wear it, he sent, in 1854, a gold cross he hoped she would wear, since it contained relics of Saint Vincent de Paul.

Rosalie Rendu gradually lost her sight and contracted other illnesses. She died 7 February 1856, at age seventy, from the effects of pleurisy. She had given fifty-four years of her life to the care of the poor.”

– from Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac: Rules, Conferences, and Writings, Frances Ryan, D.C. and John E. Rybolt, C.M., Editors p. 71

For further study, please take advantage of the multimedia resources at VinFormation: Tagged “Blessed Rosalie”.

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