At 22, Joan Antida Thouret left her home and joined the Daughters of Charity.
This life is an exile– a desert we must cross to reach our only true homeland which is heaven.
– Saint Joan Antida Thouret
In 1793, when the French Revolution was at its height, all religious congregations were banned and Jeanne Antide was forced to leave the Daughters of Charity. All of the Sisters were disbanded and sent back to their hometowns.
She returned to her home knowing she would carry on what she had learned through St. Vincent de Paul. She cared for the sick, the wounded, and the poor-– all of which grew numerous during the chaos of the French Revolution. Jeanne Antide also taught the children, helped the priests who were forced to hide, and gathered Christians in prayer.
She fled France and escaped to Switzerland. When she decided to return to France she did so on foot, alone, without a passport and through unknown places at the risk of her own life.
Representatives from her diocese of Besançon, also in exile, made a request of her to continue on to France and take in young girls whom she should train in the same way she was trained. She accepted this request and in 1799 she opened a school, a dispensary, and a soup kitchen for the poor in Besancon. She had founded a new congregation.