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Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin

Called to be the lovers of the world and preachers of hope
Sr. Anney Chummar Maniyamkott OP

Blessed Marie Poussepin

Blessed Marie Poussepin, the Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin was born in Dourdan, France, on October 14, 1653, as the eldest daughter of Claude Poussepin and Julienne Fourrier.  Although they were blessed with six more children, all except Claude, the youngest, died in their infancy.   Her Father, Claude was actively involved in all the parish activities and her mother, Julienne, was treasurer of the confraternity of Charity dedicated to the care of the sick poor and Marie accompanied her mother on her visits to the poor and sick. Marie, a gifted student, pious and open, attended the only school in the town, managed by a group of pious laypeople.

The death of her mother, when she was only 22 years old, was a tragic experience. This was followed by her father’s critical financial problems, illness, and death in the year 1683. The full responsibility for the family as well as for the business rested on her shoulders and she managed it successfully.

 With dramatic setbacks generated by emerging industrialization, she became an innovator of manufacturing techniques in her industry of making stockings, by introducing looms instead of hand knitting and using wool instead of silk, which was more profitable.  Her business was also a prospect for her to provide job opportunities for the young uneducated youth of the town. She contributed much to the economic and social development of the city of Dourdan. At the same time, she cultivated an intense spiritual life supported by charitable activities and the spirituality of the Third Order of St. Dominic. she even took Marie Olivier, a sick widow to her home and cared for her in her own room until her death.


Nevertheless, the Lord called her to a greater vocation. In 1696, after having heard about the ignorance and misery in Sainville, 17 kilometers away from Dourdan, she decided to commit herself totally to the service of charity. Entrusting the enterprise to her brother Claude, she went to Sainville leaving her home, securities, and the fame that surrounded her in Dourdan.   


On November 13, 1697, Marie Poussepin signed an Act in front of the notary, in which she explicitly declares her desire to establish in Sainville "a Community of the Third Order of St. Dominic, for the benefit of the parish, for the instruction of youth and the service of the sick poor”.


The Dominican spirit of Marie Poussepin’s work is manifested through the solidity of its Institution. The spirituality of her institute is both Christo-Centric and Marian. She placed her Community under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the mystery of her Presentation.

Innovative for her time, Marie Poussepin wanted neither cloister nor solemn vows for her sisters: "go wherever you are called" to provide charitable services there. She established the first Dominican Community of women of apostolic life. From 1697 to 1742, she established twenty foundations in six dioceses.

After a   long and totally committed life at the service of God, family, and society, the Lord called her for her well-deserved eternal reward on January 24, 1744, at the age of 90. The epitaph on her tomb speaks for her holy life “Here lies the body of humble, pious and charitable Marie Poussepin.”  The church, officially recognizing the Holiness of Marie Poussepin, beatified her, the “social apostle of charity,” on   November 20, 1994, in Rome.

In 36 countries of Europe, America, Asia, and Africa, the congregation faithful to the spirit of its Foundress, lives the service of charity, through a great diversity of responses to the needs of the world today. The Congregation’s first community in India was established in 1971 in Kuttikkad, Kerala.  Now the Province of India has 17 communities spread out in 11 dioceses of 8 states of India and one in Bucheon, South Korea. Moreover, some of our sisters from India courageously offer their services in the International mission of the Congregation. The Congregation has journeyed throughout these 325 years of history with audacity and creativity. The calls of the Church to respond to the cries of our suffering brothers and sisters continue to challenge us to commit ourselves to being at the side of the poor.

I wish each one of you a pleasant and fruitful journey through our web page, as you listen to Marie Poussepin’s calls today!

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