Helen de Chappotin (Blessed Mary of the Passion)
Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary
Blessed Mary of the Passion (Helene de Chappotin de Neuville) was born in Nantes, France on 21st May 1839. She grew up in a Christian family and at a very early age she desired to enter religious life with the Poor Clares. It was there that, at the age of 21 she had a profound experience of God which would influence her whole life.
Unfortunately, due to ill health she had to leave the cloister. Later she entered the Society of Mary Reparatrix and was sent to India on mission while she was still a novice. After years of fruitful ministry especially with the local women, very difficult circumstances obliged her to leave for Rome.
On 6th January 1877, she obtained from Pope Pius IX the authorisation to found the Institute of the Missionaries of Mary, with the great support of her companions who had remained in India.
This Institute was dedicated to universal mission.
She then had it affiliated to the Franciscan Order, and in this way rediscovered with joy the inspiration of the earliest beginnings. Contemplation and action, inspired by Mary’s Yes and realised by the total offering of self for the Church and the world, is the spirituality which Mary of the Passion left to her daughters when she died at San Remo on 15th November 1943 at the age of 65.
Pope John Paul II declared her Blessed on 20th October 2002.