Woman Saint of the Day: St. Jeanne Delanoue, Entrepreneur

Jeanne Delanoue (1666-1736)
foundress of the Congregation of St Anne of Providence

Jeanne Delanoue was born at Samur in Anjoú, France on June 18, 1660. She was the youngest in a family of twelve and was described as self-centered, greedy, and ill-tempered as a child. Her parents owned a business and when her father died, she helped her mother run the store in order to maintain the family. When her mother died in 1691, Jeanne took over the business. Intelligent and hard-working, she made a success of the small business.

Jeanne provided accommodations for pilgrims coming to the shrine of Our Lady of Ardillier. However, she caused great scandal by opening her shop on Sunday. Since her only interest was in making money off the pilgrims, she ignored what others thought and said about her.

It was precisely at this time of great material success in her life, at the age of 27, shortly after the death of her mother, that two mystical experiences occurred, which caused her to have a change of heart. The first was a vision, the second a series of pious exhortations by Frances Souchet, a widowed pilgrim from Rennes. The two events transformed Jeanne's outlook and took her eyes from her secure position in the business world to a more spiritual level. She closed her shop, turned her mind from worldly comfort and success, and began to serve the sick, the abandoned, and the destitute.

Many of Jeanne's companions and other young women including her niece joined her in serving the needy. Thus, the congregation of Saint Anne of Providence was born. Jeanne Delanoue's tenacity and dedication brought about the foundation of Saumur's first home for the poor.

Her charity quickly spread beyond the limits of her diocese. More than that, already there were forty helpers who were under her direction and who had made the decision to follow her example of self-sacrifice, of prayer, and of mortification. Noted for her miraculous healing abilities, she and her companions founded orphanages and hospices throughout France.

At her death, August 17, 1736, Jeanne Delanoue left a dozen communities, as well as homes for the poor and schools. "The saint is dead", they said in Saumur.

Everyone could admire her zeal for work with the poor, but only her closest friends knew about her penances and sacrifices, her life of prayer and her deep union with God. It is from this that her untiring charity proceeded. She was attracted toward all those who suffer, but especially to the poor.

The Sisters of Jeanne Delanoue, as they call themselves today, work in France, Madagascar, and in Sumatra, where they began in 1979.

Jeanne Delanoue was beatified by Pope Pius XII on November 5, 1947 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in October of 1982.


"It is the Spirit of God which animates you and prompts you to this penitential life. Henceforth, then, be without fear and follow your inspirations. "

~ Saint Louis de Montfort to Saint Jeanne Delanoue

Lesson: Money is not a bad thing in and of itself. It is actually a great blessing if it is used according to God's will. Jeanne was so concerned with her own material success that she violated God's law by working on Sunday. She was also blinded to the suffering of those around her and lacked charity toward her neighbors. God made His will clear to her through a vision and the words of a simple, but holy woman. It was her "yes" to Him that resulted in great miracles.

How does God want to use us?

Let us ask God today to open our ears so we may hear His voice to learn the ways in which He wants us to use our talents and gifts to serve Him.

~ copyright Jean M. Heimann August 17, 2009


  1. This Jeanne and entrepreneur thanks you for introducing me to a new saint by the same name!

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




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