The Congregation of the Religious of Jesus & Mary was founded by Marie Claudine Thevenet who was born in Lyons, France on March 30th, 1774. Claudine Thevenet was a woman called by God to form the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus & Mary.
On a January day in 1794, the nineteen-year-old Claudine Thevenet, was horrified to discover her two brothers in a line of prisoners being taken to execution by agents of the despotic anti-Catholic Jacobin regime of the French Revolution. She followed them to the execution site, where the two young men, before dying, shouted to her, “Forgive, as we also forgive.” These heart-rending scenes made a deep impression on her. She was convinced that the ignorance of God was the chief cause of turmoil in the world, and hence her one aim was to "form souls for heaven."
God works in wondrous ways to realise His plans. Led by the spirit of God, Claudine opened her door first to welcome orphans. Later, her response to God's call took shape in a total commitment of herself. As a result, a religious family was born.Later, some of them would make an arduous journey from France to India to undertake the education of girls in 1842.
St. Claudine Thevenet (died on 3rd Feb. 1837) devoted herself for this end, towards young people. Her last words: "HOW GOOD GOD IS!" were a summary of her life of total commitment and of complete trust in the goodness of Him who had chosen and called her.
What kind of women did she wish to form in her work with the young? : Women of faith in God, themselves and others who would live their lives in the light of Faith Women capable of being good wives and mothers and creating happy homes Women whose very presence anywhere would exude goodness and touch other lives Women capable of earning a living by their honest work
What did she desire of her Religious and their lay collaborators? : To be a living witness in their own lives... of the values they teach To be completely given to the young and to be real mothers to them To have foresight and thoroughness in preparing and carrying out their duties To be impartial To have simplicity in doing things to please God To be courteous, but without any affectation in their manner, tone of voice, deportment and behavior To be clean and orderly in their work and in their personal appearance, but without pretence
What was her pedagogy? It was a system : Of prevention that foresees and forestalls faults; giving guidance at the opportune time... there is greater delicacy of love implied in removing obstacles than merely healing wounds. Of attention to the individual, stressing the dignity of each person. Of participation and collaboration because love cannot develop except in a united school community. Of giving a practical formation and enabling the young, while living with the present, to prepare for the future. Of social formation... the ability to take their place in society with confidence. A pedagogy based on simplicity and a family spirit. A stimulating pedagogy giving each one the taste for going beyond the self; for making a reality of the dream which God has for each of His children.
Hers was a pedagogy of love... a love that she drew from the Heart of Jesus pierced on the cross for the salvation of all men. Different social structures and environment require new forms of presence and make new demands on our creativity, but today, as in the time of Claudine Thevenet, the work of education is love