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Marie Rose Durocher, Religious, 1811-1949
Eulalie Durocher was born in St. Antoine, Quebec, on October 6, 1811, the tenth of eleven children. While little is known of her early life, it can be assumed from what she accomplished in her relatively short lifetime that she received an excellent education.
When she was sixteen, Eulalie felt a calling to a religious life, but her frail health caused her to be turned away by religious orders. About two years later, when Eulalie was eighteen, her mother died. At that time, a brother who was a priest invited Eulalie and her father to come live with him in the rectory of his parish in Beloeil, a small town near Montreal. Here Eulalie became the housekeeper and became heavily involved in parish functions. Her graciousness and courtesy in these activities led the people to call her “the saint of Beloeil.”
During the years that she served in the parish, Eulalie became very aware of the shortcomings in the education of the children, especially the girls. As was happening in the United States around the same time, the bishop of Montreal, Ignace Bourget, was searching Europe, without much success, for orders of sisters who would come to Canada and open schools.
Knowing Eulalie’s concern for the education of children, her confessor, Fr. Pierre Telmon, with the concurrence of Bishop Bourget, urged her to start such a teaching order. Although reluctant due to her poor health, Eulalie agreed and, together with two companions, founded the Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary.
Eulalie and her companions took their vows as religious in December 1844. Eulalie took the name Marie Rose at that time as she became the superior of the order. This small congregation with three sisters grew quite rapidly as other women, recognizing the need, joined them. Today this teaching order has spread across Canada, into the United States and to South America and Africa.
Mother Marie Rose did not have the opportunity to see most of this growth. Always sickly, Marie Rose died on October 6, 1849. On her death bed, she was heard to repeatedly recite the prayer, “Jesus, Mary, Joseph! Sweet Jesus, I love you. Jesus, be to me Jesus!” With one of her sisters by her side, she smiled at the sister and said to her, “Your prayers are keeping me here—let me go.”
Mother Marie Rose was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 23, 1982. An optional memorial honors her on October 6.
Blessed Marie Rose Durocher is the patron of those suffering from bodily ills, any kind of sickness, and those who have lost their parents.
Marie Rose’s message today: Frailty and ill health did not stop this saint from answering God’s call, first to recognize a need and then to establish an order of nuns to meet that need. Indeed, God gives us all of the strength that we need to answer his call.