Monday, March 09, 2015

Midwife of Mercy -Venerable Rosalie Cadron-Jette

The 1840s were not hospitable to unmarried women who were “in the family way.” Mother and child were typically treated as outcasts. Most unwed mothers or their families sought to avoid what was perceived as a disgrace by concealing the pregnancy, and many babies were dropped off under cover of night at orphanages. Others were abandoned or even killed. 

Some single mothers, however, confessed to Bishop Bourget and pleaded for his help. He turned to the widow Jetté, confident that she would treat them with compassion and find a safe, welcoming place for them.

Rosalie, a midwife’s daughter and the mother of 11 children, was well equipped for this delicate mission. From 1840-45, she assisted 25 women, after which the bishop asked Rosalie if she would establish a religious community dedicated uniquely to this ministry.

“With no other resource but her faith,” Father Sylvestre said, Rosalie responded with a “yes” filled with “hope, obedience and abandonment to God’s will.” 

In 1845, Rosalie convinced her son, Pierre, to let her use the unfinished attic of the house he had just rented. With sparse resources and the help of a companion, Rosalie welcomed 33 women that first year. The refuge was both inadequate and impractical, and a series of moves took place over the next five years before land could be purchased to build a proper maternity home and convent.

After the first year of religious formation (1846-47), eight sisters took the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, together with a fourth vow to serve poor, single mothers. With a view to forming “a corps of midwives,” they soon began formal medical training in obstetrics and gynecology. 

Read the Full Story Here on the Knights of Columbus Website :  Midwife of Mercy

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