Mother Mary de Sales Chappuis (1793-1875)
Born in Soyhieres, Switzerland in 1793, young Marie Therese enjoyed an early experience of Visitation life when she was sent to the monastery in Fribourg as a boarding student while only twelve years old. She entered the religious life of that community at age twenty-two and made her first profession of vows a year later, in 1816. In 1826 she became the Superior of the monastery in Troyes; over the course of her religious life, she was re-elected to this position eleven times! No wonder, then, that she is affectionately known as "the Good Mother."
To the monastery in Troyes came a young chaplain, Fr. Louis Brisson, who would serve in that capacity for thirty years. He and the Good Mother first met at the monastery in Paris in 1842. Upon Mother Chappuis' return from Paris to Troyes in 1844, she began disclosing to Fr. Brisson the "project" that she believed to be divinely inspired, namely, the foundation of a religious community of priests formed in the spirit of St. Francis de Sales. As she would often say to the young chaplain, "What you are doing is, of course, very good, but what you are going to do will have much greater results." After years of reluctance on his part, Fr. Brisson finally gave in ... but only after several mysterious, if not miraculous, interventions, including an apparition of Our Lord in the parlor of the monastery.
The Good Mother would continue to advise, strengthen, and direct Fr. Brisson in this new foundation and in the foundation, with Leonie Aviat, of the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales. He would later become her principal biographer. Mary de Sales Chappuis died at Troyes in 1875. The cause for her canonization was introduced at Rome in 1897.
To learn more ...
- ► "Mary de Sales Chappuis as Apostle of the Salesian Spirit" (by Alexander Pocetto, OSFS)