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The missionary fervor of young Pauline Jaricot, soon to be Blessed

Although the celebration of the 95th World Mission Day has just ended for the whole Church, we are already looking ahead to next year, when several anniversaries linked to the missionary world will be celebrated.

Giovanni Tridente-October 26, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes
pauline Jaricot

Photo: © OPM

First of all, the 400th anniversary of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, whose creation is traced back to Pope Gregory XV on June 22, 1622. But, by happy coincidence, we will also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the first missionary work, called "for the Propagation of the Faith" and founded as an Association on May 3, 1822 on the initiative of a young woman from Lyon, Pauline Marie Jaricot. One hundred years later, Pope Pius XI declared it a "Pontifical Work".

After the persecutions

The missionary fervor of the young Lyonnaise was born in the context of a Church that was emerging from the harsh persecution of the French Revolution. After a well-to-do life, in 1816 Pauline took a vow of chastity and chose as the motivation of her life devotion to the Eucharist and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Nine young women factory workers initially gathered around her and, as a first action, committed themselves to finding ten other people who would pray and donate a penny a week for the Missions, a project that inflamed many hearts and spread rapidly.

The spirit with which Pauline animated this project meant that, at the same time that the seed of evangelization was taken to "distant" lands, the opportunities for evangelization of "nearby" people were promoted.

Living Rosary

Passionate about spreading the Kingdom of God, she was firmly convinced that missionary work did not derive its effectiveness from human resources, but exclusively from God. In 1826, she founded the "Living Rosary" movement: groups of people who are entrusted each month, after a Eucharist, with a Mystery of the Rosary to pray for the missions. His life was marked by the cross, and he spent the last period of his life in absolute poverty.

From that first seed were born, therefore, the famous Works that today are recognized as the driving force of missionary formation and animation throughout the world, which through prayer and sacrifice contribute to spreading the Word of God, Eucharistic Adoration and the missionary Rosary, especially in those lands that are often difficult to reach, also because of material impracticality or a shortage of baptized people. Practically, those mission lands that are under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which each local Church is called to support annually, also financially.

The beatification

Also next year, on May 22, 2022, Pauline Jaricot will be beatified in Lyon. She was declared Venerable by John XXIII on February 25, 1963. The miracle recognized through her intercession concerned the healing of little Mayline, who was a victim of asphyxia in 2012, aged only three and a half years.

After several weeks in coma and with a prognosis declared irreversible by the doctors, who also wanted to disconnect life support, Mayline began to show signs of improvement until she was completely cured. A fact declared as "inexplicable" by the medical committee that evaluated her.

However, while she was in a coma, fifteen days after the accident, the parents of the school Mayline attended decided to pray a novena to the Venerable Pauline Jaricot together with the then archbishop of the diocese of Lyon, which at the time was celebrating the 150th anniversary of the young missionary's birth.

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