Mother Foundress

Claudine Thevenet was a woman called by GOD to lay the foundation for the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus & Mary in 1818 in France. Her work was born in a heart crushed by the pain of personal tragedy. During the French Revolution, two of her brothers were shot to death before her eyes in 1794. For nineteen year old Claudine, the tragedy metamorphosed to a decisive turning point in her life. God works in wondrous ways to realize 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. A few of her companions in the course took an arduous journey from France and made their way to India in 1842 to undertake the education of girls. Claudine’s ideal was to make ‘God known and loved’ by means of Christian education in all social milieu. This ideal remains the aim of the congregation whose preference, inherited from the Foundress, is for the young, and among these, for the poor.

What kind of women did she wish to form through her work with the young ?

  • 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 for her Religious and their lay collaborators?

  • To be living witnesses in their own lives....of 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 very impartial.
  • To have great 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 pretense.

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 in 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 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 self; for making a reality of the dream which God has for each one 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 in love remains the best reform we can offer. The finest methods affect nothing without love.

On 21st March, 1993 Pope John Paul II raised her to the ranks of a Saint, thereby acknowledging in her, the highest degrees of virtue and heroism.

We Sisters continue her good work all over the world. Our Sisters from France came to Agra-India in 1842 and today there are 34 institutions in this sub-continent.The Convent of Jesus and Mary, Ambala was founded on 2nd December, 1909. The aims and objectives of our school are none other than those of the Foundress.... to give a truly Christian education to young girls... imparting in them Christian values of faith in God, love, truthfulness, forgiveness, respect for others, dedication, self-reliance, contentment... a sound foundation in character building and an all-round development of the total person which, in turn, enable them to build a just and humane world.

On 2nd Dec. 2009 our school completed 100 years of service to Ambala Society. This landmark event was acknowledged by parents, collaborators and well-wishers. The century was fruitful with the blessings of God and our beloved Mother Foundress.

Thought for the day

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

~ Nelson Mandela