With other members of her group, she began to collect money for the Society every Friday in the streets of Lyon. From this emerged the organization known at first as the Association of the Propagation of the Faith and later as the Society of the Propagation of the Faith.
In 1922, Pius XI would add the title “Pontifical” and today it is the oldest of four Pontifical Mission Societies, an umbrella group of Catholic missionary societies under the pope’s authority.
As the initiative spread, Jaricot’s spiritual father asked her to devote herself yet more intensely to prayer. It was a difficult time for her because she wanted to be active. But in this period, she wrote the book “Infinite Love in the Divine Eucharist,” a simple but profound meditation on the Eucharist read by generations of French Catholics.
In 1825, Pope Leo XII organized a great Jubilee, asking Catholics to pray the rosary for the protection of the Church and the world from dangers such as anti-clericalism and irreligion.
In response, Jaricot founded the Association of the Living Rosary. The idea was simple: 15 members of a group would combine together to recite the full 15 decades of the rosary every day. The initiative was a great success in France and soon spread beyond it.
Several Living Rosary groups continue to thrive in Lyon. Their members sometimes meet in locations associated with Jaricot, such as the Maison de Lorette. She acquired the house on the Fourvière Hill in 1832. Together with other women, she formed a small lay community there called the Filles de Marie (“Daughters of Mary”). They followed a rigorous routine of prayer and activities such as promoting the Living Rosary and visiting the sick.
Jaricot’s health was precarious and in 1835, she set off for Mugnano, a town in southern Italy hosting the relics of St. Philomena. She was drawn there by stories of miracles obtained through the saint’s intercession.
On the feast of St. Philomena, Jaricot received Communion near the shrine containing the relics. Seated in an invalid chair, she experienced a healing later known as the “great miracle of Mugnano.” The chair can be viewed at the shrine today.
When she returned from Italy, Jaricot brought back some small relics, which she offered to St. John Vianney.
Thanks to the Society of the Propagation of the Faith and Association of the Living Rosary, Jaricot’s fame spread far and wide. She received letters from around the world from missionaries and Church figures. But her final years were marked by deep suffering and lived in the shadow of the Cross.
At the time of her conversion, Jaricot had heard Jesus ask her in prayer: “Would you like to suffer and die for me?” She wrote in a notebook that “I offered myself as a victim to the divine Majesty.”
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Appalled by the condition of Lyon’s workers, she offered to buy a factory in 1845 that she hoped would serve as a model Christian enterprise. But she was swindled and the project was a great failure. She spent the rest of her life trying to pay off the debts of those she had convinced to invest alongside her.
Her reputation diminished greatly and, at the end of her life, she was included in the list of the city’s poor. She died almost alone in 1862.
After her death, a long text was discovered that is considered her spiritual testament. It contains these words: “My hope is in Jesus! My only treasure is the Cross! I will bless the Lord at all times and his praise will be continually in my mouth.”
Jaricot is best known for the organizations she founded. But her beatification on May 22 will draw attention to her deep spiritual life, marked by devotion to the Eucharist and the Cross, surrender to the divine will, and unfailing hope in God. Her relationship with God was so intense that some authors have described her as a mystic comparable to the great St. Catherine of Siena.