Jaricot's network, the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, became the first of the Church's four pontifical mission societies.
In May, Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Pauline-Marie Jaricot, who may now be beatified.
Nowak said that the miracle received through Jaricot's intercession "involved a very young girl who experienced acute suffocation, which resulted in her losing consciousness."
"Her condition was so grim that she had to be kept alive by artificial life support. From a medical standpoint, there was no hope of recovery for the girl and the doctors suggested detaching her from life support systems," Nowak explained.
"The parents refused to give up and began a novena of prayers through Pauline's intercession. Spontaneously, and without any medical explanation, the girl revived and was restored to perfect health."
Though the miracle is dramatic, Pauline's life had a quality of holiness "that she radiated throughout her life," he said.
Jaricot was born to a middle-class family after the French Revolution. She was the youngest of seven children. After losing her mother when she was 17, she took a vow of perpetual virginity and devoted herself to prayer.
"She became devoted to Eucharistic Adoration, helping the poor and had a deep desire to have the Gospel of Christ reach the ends of the earth," Nowak said.
Her Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith "was a simple concept that had far-reaching consequences," he noted. She invited friends, who were employees of her father's silk factory, to pray for the missions and to offer one penny a week for the Church's mission.
Each of these people were invited to find and form a group of another 10 people, and so on.
Nowak said: "What occurred was nothing short of a miracle. These groups of 10 multiplied and became teams of 100, then of 1,000. In a short time, the movement spread throughout her Diocese of Lyon in France, throughout the country, and eventually it became a worldwide network of prayer and charity for the support of the Church's mission."
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"Today she is an inspiration for us all, especially for the laity," he continued. "Pauline is a wonderful example of engaging fully the grace of Baptism for the work of the Kingdom of God and for the mission of the Church."
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.