Blessed Joan Delanoue
Feast Day: August 17
Born: 1666 :: Died: 1736
Joan Delanoue was born in a town called Saumur, in France and was the youngest of twelve children. Her family had a small but successful business. Her father died when she was very young and then when her widowed mother died, she left the store to Joan.
Joan was not a bad girl, but she thought only of making money. She committed many little sins to do it. She had once been very good and used to pray a lot, but now there was little love in her heart.
Her mother had always been generous to beggars but Joan, would buy food only just in time for dinner. So if any beggars came to the door during the day, she would say to them: "I have nothing to give you."
Joan was not happy living like this. At last, when she was twenty-seven, a good priest helped her start living up to her faith with love and eagerness.
Then she finally saw that her "business" was to give away money, not hoard it. Joan began taking care of poor families and orphans. Then one day, she closed her shop completely to be able to spend more time with them.
People called her house full of orphans, "Providence House." Later, she convinced other young women to help her. They became the Sisters of Blessed Anne of Providence in Joan's town Saumur.
Joan lived a very self-sacrificing life and performed hard penances. Blessed Grignon de Montfort met Joan. He thought at first that her pride was causing her to be so hard on herself. But then he realized that her heart was really full of love of God.
He said: "Go on in the way you have begun. God's Spirit is with you. Follow his voice and fear no more." Joan died peacefully at the age of seventy, on August 17, 1736.
The people of Saumur said, "That little shopkeeper did more for the poor of Saumur than all the town councilors put together. What a woman! And what a holy person!"
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