PAULINE Marie Jaricot, the foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith—one of the four Pontifical Mission Societies—was Beatified on Sunday May 22 in her home city of Lyon.
She was proclaimed Blessed in a solemn Eucharistic celebration held at the Lyon Expo, which saw more than 12,000 faithful in attendance from all over the world.
At the Beatification ceremony, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle—Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, who presided over the Eucharist together with more than 500 priests from five continents—told the faithful present: "Pauline Jaricot was a woman who loved Jesus Christ, letting Him, the Word of God, live, act and love in her and through her. We see in her a living testimony of the power of love for Jesus, a love that identifies with Jesus.”
Cardinal Tagle—together with the Archbishop of Lyon, Olivier de Germay—welcomed the 120 National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies who wanted to pay tribute to the Pauline during the annual General Assembly of the PMS in Lyon. All of them were there to recognise the work of a woman who, during a life dedicated to evangelisation, founded exactly 200 years ago a work that can be summed up in the motto, ‘a prayer and a penny for the missions’ and that was decisive for the growth and development of the particular Churches in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania.
Noting Pauline’s extraordinary spiritual and missionary insights, Cardinal Tagle added: "The Holy Spirit opens new paths, so that the Word and love of Jesus can reach more people. Pauline Jaricot was docile to the Holy Spirit who pushed her with new ideas and initiatives to spread the Gospel and serve the poor. In this she followed the great spiritual, missionary and social tradition of the Church of Lyon.”
The local Catholic community, led by Archbishop de Germay, showed enthusiasm and emotion in welcoming the new blessed, ‘a contemplative and active woman at the same time,’ Archbishop de Germany remarked, underlining that, stressing that, at the end of her life, as a rich woman she found herself poor, humiliated, forgotten by all and in conditions of poverty.
Cardinal Tagle recalled that Pauline ‘accepted the loss of all things to gain Christ’ (Philippians 3:8), ending up in misery, having spent her life serving the poor and exploited, near and far. However, Pauline, at the foot of the cross, did not lose her peace of heart and hope in God.
"Serving Jesus in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, leads to eternal beatitude,” the Prefect of Propaganda Fide recalled. “It is the peace of Jesus. The peace of Christ gave Pauline Jaricot serenity, patience and courage to face physical difficulties, calumnies and humiliations.”
"The new Blessed lived her love for Jesus, by being a missionary of the Church, a sister of the poor and an instrument of universal brotherhood,” Cardinal Tagle concluded.
During the celebration, a relic of Pauline’s heart was brought to the altar, entrusted to the hands of a teenager, Mayline Tran—who, ten years ago when she was three years old—choked on a mouthful of food and ended up in a coma. After a chain of prayer and a Novena of prayer to Pauline Jaricot, the doctors certified the girl's extraordinary recovery. After the diocesan process and the subsequent examination by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in 2020 Pope Francis recognised the miracle worked by God through the intercession of Venerable Pauline Jaricot, paving the way for her Beatification.
For his part, the Holy Father also paid tribute to Pauline on the same day in the Vatican after the Regina Caeli prayer with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square.
"This faithful lay woman lived during the first half of the 1800s,” Pope Francis said. “She was a courageous woman, attentive to the changes taking place at the time, and had a universal vision regarding the Church’s mission. May her example enkindle in everyone the desire to participate through prayer and charity in the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. A round of applause for the new Blessed!"
In a message that was read during the Beatification Mass, the Holy Father joined the joy of the Church in Lyon, hoping that ‘the figure of the new Blessed, around whom you are gathered today, may be an inspiration and a strength to continue walking together towards the Lord Jesus.’
The Pope then recalled that Pauline dedicated her entire life to the mission, to the service of the poor and to prayer.
"Let our charity be as inventive and effective as hers, let us learn to generously offer what we are, our talents to God and to our brothers, especially the poorest, to give our means to support the mission that belongs to all of us in the Church to bring the Gospel to the world,” the Pope said.
In conclusion, the Holy Father stressed that Pauline's prayer life must constantly remind us ‘that we must seek holiness.’
“May this Beatification be an occasion for a greater rooting of all in charity and for a renewed impetus in the common journey of each one towards holiness,” the Holy Father said, sending his Apostolic Blessing.
Back in Lyon, the entire city celebrated and honoured Pauline, whose visitors and pilgrims also had the chance get to know better also thanks to the exhibition organised in the Basilica of Fourviere, which houses historical testimonies on her life and on the spiritual movement that she initiated. The exhibition of historical copies of the ‘Annals of the Propagation of the Faith’ stood out in the exhibition, publications initiated by Pauline with the aim of transmitting news of the missions to all the Baptised and sensitising them, so that they have the heart, the mind and open hands to support those who are committed to the proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
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