Co Founder of the Daughters of the Cross
St. Andrew Fournet was born on December 6, 1752. He was from Maille, a little town near Poitiers, in France. Andrew's parents were religious people. Mrs. Fournet had her heart set on Andrew becoming a priest. The little boy heard this more often than he cared to. Once he declared, "I'm a good boy, but I'm still not going to be a priest or monk."
When he grew up, he went to Poitiers to study college subjects. But that did not last long. He was having too good of a time. His mother followed him and steered him to good occupations. But they fell through, one after another. His mother was frantic. There was only one more possibility. She talked Andrew into going to stay for a while with his uncle, a priest. His uncle's parish was poor and his uncle was a holy man. For some unpredictable reason, Andrew agreed. This was God's "teachable moment."
Andrew's uncle recognized his nephew's good qualities. His own example sparked something in Andrew and he settled down. He began to study seriously and to make up for lost time. He was ordained a priest and was assigned to his uncle's parish. In 1781, he was transferred to his home parish in Maille. His mother was jubilant. He had become a caring, prayerful priest.
When the French Revolution began, St. Andrew refused to take an oath that was against the Church. He became a hunted man. In 1792, he was forced to flee to Spain. There he remained for five years. But he worried about his people and went back to France. The danger was as great as before. Father Fournet was protected by his flock. He nearly escaped death several times. Meanwhile, he heard confessions, celebrated the Eucharist, gave the Last Rites.
When the Church was free again, St. Andrew came out of hiding. He was always inviting his people to love and serve God. One of the good ladies from the area, St. Elizabeth Bichier des Ages, helped St. Andrew very much. Together they started an order of sisters called the Daughters of the Cross. St. Elizabeth's feast day is August 26.
St. Andrew died on May 13, 1834, at the age of eighty-two. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI on June 4, 1933.
Reflection: Let us always ask God to fulfill the good work he has begun in us that we might live freely and completely.