Ven. Jean Gailhac - France

Founder of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary

Ven. Jean Gailhac was born in Béziers, France on November 13, 1802. He entered the major seminary in Montpellier in 1821 and was ordained by Bishop Nicolas Fournier for the Diocese of Montpellier on September 23, 1826. As a young priest he taught philosophy and helped in the religious formation of the students at the seminary.

On September 12, 1828, Father Jean Gailhac was assigned as chaplain to the civil and military hospital of the city of Béziers where he met many women who suffered from illnesses which were the result of prostitution. These women were mostly uneducated and had neither family nor social support. With the help of friends, he founded the Good Shepherd, a shelter for these women.

Over the course of the years, Father Gailhac spoke with his friends Eugene Cure and his wife Appollonie Cure. The Cures were devoted to the works that Father Gailhac had undertaken. In 1848 after the death of Eugene Cure, Appollonie Cure decided to devote her funds and her life to work for the education and help of these women and their children. In 1849, Father Gailhac called together Appollonie Cure and five other women : Eulalie Vidal, Rosalie Gibbal, Rose Jeantet, Cécile Cambon, and Marie Roques to form the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Father Gailhac acted as their spiritual director and formator for these women who began their work in the Good Shepherd Refuge for women and an orphanage. Appollonie Cure, now Mother Saint Jean, was named the general superior of the new community.

As the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary grew and expanded to other countries and continents, Father Gailhac kept in contact with them through numerous letters, visits and spiritual treatises until his death on January 25, 1890.

Father Jean Gailhac was declared Venerable by the Roman Catholic Church in 1972.

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