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Daughters of the Holy Cross
(Also called the Sisters of St. Andrew).
The aim of this congregation is to instruct poor country girls, to provide refuges for the young exposed to temptation, to prepare the sick for death, and to care for churches. The sisters make yearly vows for five years, after which the vows are perpetual. The congregation, which is subject to diocesan control, was established at Guinnetiere, near Béthines, in the Diocese of Vienne, France, in 1806. In Dec., 1811, the mother-house was erected at Maillé, and six years later the constitutions were approved by Mgr. de Beauregard, Bishop of Montauban. Government recognition was granted in 1819 and renewed in 1826. In 1820 the foundress purchased the ancient abbey at La Puye, which then became the headquarters of the institute. In 1839 Pius VIII granted many indulgences and spiritual favours to the members. The establishment of a branch at Issy, near Paris, in 1817 under the protection of the royal family, helped to develop the congregation, which spread rapidly, and foundations were made at Parma in 1851 under ducal patronage, and at Rome in 1856. At the time of the dispersion of the French orders in 1905, the Sisters of St. Andrew had 400 houses in France, 9 in Italy, and 9 in Spain, with a membership of over 3000 nuns. The two founders of the congregation were: André-Hubert Fournet, Vicar-General of Poitiers, b. at Maillé on 6 Dec., 1752; educated at Chatelleraud and Poitiers; ordained 1778; who died at La Puye on 13 May, 1834; and Jeanne-Marie-Elizabeth-Lucie Bichier des Ages, born near Le Blanc, Indre, on 3 July, 1772; she had been a prisoner for the Faith during the Revolution, and died at La Puye on 26 Aug., 1838.
[Note: Andrew Fournet was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933, Elizabeth Bichier des Ages by Pope Pius XII in 1947.]
HEIMBUCHER, Die Orden und Kongregationen, III (Paderborn, 1908), 380; HELYOT, Dict. des ordres religieux, IV (Paris, 1859), 342-64.
A. A. MacErlean.