Monday, August 10, 2020

Saints for Today: Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, Religious (1566-1618)

Must Read

“Ojo de Gallo”: A Nostalgic Narrative of San Rafael

This “nostalgic narrative of historic San Rafael” by Josephine Barela is being published posthumously by her friends, Margaret and...

A History of the Old Mining Missions in Cibola County NM, Part 1

By Sr. Ellen Corcoran, SCSJA and Elizabeth Kelley Our Lady of Sorrows, Seboyeta (Cebolleta), NM The following history is by Elizabeth...

What We Like About Catholic Schools, With Sr. Annie and 7th-Graders Abrianna and Kaylie

"I'm learning right along with them and I'm really happy with the school...when you walk in there it was like home."
Dr. Jean Lee
Jean M. Lee, M.A., D.Min., is a licensed behavioral health and substance abuse counselor, founding a nonprofit, state-licensed behavior health counseling agency and Christian gift/book store. Volunteer work includes: Jail ministry, Legion of Mary membership, door-to-door evangelization, and writing a weekly newspaper column titled “Faith and Inspiration: Encyclopedia of Saints for Today.” A Catholic revert after 32 years away from the Church, she is devout in the Catholic faith, loves the saints, and lives a deeper spiritual/religious and more joyful life since returning to the Church.

Feast Day: April 18

Born to wealthy parents in Paris, France, Barbe Avrillot was a student in a religious house of the Order of Saint Clare, near Paris, from the age of 11 to 14. She was devout and unworldly, and determined to enter a religious order, but her parents opposed her plan. On her 16th birthday she was married to Pierre Acarie, a wealthy nobleman, and went on to have six children. The beautiful, wealthy, and attractive young wife, however, had no other thought than to love God with her whole heart and to strive to please him—now, of course, by fulfilling her marital duties with the highest possible degree of perfection. She dedicated herself to the children’s spiritual upbringing, and her three daughters all went on to become Carmelites. Her three sons entered the magistracy, the priesthood, and the military.

In the early days of their marriage, Pierre disapproved of Barbe’s taste for romance novels and brought home some pious books instead. Barbe opened one to be polite and the words of Saint Augustine, “He is indeed a miser for whom God is not enough,” captured her attention and deeply touched her. Soon Pierre went from worrying that Barbe was too frivolous to complaining that she spent too much time in church. He had her denounced from the pulpit and temporarily barred from the sacraments.

In 1590 Pierre was caught up in a failed rebellion against the king and went into exile, leaving his financial affairs in chaos and Barbe and her children homeless. She held off their creditors and with no help from Pierre managed to return their family to solvency. She even convinced the king to allow Pierre to return to Paris.

Barbe became well known throughout Paris for her good works. There was a renaissance in religious piety during this period in France, and Barbe became deeply involved in reforms of the religious orders and foundations of new congregations. Inspired by a biography of Saint Teresa of Avila, she founded the first Discalced Carmelite house in France. She helped to found Carmelite convents in Paris (1604), Pontoise (1605), Dijon (1605), and Amiens (1606).

When her husband died in 1613, she entered the Carmelite religious order, taking the name Mary of the Incarnation. She lived in a Carmelite house in Amiens, where her daughter was the superior, and subsequently at Pontoise, taking on the humblest duties, working in the kitchens.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”—Proverbs 31:30

Gallick, Sarah. “The Big Book of Women Saints.” New York, NY: HarperOne, 2007.
Heritage, Andrew, ed. “The Book of Saints: A Day-By-Day Illustrated Encyclopedia.” San Francisco: Weldonowen, 2012.
Holbock, Ferdinand. “Married Saints and Blesseds Through the Centuries.” San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News


CC071: The Importance of Marriage

What makes the sacrament of marriage so beautiful, and how can couples navigate the challenges and joys that come from a lifelong commitment to one another?


Other recent stories:

From addict to the diaconate

Marty Smith was on a literal road to death - until the night he saw the Devil. That encounter changed his life forever.

Where to give and receive help during the Coronavirus

Are you in need of help, or would you like to give back in some way to your local community? Contact any of these organizations.

Meet the Diocese’s New Director of Religious Education

The Director of Religious Education oversees mission work, youth ministry, and catechesis for the whole diocese.

One Loss, One Win: Supreme Court Prioritizes Abortion in One Case but Supports Religious Education in Another

The U.S. Bishops spoke out against one ruling and in favor of another.


More Articles Like This