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Anne de Xainctonge

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Anne de Xainctonge (November 21, 1567 - June 8, 1621) was the founder of the Society of St. Ursula and has been beatified by the Roman Catholic Church.

She was born in Dijon, the daughter of Jean de Xainctonge, who was a councillor in the local parliament, and his wife Lady Marguerite Collard, both of whom were members of the nobility. She grew up near a Jesuit college and was thus inspired at an early age with the idea of forming an uncloistered school for women, working within a Jesuit framework.

She began trying to found this school around 1590 but met with a great deal of resistance from the Jesuits and others. In 1596 she left Dijon for Dole, which was at that time a Spanish city. Here, on June 16, 1606, she created the first school in what would later become the Society of the Sisters of St. Ursula of the Blessed Virgin. In addition to the original school, seven more were established by de Xainctonge during her lifetime. She died in Dôle at the age of 53.

Due to her work she was considered a candidate for beatification soon after her death, but the French Revolution and other wars of the period led to the destruction of many documents necessary for this (other sources add that de Xainctonge herself asked that her personal writings be burned after her death). Her beatification was therefore not completed until November 24, 1900. Her holy day is the date of her death, June 8.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Catholic Encyclopedia.

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