Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey the foundress of the congregation of sisters of St.Joseph of Cluny was a French Nun.

She was born in the commune of Jallanges, the fifth of ten children of a local wealthy farm couple, Balthazar and Claudine Javouhey. Being a born leader, her hidden qualities for religious life began to shine forth even at the age of 11 when the French Revolution broke out in 1790 as she courageously helped the persecuted priests to offer holy sacrifice and carry out other priestly duties. At the age of 19 she became clearer of her call to religious life and made a private vow because she could not become a nun then as the revolutionary Govt. had closed all convents and churches. Later on she joined the Sisters of Charity at Besancon.

She moved from convent to convent, never being fully satisfied. In 1804 when Pope Pius VII, came to France for the coronation of Napoleon, had an interview with the four Javouhey sisters and he encouraged them in their vocation. As other young women joined them, Anne went to the Bishop of Autun who advised her to draw up a Rule of Life and then apply to have Statutes for the young Society. The Emperor approved these on 12 December 1806 and encouraged them to pursue their vocation.

On 12 May 1807, nine young women pronounced their vows of consecration before the Bishop of Autun in St. Peter’s Church, Chalon. “Now we are religious!” wrote Sister Anne-Marie who from then on gave free reign to her dynamic spirit. She founded the congregation to educate children and to help reduce the miseries which arose out of the French Revolution. By 1890 the scope of the order expanded to include work in other countries.

At the government’s request, Mother Javouhey undertook some very unusual tasks. For example, she spent four years supervising the establishment of a colony for blacks at Mana, French Guiana. Then in 1834 she accepted the most remarkable assignment of her life. Six hundred slaves were to be liberated in Guiana, and she was asked to prepare them for emancipation by training them in the ways of religion and civilized society. As each family was ready to be freed, Mother Javouhey arranged for them to have money, some land, and a cottage.

Thus she became the recipient of titles such as Liberator of Slaves, Mother of the town of Mana , First woman Missionary and so on……

When A.M.J. died in 1851 her sisters were in 32 countries and colonies