Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration

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(Quimper, France).

An institute of nuns devoted to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and to the education of orphan children; founded at Quimper (Brittany), by Abbé François-Marie Langrez (b. at Saint Servan, 20 July, 1787; d. at Quimper, 10 August, 1862). In early youth Francois-Marie had been an apprentice rope-maker, but he began to study the classics at sixteen, and was ordained 19 December, 1812. In December, 1821, he conceived the first idea of the work he subsequently founded. Two poor homeless little girls crossed his path. He confided them to Marguerite Le Maître, a domestic servant. Other orphans were found and sheltered. In 1826 Marguerite's home contained an oratory and was provided with a dormitory holding thirty beds. Three years later she received her first two co-labourers, and on 21 November, 1829, the first chapel of the institute was opened. In 1832, Mlle Olympe de Moelien, in whose family Marguerite Le Maitre had been a servant when she began her charitable work, entered the little society, being made superioress, 10 March, 1833. On 20 January, 1835, Mère Olympe and her companions first put on the religious habit. In September, 1835 a tentative rule of life was drawn up by Abbé Langrez. In March, 1836, the first sisters made their vows. On 27 March, 1837, Sister Marguerite Le Maître died. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament which was begun in March, 1836, did not become perpetual, day and night, till 1843, eight days after the death of Mère Olympe, who left after her a great reputation for sanctity. At that time the community numbered 11 choir sisters, 4 postulants, and had charge of 70 children. In 1845 their rule was approved by Mgr Graveran, Bishop of Quimper. A little later they were recognized by the Government under the title of Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration. On 10 May, 1851, a house was founded at Recouvrance, transferred, 28 October, 1856, to Coat-ar-Guéven, near Brest. This and the house at Quimper are the only ones that practise perpetual adoration. In 1882, the institute contained 400 orphan girls and 128 religious. Since its foundation, it has received 1754 orphan girls, of whom 1000 have embraced the religious life in different congregations.

Arthur Letellier.