Marie-Louise Trichet (Marie-Louise de Jésus) is, with St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, the co-foundress of the Congregation of religious women called Daughters of Wisdom.
Born in Poitiers (France) on May 7th 1684, she was baptized the same day. She was the fourth child of a family of eight and received a solid Christian education within her family and at school. At seventeen, she met for the first time Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort who had just been appointed chaplain of the hospital of Poitiers. His reputation as a preacher and confessor was already widespread amongst the youth of this region of Poitou.
Marie-Louise offered her services spontaneously to the hospital: she devoted most of her time to the poor and the sick. But then Louis-Marie de Montfort asked her to come and "live" there. Marie-Louise responded with a total agreement to this call. There was no vacancy as governess at the hospital... so be it, Marie-Louise asked to be admitted as a "poor person". She was nineteen years old.
"You will become as mad as this priest", her mother had told her. What an idea when one is beautiful, young and of a good family to dress oneself in this grey habit (February 2nd 1703) and to spend one's time taking care of tramps, the sick and plague victims! What folly to follow "this mad priest"!
For ten years, Marie-Louise would fulfill, in the most perfect manner possible, her humble duty as a nurse. Louis-Marie de Montfort had left Poitiers, Marie-Louise was alone.
The famous cross that Montfort had drawn is planted at the center of the hospital. Marie-Louise wore a cross on her grey habit, but above all she carried it in her heart. In fact she had to live the exhausting daily service, the absence of companions, the death of two of her sisters and of her brother, a young priest, carried off by the plague, victim of his dedication.
It was the beginning of an adventure which is the very story of the Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom :
The young congregation was deeply distressed by this news, as painful as it was sudden. Marie-Louise experienced a saying written by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort: "If we do not risk something for God, we do not accomplish anything great for Him".
For forty-three years, Marie-Louise de Jésus, alone, would form her companions, direct and develop the foundations which multiplied: small charitable schools; visits and nursing care to the sick; giving food to beggars; administration of the great maritime hospitals of France.
The poor people of the Hospital of Niort (Deux-Sèvres) called her "good Mother Jesus". This name typifies her! Her life's program was very simple: "I must love God hidden in my neighbour" (Refrain of a hymn composed by Louis-Marie de Montfort and dedicated to the Daughters of Wisdom).
When she died at St. Laurent sur Sèvre (Vendée) on April 28th 1759, the Congregation was composed of 174 sisters distributed in 36 communities and the Mother-House. Louis-Marie de Montfort and Marie-Louise de Jésus both rest in the parish church of St. Laurent.
Since then, thousands and thousands of Daughters of Wisdom (more than 16800) have found Wisdom in the Folly of the Love of God and of the Poor. Today, more than 2 500 are pursuing this adventure on five continents.
On May 16th 1993, Marie-Louise de Jésus (Trichet) was beatified by Pope John-Paul II in Rome.
On September 19th 1996, Pope John-Paul II came to meditate and pray on the tombs of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort and Blessed Marie-Louise de Jésus at St. Laurent sur Sèvre (Vendée).
By her life and works, Marie-Louise de Jésus revealed a message so typical today: promotion of the whole human person and service of the poorest for the love of Jesus Christ Wisdom.