Thérèse Couderc

Last updated

Thérèse Couderc
Saint Therese Couderc.jpg
Born(1805-02-01)1 February 1805
Mas de Sablières, Ardèche, First French Empire
Died26 September 1885(1885-09-26) (aged 80)
Lyon, Rhône, French Third Republic
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 4 November 1951, Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope Pius XII
Canonized 10 May 1970, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope Paul VI
Feast 26 September
Attributes Religious habit
Patronage Sisters of the Cenacle

Thérèse Couderc (1 February 1805 26 September 1885) - born Marie-Victoire Couderc - was a French Roman Catholic professed religious and the co-founder of the Sisters of the Cenacle. [1] Couderc underwent humiliations during her time as a nun for she was forced to resign from positions and was ridiculed and mocked due to false accusations made against her though this softened towards the end of her life. She was a spiritual writer having written on sacrifice and service to God. After her death, she left a series of spiritual writings.


Pope Pius XII beatified the late religious in Saint Peter's Basilica on 4 November 1951 and in 1970 she was canonized as a saint by Pope Paul VI.


Marie-Victoire Couderc was born in 1805 in Le Mas [2] as the fourth of twelve children to farmers Claude Michel Corderc (1780-???) and Anne Méry; her parents married in 1801. One sibling was Jean and two others died in their childhood. The surviving children were eight males and two females that included herself (she was the eldest of the girls). In her childhood she attended Mass twice a week. [1] She made her First Communion on Pentecost on 15 May 1815.

In 1822 her parents sent her to a boarding school at Vans and she remained there until 1825 in Lent when her father wanted her to attend a school in their local area. She entered the novitiate after she had met Father Jean-Pierre Etienne Terme in late March 1825 and confided in him her desire to become a religious. [1] Couderc underwent her period of the novitiate in 1825 with the Sisters of Saint Regis, a teaching order in Lalouvesc; she made her perpetual vows on 6 January 1837 with one other. Couderc assumed a religious name when she became a novice.

Couderc and two other sisters were sent to manage a mountain hostel for women pilgrims at the shrine of St. John Francis Regis in Lalouvesc. It became a successful retreat house under her guidance. Couderc co-founded the Sisters of the Cenacle with Father Terme in 1826 and became its superior in 1828. Desirous to provide women a place for recollection in solitude, prayer, and meditation, they resolved to open houses where women might follow the exercises of a retreat. [3]

When the motherhouse was established, Couderc became superior general. In 1828 Terme began to hold Ignatian retreats for the sisters. He continued to do so until his death in December 1834. After Terme's death the order split into the Sisters of Saint Regis who retained their teaching ministry, and the Congregation of Our Lady of the Cenacle, which continued its retreat ministry. The Jesuits then led the retreats. [1]

The regular school teaching of the hostel was separated from the retreats, and this resulted in financial hardship for the sisters. Although she was not at fault, Couderc accepted responsibility. This led, in October 1838, to the Bishop of Viviers Abbon-Pierre-François Bonnel de la Brageresse to remove her from her office and replace her with a new novice as the "Foundress Superior"; Couderc resigned in full on 27 October 1838. [1] The novice led for a few months but did so bad a job the bishop removed her. The Jesuit advisers began replacing her with a succession of wealthy women. [4]

In 1842 she was sent for almost eighteen months alone with one other sister to a small house in Lyon; in 1852 she went to Paris. In November 1856 she was appointed as the superior of the Tournon house until it was to be sold off and so she returned to Lyon. [1] On 20 October 1859 a Jesuit gave a retreat on the topic of Christian sacrifice that had a profound impact on her. At the end of August 1860 she was sent to the house at Montpellier but its closure in 1867 saw her return to Lyon once more.

In the beginning of 1885 she fainted and was unconscious for several hours in an occurrence that left her bedridden until her death. [1] Couderc died on 26 September 1885 and was buried in Lalouvesc.


The beatification cause commenced in an informative process that opened in France in 1920 and concluded its work in 1921 which then led to the approval of all of her spiritual writings from theologians on 23 July 1924; the informative process was validated by the Congregation of Rites on 13 July 1927. The formal introduction to the cause came on 18 July 1927 in which she was titled as a Servant of God - the first official stage in the process.

Pope Pius XI proclaimed Couderc to be Venerable on 12 May 1935 after he confirmed that the late nun lived a life of heroic virtue. Pope Pius XII beatified her on 4 November 1951 after approving two miracles attributed to her intercession while the cause was resumed in a decree issued on 26 July 1953. Pope Paul VI canonized Couderc as a saint on 10 May 1970 after approving two more miracles attributed to her intercession. [4] [5]


To Surrender Oneself

In 1864 Couderc wrote:

I understand the full extent of the expression to surrender oneself, but I cannot explain it. I only know that it is very vast, that it embraces both the present and the future.
To surrender oneself is more than to devote oneself, more than to give oneself, it is even something more than to abandon oneself to God. In a word, to surrender oneself is to die to everything and to self, to be no longer concerned with self except to keep it continually turned toward God.
To surrender oneself is, moreover, no longer to seek oneself in anything, either for the spiritual or the physical, that is to say, no longer to seek one's own satisfaction, but solely the divine good pleasure.
It should be added that to surrender oneself is also to follow that spirit of detachment which clings to nothing, neither to persons nor to things, neither to time nor to place. It means to adhere to everything, to accept everything, to submit to everything.
But perhaps you will think that this is very difficult to do. Do not let yourself be deceived. There is nothing so easy to do, nothing so sweet to put into practice. The whole thing consists in making a generous act once and for all, saying with all the sincerity of your soul: "My God, I wish to be entirely thine; deign to accept my offering." And all is said. But from then on, you must take care to keep yourself in this disposition of soul and not to shrink from any of the little sacrifices which can help you advance in virtue. You must always remember that you have surrendered yourself.
I pray to our Lord to give an understanding of this word to all souls desirous of pleasing him and to inspire them to take advantage of so easy a means of sanctification. Oh! If people could just understand ahead of time the sweetness and peace that are savored when nothing is held back from the good God! How he communicates himself to the one who seeks him sincerely and has known how to surrender herself. Let them experience it and they will see that here is found the true happiness they are vainly seeking elsewhere.

The surrendered soul has found paradise on earth. [4]


In 1866, Couderc reported having a vision of goodness which was a defining moment for her life and spirituality, and which she describes in a letter to Mother de Larochenégly:

A few days ago, I saw something that consoled me very much. It was during my thanksgiving, when I was making a few reflections on the goodness of God — and how would it be possible not to think of this in such moments: of this infinite goodness, uncreated goodness, source of all goodness! And without which there would be no goodness, neither in people nor in other creatures.
I was extremely touched by these reflections, when I saw written as in letters of gold this word Goodness, which I repeated for a long while with an indescribable sweetness. I saw it, I say, written on all creatures, animate and inanimate, rational or not — all bore this name of goodness. I saw it even on the chair which I was using for a kneeler. I understood then that all that these creatures have of good and all the services and help that we receive from each of them are a blessing that we owe to the goodness of our God, who has communicated to them something of his infinite goodness, so that we may meet it in everything and everywhere.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thérèse of Lisieux</span> French Discalced Carmelite nun and saint (1873–1897)

Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, was a French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun who is widely venerated in modern times. She is popularly known in English as the Little Flower of Jesus, or simply the Little Flower, and in French as la petite Thérèse.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julie Billiart</span> French nun and Catholic saint

Julie Billiart was a French nun, saint, educator, and founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She was born in Cuvilly, a village in Picardy, in northern France. She was paralyzed and bedridden for 22 years, but was well known for her prayer, her embroidery skills, and her education of both the poor and the nobility, especially her work with young girls. She had to flee Cuvilly after the start of the French Revolution and escaped to Compiègne, where the stress she experienced resulted in another illness that took away her ability to speak, and where she received a vision foretelling that she would found a new religious congregation that would eventually become the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. In 1794, she met the French noblewoman and nun, Françoise Blin de Bourdon, who became Billiart's co-founder and close associate, in Amiens.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Théodore Guérin</span> American Roman Catholic educator and saint

Anne Thérèse Guérin, designated by the Vatican as Saint Theodora, was a French-American saint and the foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, a congregation of Catholic sisters at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Pope John Paul II beatified Guérin on 25 October 1998, and Pope Benedict XVI canonized her a saint of the Catholic Church on 15 October 2006. Mother Guérin's feast day is 3 October, although some calendars list it in the Roman Martyrology as 14 May, her day of death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception</span> Christian saint

Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception or Marth Alphonsa, christened at birth as Anna Muttathupadathu, was a nun and an educator by vocation (profession). She was also known for being a victim soul, visionary and prophetess in the Kottayam pergunna of the erstwhile Travancore province of British India, in the present-day Kerala, India.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Claude La Colombière</span> French Jesuit priest and saint

Claude La Colombière, SJ was a Jesuit priest and the confessor of Margaret Mary Alacoque. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Teresa of the Andes</span> Chilean nun of the Discalced Carmelite Order

Teresa of Jesus of Los Andes, born as Juana Enriqueta Josephina de Los Sagrados Corazones Fernández Solar, was a Chilean nun of the Discalced Carmelites. Fernández Solar was a pious child but had an often unpredictable temperament for she could be prone to anger and being vain but could also demonstrate her charitable and loving nature; she seemed transformed when she decided to become a nun and her character seemed to change for her sole ambition was to dedicate herself to the service of God. But her time in the convent was cut short due to her contracting an aggressive disease that killed her - she knew she would die but was consoled knowing she would be able to make her profession before she died.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Veronica Giuliani</span> Italian Roman Catholic saint

Veronica Giuliani was an Italian Capuchin Poor Clares nun and mystic. She was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elizabeth of the Trinity</span> French Discalced Carmelite Nun

Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD, born Élisabeth Catez, was a French Discalced Carmelite, a mystic, and a spiritual writer. She was known for the depth of her spiritual growth as a Carmelite as well as bleak periods in which her religious calling was perceived to be unsure according to those around her; she however was acknowledged for her persistence in pursuing the will of God and in devoting herself to the charism of the Carmelites.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vincenza Gerosa</span> Italian Roman Catholic saint

Vincenza Gerosa - born Caterina Gerosa - was an Italian Roman Catholic professed religious and the co-foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Lovere that she founded alongside Bartolomea Capitanio. Gerosa met Capitanio in 1824 and the two consecrated themselves to God in the name of educating children and tending to the poor of the Bergamo area.

The Sisters of the Cenacle is a Roman Catholic Congregation founded in 1826 in the village of Lalouvesc (Ardèche), France. The founders were Saint Thérèse Couderc and diocesan priest Jean-Pierre Etienne Terme.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maria Bernarda Bütler</span> Franciscan missionary (1848–1924)

María Bernarda Bütler, born Verena Bütler, was a Swiss Roman Catholic professed religious and the foundress of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Sinners, and served in the missions in Ecuador and Colombia. Bütler worked for the care of the poor in these places until her exile from Ecuador and entrance into Colombia where she worked for the remainder of her life. Her order moved there with her, and continued to expand during her time there until her death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maria Crescentia Höss</span> Religious sister and saint (1682–1744)

Maria Crescentia Höss (Höß), TOR (1682–1744) was a religious sister of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. In 1900, she was beatified by Pope Leo XIII, and she was canonized in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stanislaus Papczyński</span>

Stanislaus Papczyński, born Jan Papczyński, was a Polish Catholic priest who founded the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, the first Polish religious order for men. Prior to starting his own order, he had been a member of the Piarist Order. He took the name of "Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary". Papczyński is widely remembered as a prolific religious writer; his writings include works such as The Mystical Temple of God.

Madre Isabella de Rosis (1842–1911) was an Italian religious sister and foundress of the congregation of the Reparatrix Sisters of the Sacred Heart. In December 2005, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed her as a Venerable Servant of God, the first step on the road to canonization.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St. Theresa Church, Perambur</span> Church in Tamil Nadu, India

St.Theresa Church is a Catholic church under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore (Chennai-Mylai) in Tamil Nadu, India, in Sembiam division of Perambur, Chennai. Approximately 900 families have the membership in this Catholic parish. Many people from various parts of Chennai make pilgrimage to this church for the devotion of Infant Jesus.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marie Therese Vauzou</span>

Marie-Thérèse Vauzou was a French Catholic nun who is known as having been the Mistress of Novices and later Mother Superior at the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, during the time that Bernadette Soubirous was alive.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maria Crocifissa Curcio</span>

Maria Crocifissa Curcio, born Rosa Curcio, was an Italian Roman Catholic Carmelite nun. She went on to establish her own Carmelite congregation known as the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. Curcio took the religious name of "Maria Crocifissa" upon her solemn profession in 1930.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin</span> French couple saints

Louis Martin and Azélie-Marie ("Zélie") Guérin Martin were a French Roman Catholic couple and the parents of five nuns, including Thérèse of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun who was canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church in 1925 and Léonie Martin declared "Servant of God" in 2015. In 2015, the couple were also canonized as saints, becoming the first spouses in the church's history to be canonized as a couple.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edvige Carboni</span>

Edvige Carboni was an Italian Roman Catholic from Sardinia who relocated to Rome and became well known among the faithful and religious alike for her ecstasies and angelic visions. She recorded an extensive spiritual journal in which she recorded appearances from Jesus Christ as well as saints such as Gemma Galgani and John Bosco. Carboni also experienced demonic experiences and was said to have stigmata.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Spiritual Newsletter". Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval . 29 September 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  2. "The Life of Saint Therese Couderc" Archived 2020-12-01 at the Wayback Machine . Cenacle Sisters.
  3. Zimmerman, Benedict (1908). "Religious of the Cenacle". The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1908. 14 August 2019PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain .
  4. 1 2 3 "Saint Profile: Therese Couderc". Orange County Catholic. Catholic News Service. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2023.
  5. "Canonizzazione della beata Maria Vittoria Teresa Couderc" [Canonization of Blessed Maria Victoria Teresa Couderc]. The Holy See (in Italian). 10 May 1970. Retrieved 7 February 2023.