Euphrasie Barier founded the Congregation of Our lady of the Missions. Known in religious life as Marie du Coeur de Jésus, she was born on 4th January 1829, in Caen, France.
“I think you would do well to give the boarders and orphans extra food…these children will have nothing but their health & strength as inheritance, so let us do all we can for them”,
- Euphrasie Barbier to the Superior in Deal.
In 1870 Euphrasie, at the request of Miss Catherine Boys sent Sisters to take care of the orphanage commenced by Miss Boys. Before long a second foundation was established at Sturry, (1881): it is the place where she died in 1893 and rests to this day.
Besides these two foundations in England, Euphraise, shortly after founding the Congregation (1861), sent the first Sisters to New Zealand (1864): from such small beginnings the Congregation grew, and today the Sisters serve in 21 countries through various forms of education and social ministry. They respond to the needs of the people, especially marginalized women and children, as well as those who are poor and oppressed.
The work on this Cause has had a long history, dating back to the time just after her death when the then Superior General commissioned the writing of her Biography. It is thanks to this request that we have a vast collection of her letters, conferences, private notes, and so forth.
The cause was taken up in the 1930’s by Dom Romanus Rios, OSB, who gathered written accounts from those who knew her, both religious and lay, among them Bishop Amigo, Bishop of Southwark who wrote:
“… having considered the great reputation of sanctity enjoyed by Euphrasie Barbier … and in view of the virtues of faith, hope and charity practiced by her in an heroic degree … and the great zeal for the salvation of souls. How wonderful He (God) is in His Saints.”
In 1956 Bishop Cowderoy appointed Fr. L. Whatmore as Postulator, thus officially opening the Diocesan Phase of the Process. Further witnesses were called, all her writings were copied, authenticated and together with the Articles sent to Rome.
This was followed in 1976 with the presentation of the Positio Super Introductionis. This material was presented to Pope St. John Paul II who ratified and confirmed that the Cause could continue. However, instead of the work continuing, it stalled, and after further stops and starts it finally gained new life at the beginning of the 21st century.
Given the lapse of time, it was necessary to initiate two additional Diocesan Inquiries to ascertain the continuation of the reputation of holiness and of intercessory powers of the Servant of God.
Thanks to the support of Archbishop John Wilson and the late Archbishop Emeritus Peter Smith, the ACTA, which is essentially the record of the inquiries, were blessed, signed, sealed and presented to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.
On 6 December 2019 the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, issued the Decree of the Validity of the ACTS, enabling preparation of the Positio Super Vita, Virtutibus et Fama Sanctitatis, whereby the theological element of the virtuous life of the Servant of God is demonstrated.
After further years of patient endurance, this Positio was written, printed and submitted on 8 December 2022. An examination will now follow of this Positio by historical and theological Consultors: if these accept the Positio, the next step is an examination by the Cardinals and if they accept it, then they will present their findings to the Pope who, please God, will announce the Servant of God, Euphrasie Barbier, Venerabilis one step closer to being declared Blessed.
Grateful thanks to Archbishop Wilson, the late Archbishop Peter Smith and the members of the two additional Inquiries, for without their commitment the Cause would not have reached this point. Mgr. J. Cronin, Fr. J. Hurley, RIP, Deacon M. Kennedy, Fr. A. Uche, Fr. H, Ogbodo, CSSp, and Deacon A. Wentworth. - Sr. Carmel Eberius,