1676: The amazing spiritual journey of Jean-Baptiste Delaveyne, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers

Historical context:

In 1653 Jean-Baptiste Delaveyne was born into a medical family in Saint-Saulge, a small village near Nevers in the centre of France.

A man of the times:

1676:  Having spent seven years studying in Paris, Jean-Baptiste Delaveyne, a priest of the Benedictine Monastic Order, returned to Saint-Saulge.  Infatuated by his discoveries in the artistic and literary world, he ignored his original commitment and allowed himself to be captivated by a worldly life and the desire to impress.

A man who listened with his heart:

1677:  A simple remark by a priest in a neighbouring parish disturbed Jean-Baptiste Delaveyne … “Saint Benedict didn’t have it as good in Subiaco.”  This reminded him of God’s call which he had heard in his youth, so he decided to break with his worldly habits.

A man who listened to the cry of the poor, to God’s Word:

1678:  Moved by the inhuman living conditions of the village peasants, Jean-Baptiste Delaveyne chose to identify with them.  He listened fervently to God’s Word.  He discovered Jesus “as the great witness of the Love of God for humanity.”

A man who shared his experience:

1680:  He invited young girls from Saint-Saulge to live this spiritual experience.  “Let Charity be your only Concern and the marginalised your only Interest.”  These girls were the first Sisters of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers.