St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier ​

Foundress of the Society of the Good Shepherd (1796-1868)

The Society of the Good Shepherd Sisters was founded in France in 1835 by St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier. She was born Rose Virginie Pelletier, on 31st July, 1796 in France. As a child, she was full of life and fun, mischievous and lively. Her first lessons on compassion came from her benevolent mother, who practised the Gospel precept of charity and love for one’s neighbor. During her study in a boarding school in Tours, she endured much sorrow on being separated from her home and mother. At this bleak period, her teacher was her chief consolation. This was the most defining period in her life. She owed much of her later development to the formative influence of this relationship which taught her what acceptance, empathy and kindness could do to restore hope. She also learnt that education was the key to self- awareness and independence. The appalling conditions of the French Revolution brought in its wake, the need to cater to the many destitute women and children. It served as a strong indicator of her true calling in life.

It was the vision of a meek, kind, compassionate woman of God to bring hope to the under-privileged, abandoned and the deserted lot. It was her calling to seek the discarded and troubled and rehabilitate them into society. The socially marginalized young girls and women of her time found in her a loving mother and a teacher. At the time of her death on 24th April 1868, she had founded 110 Convents in 68 countries, including India in 1854. The Good Shepherd Sisters carry on a multi-dimensional apostolate of Christian education and re-education, both formal and non-formal in diverse cultures, the care of the sick and the rehabilitation of destitutes. St. Mary Euphrasia’s life story bears testimony to the fact that love conquers all, that selfless service and sacrifice is one’s offering to God. One’s heart is the altar upon which the unending flame of thanksgiving and unconditional love leads one to heaven. Her example is a constant reminder that nothing is impossible and that life is a precious gift to us to do our best.

We, The Good Shepherd Sisters continue to fan the flame of our Foundress, making her ideal a reality in our world today. Our Mission, as collaborators in the integral formation of the students of the Good Shepherd Schools, is to bring about a total transformation in themselves and in society, through dedication, commitment and loving service.

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