Feast Day: April 8
Venerated: January 6, 1903
Beatified: May 13, 1906
Canonized: June 22, 1969
By the time Marie Rose Julie Billiart was 7 years old, she had memorized her catechism and would explain the lessons to her young friends. As she grew older she was known by people as the “saint of Cuvilly,” which was the name of her French town. Her family were farmers, and she helped them with farm work to earn money. But in her spare time, she taught religion to children and to workers.
In 1773, when she was 22, Julie suffered a shock that paralyzed her legs. She was eventually confined to her bed for more than two decades. But throughout those many years, she received Communion every day and often prayed for as many as six hours each day. She sewed altar linens and vestments for the church, and taught religious education to the children of the village from her bed.
When the French Revolution began in 1789, Julie initially hid priests in her home so they would not be imprisoned or killed by the government. But eventually she became hunted herself for those actions. She took refuge with a noblewoman who was engaged in good works in the name of her faith. By 1803 they had formed the Institute of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to help poor children, particularly young girls in need of Christian education. They also trained others to serve as religion teachers.
Julie made her vows in 1804 and her paralysis was cured, allowing her to walk for the first time in 22 years.
In the years until her death in 1816, she founded 15 convents. She also nursed starving and wounded people following the Battle of Waterloo
She was made a saint in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.