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«Très affectueusement, votre mère en Dieu»

Françoise Blin – French Aristocrat, Belgian Citizen, Co-Foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (1756-1838)

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JoAnn M. Recker

Françoise Blin de Bourdon, a daughter of ancien régime French aristocracy, lived in an epoch of radical transformations. Imprisoned during the French Revolution, along with others of her family and social stratum, she would subsequently be freed to experience France’s return to imperial status, the French-Dutch amalgam under the House of Orange, and the birth of the Belgian nation. Through the prism of an emerging feminist definition of motherhood as caregiving, this book examines Françoise’s own mother-daughter relationships, her friendship and collaboration with Julie Billiart in founding the Sisters of Notre Dame, and their mutual ability to deal with the age-old patriarchal structures of Church and State. As a young woman at the conclusion of her formal education, Françoise determined to find her happiness in attentiveness to the happiness of others – a resolution that would echo across centuries and generations of women worldwide.