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Perhaps you wonder who Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac is?

Here we present a brief, but interesting, résumé of her life.

Jeanne de Lestonnac was born in Bordeaux; she was the first-born child of the Lestonnacs, a significant family in the political, social and cultural environment of the city and the favourite niece of Michel de Montaigne, French humanist, author of the famous "Essais".

Whilst growing up in her family she was aware of being surrounded by religious conflicts that were developing at the time. Her father, Richard, educated his daughter in the Catholic Faith. Her mother, Jeanne Eyquem, a convinced Calvinist, tried to convert her to Calvinism.

In her adolescence she felt that God confirmed her Catholic Faith as an inner voice told her: "Seek, my daughter, do not allow the flame that I have enkindled in your heart to be extinguished ...” From that moment on Jeanne acknowledged the conviction growing inside her.

At the age of 17 she married Gaston de Montferrant from that union there were born seven children, who she nurtured in both their growth and education.

After twenty-four years of marriage, she became a widow; aware that her children no longer needed her. Jeanne felt that the call of her adolescence resonated in her again and in 1603 she entered as a nun in the monastery of the Feuillantines in Toulouse.

After six months, she fell ill and was forced to leave the Cistercian monastery. She felt an internal resistance to this failure, but now she trusted God and intuited a new call to "extend the hand to youth that is lost for lack of help”.

Once again in Bordeaux she reflected, prayed and looked at the reality of life as a way of being deeply affected by it… soon she discovered a need that had to be responded to; the education of girls and young women. The certainty that "women must save women" was imposed on her.

The plague came to Bordeaux and, faithful to her character and personality, she began to help the sick in the city; this is how she came into contact with a group of young women who would be her first companions and with the two Jesuits who would encourage her in her project.

With perseverance and courage, little by little, she gave shape and consistency to her dream that became a beautiful reality in 1607: the foundation of the first female Apostolic Order dedicated to the education of women, the Company of Mary.