CAUSES ADELE DE BATZ

Like Marie Thérèse, Adèle was of noble birth; unlike the former, she was of a wealthy and aristocratic
family. Her father, the Baron de Trenquelleon, was an officer in the king's own Royal Guard. When Adèle
was two-and-a-half years old, he voluntarily went into exile to support the anti-revolutionary movement.
In 1797 the Baroness and her two children were forced into exile by the same law that had entrapped
Chaminade; that is, for mistakenly appearing on the list of emigres. Only after six years of separation
was the Baron able to join his family.
Shortly after the return of the family to Trenquelleon, some 15 miles west of the city of Agen, Adèle
embarked on a twofold career of spiritual growth. When she was not yet 13, she pestered her brother's
tutor to give her a personal Rule of Life to prepare herself for the Carmelite vocation she so ardently
desired to follow. By the time she was 15, she and a small group of friends had formed an association
of prayer and support to promote their own spiritual growth and to prepare themselves for a good death.
Given the health hazards of the time and the ever-present possibility of renewed anti-Catholic
persecution it was not unusual for even young girls to think seriously of their death. This spiritual union
spread rapidly and soon counted some 200 young women scattered over an area the size of the state
of Ohio. "Chere Adèle," as she was called, was its heart as well as its official leader and solidified their
bonds by means of extensive letter writing.

 

By 1810 a number of these young women, like a number of the young men and women of the Sodality of the MAdèleine, were looking for
some form of religious life. By 1814 their plans had taken clear shape. After the abdication of Napoleon and the death of her paralyzed father
, Adèle was able to move freely and openly and put her plan into motion. Under Chaminade's prudent guidance and with the encouragement
of Bishop Jacoupy of Agen, she and her companions in 1816 inaugurated their religious community living: the Daughters of Mary. Like the
Sodality, the community saw itself as called to give its members mutual support, to engage in Christian outreach to the world, and to carry on
Mary's mission of birthing Christ in every age. They integrated remarkably well the characteristics of the contemplative life of the Carmelites
(to which Adèle had always been attracted) and the active missionary thrust of the Sodality.

After the foundation of the religious community, the Sodality continued to be a primary concern of the Foundress. Though Church Law of the
time required that women religious be cloistered, each of the five convents founded during her brief 12 years in religious life was the center
of a Sodality for Young Women, a Married Women's Sodality, and a Third Order Secular which carried on the community's mission beyond the
walls of its enclosure. For years she looked forward to the day when a Third Order Regular could be founded, so that the mission of the
Sisters might reach those neglected rural areas with which she had been so familiar. Only in 1836, eight years after her death, was this
dream realized. The Daughters of Mary and the thriving Third Order Regular were combined in 1918, when new Church law redefined them
both as "religious institutes."

From among the members of the Sodality came also the first nucleus of the Society of Mary, founded in 1817. Dedicated to the mission of
Mary and centered on conformity with her son Jesus, the "male religious of our Order," as Adèle called them, gave themselves to various
works of ministry. With the foundation of the Society of Mary, the three branches of the Marianist Family - Sodality, Daughters of Mary, and
Society of Mary - were effectively constituted. They found their unity in the person of Chaminade, who was head of all three.
 
More importantly for us, they found their unity in a common spirit flowing from the personality and insights of three remarkable people. Today
these foundations are known as Marianist Lay Communities, the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, and the Society of Mary. The legacy of the
three founders continues in our contemporary world, in the concern for the dynamic spiritual development of the members and in the
outreach to the most impoverished and needy segments of our society.

From the University of Dayton Website (http://marianist.udayton.edu/i_adele.html ).

Used with permissiont Fr. Paul Marshall, SM, Marianist Rector at the University of Dayton