In the tradition of great charismatic women of God, our foundress Mary of Providence was passionate about leading other women to bring God’s love to those who suffered the most. She chose the Souls in Purgatory as the focus for her spiritual work, and those forgotten and abandoned in this world as the focus for her earthly ministry.
Born Eugénie Smet and educated at the convent of the Sacred Heart in Lille, France, her faith led her to the revelation of God as Providence. Charting an unconventional path to answer God’s call, she believed that with God all things are possible. She wished to “go to the depths of Purgatory to the utmost ends of the earth” to fulfill her mission, and moved to Paris in 1856 to establish the Institute of the Helpers of the Holy Souls.
The Helper charism blends Ignatian spirituality with Mary of Providence’s mission to serve all who suffer, in any form, focusing on the marginalized, disenfranchised and forgotten. More than a century and a half later, the Venerable Blessed Mother Mary of Providence’s legacy includes 103 Helper communities in 24 countries. Helpers around the world emulate their foundress’ unswerving spirit and commitment to follow Jesus Christ and “help in all manner of good” by bringing their unique gifts to their shared mission.