The Canonization of Saint Marie Rivier

On Sunday, May 15, our University namesake, Blessed Marie Rivier, will be canonized by Pope Francis at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Blessed Anne Marie Rivier Canonization

The Rivier community rejoices with the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary that their foundress will be recognized for her holiness of life and apostolic zeal, especially among the poor and vulnerable.

The University is delighted to celebrate this milestone in a year that anticipates Rivier’s 90th anniversary. These days will offer the opportunity for grateful reflection on our past and envision a future full of promise. Read more.

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Documenting the Pilgrimage to Rome

Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and members of the Rivier community will take part in these historic celebrations in Rome. We are pleased to share their journey and experiences with you on this page as documented by Michelle Marrone, the University’s Senior Writer.

At our journey’s end

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you …” – James 4:8

Have you ever had an experience that left you feeling more loved?

Canonization studentsEnriched and renewed in many ways, the pilgrimage to Rome left us feeling more loved and blessed.

Taking part in Saint Marie Rivier’s canonization was centering. Though we were 28 souls in a group of tens of thousands, we had the opportunity to connect with our Catholic family and faith in a most remarkable way. And we feel blessed for it.

Each person’s takeaways no doubt differ, but the experience was memorable and transformative for all. Saint Marie Rivier’s love of God, love of neighbor, and enduring faith continue to be a source of inspiration, connection, and illumination in this world … Amen.

May 17, 2022

Canonization Alumna

Rose-Marie Robichaud ’67 (left) and Sheryl Miller

Tired and happy, we are home! Sister Paula welcomed us when we arrived at Memorial Hall, a lovely ending to our trip. Constant companions for the last week, we said our good-byes and exchanged contact information with promises to share photos and stay in touch.

Rose-Marie Robichaud ’67 shared a final message that was echoed by many, “It was a joy to have shared this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m feeling so blessed to have been given the opportunity to be with all of you.”

May 16, 2022

Today was a day of thanksgiving. All of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary gathered for Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in the morning. A truly global gathering, the Mass was said in several different languages connecting all that took part in the celebration.

Canonization SistersAfter Mass, the group traveled to Castel Gandolfo, a beautiful town about an hour from Rome, where Sisters visited the Provincial House for a special veneration ceremony. Later in the day, the group gathered nearby for a large celebration. Sisters from around the world expressed their joy and love of Saint Marie Rivier. Each province prepared a song, many of which were also choregraphed, and performed for the gathered group. The presentations reminded us of how much God loves diversity with all contributing to create a beautiful whole. Our Sisters took the stage and sang “Mother Rivier, Woman Apostle,” and the audience joined in the chorus. It was a beautiful tribute to their Foundress.

Tomorrow we say good-bye to Rome, richer for the experience and blessings bestowed on us all.

May 15, 2022

At 10:15 a.m. in Rome, Marie Rivier was declared a saint! Approximately 45,000 of the faithful filled Saint Peter’s Square for the Papal Mass and canonization of 10 new saints.

Though diverse is many ways—different countries, languages, cultures—all were unified in their love of God. As a family, we celebrated our faith and Marie Rivier’s sainthood. Her ministry and mission continue today through the lives of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and all who venerate her. Two Rivier pilgrims commented that their experiences last night and today filled them with a desire, “zeal” was the actual word used, to do more in service to God.

Saint Marie Rivier’s spirit lives on! More than 200 years after founding the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, she continues to be a unifying light and presence in the world.

For a video of Rivier students Thomas Miller and Neil Rea speaking about their experience this morning, visit our Facebook page.

May 14, 2022

As we prepare for the Blessed Marie Rivier’s canonization tomorrow, our focus today was on gathering—many groups of pilgrims arriving in Rome, tours of the city’s political and social centers, and finally the Presentation of Mary global community gathering for a prayer service in the late afternoon.

We toured the Roman Forum and the Colosseum this morning. The Forum served as ancient Rome’s political, religious, and commercial center. The Colosseum was the city’s colossal (pun intended) sports arena. Here Roman emperors and 50,000 spectators gathered to watch gladiators fight and other contests between men and animals. In these places and as we walked the streets, groups of Presentation of Mary Sisters from other countries stopped to greet our Sisters. No introductions were needed; they knew who they were and why they were in Rome.

Finally, we gathered with hundreds of Sisters from all over the world for a prayer service. The service opened with a booming, “Bonjour, bonjour,” which was answered in kind. Sisters embraced old friends and new with a glowing spirit of love.

Tomorrow we’ll witness the Rite of Canonization and celebrate Saint Marie Rivier. More joy to come!

May 13, 2022

Senegal SistersToday was a day of wonder! Wonder at the visual history of Rome and our Catholic faith brought to life in this city and at Blessed Marie Rivier’s ability to inspire us continuously.

The Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica honor the history of the Roman civilization and our Catholic roots. The union of artistry and spirituality invited us to a deeper understanding of who we are as people and as a community of faith.

During lunch at a local restaurant, a group of Sisters from Senegal serenaded us with a song about Mother Rivier. Their voices were beautiful, but it was the joy with which they sang that was truly inspiring. “I think the Senegal Sisters showed us the transcendent spirit and mission of Blessed Marie Rivier,” shared Courtney Rogers-Kritzberger. Everything happens for a reason on a pilgrimage.

May 12, 2022

CanonizationWe’ve arrived! Once again, Blessed Marie Rivier’s daughters have “crossed the seas” to honor her vision and mission. Return travelers are blessed with the joy of treasured memories, while new visitors to Rome (myself included) begin to soak in Rome’s sites and culture—a lush landscape filled with trees and dotted with bursts of wild orange poppies, modern city architecture beautifully blended with 2,000-year-old ruins, the bustle of people and very small cars filling the streets, and leisurely meals enjoyed in good company.

Tomorrow we’ll tour the Vatican Museums and view the Sistine Chapel. Stayed tuned as our journey continues …

May 11, 2022

Hello, I’m Michelle Marrone, and it is my pleasure to travel to Rome, Italy, along with members of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and Rivier staff, students, and alumni. Together we will participate in the celebration of the canonization of our namesake, Blessed Marie Rivier, and we look forward to sharing the experience with you! We will visit iconic locations in Rome and attend the Celebration of the Canonization in St. Peter’s Square on May 15, 2022. To find links to the live event, please visit the Vatican’s official website, and check back here regularly as we document the pilgrimage for this historic event in Rivier’s history.