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Rivier University’s namesake elevated to sainthood on May 15

Saint Marie Rivier has entered the canon of saints in recognition of her enduring faith, service, and love of neighbor.

Foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and Rivier University’s namesake, Blessed Anne Marie Rivier was canonized as Saint Marie Rivier on May 15 along with nine other Blesseds at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Pope Francis presided over the Canonization Mass which drew more than 45,000 pilgrims from around the world.

“The Sisters of the Presentation of Mary rejoice that their foundress is recognized for her holiness of life and apostolic zeal especially among the poor and vulnerable,” says Sister Helene Cote, pm, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary.

Born in 1768 in Montpezat, France, Anne Marie was devoutly religious throughout her life. She lived during the French Revolution, a period of great political strife, economic disparities, and social unrest. Despite her physical limitations and societal barriers, she persevered with deep faith and a resolute heart. She opened schools and generously cared for the sick and the poor. In 1796, she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, a religious order of women dedicated to education.

After her death in 1838, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary spread to North America and eventually 19 countries across the world to continue their mission of service. Today, the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary continue Saint Marie Rivier’s ministry in education and social service with long standing service to the poor and vulnerable.

“This recognition of Saint Marie Rivier is far more than an award or honor,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, President. “It is a recognition of God’s presence in the world calling each of us to ask, ‘who is my neighbor,’ ‘how shall I serve,’ and ‘what can I do?’

A bronze sculpture of Blessed Anne Marie Rivier was commissioned in 2015 and stands as the focal point of Heritage Plaza on the Rivier University campus. It serves as an enduring symbol of faith, hope, and Rivier’s service to all seeking higher education.

Members of the Sisters of the Presentation and Rivier community traveled to Rome to take part in the historic events. University celebrations recognizing Saint Marie Rivier and the 90th anniversary will take place throughout the coming year.