Rivier University’s namesake to be elevated to sainthood on May 15
Saint Marie Rivier will enter 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 will be canonized as Saint Marie Rivier on May 15 along with nine other Blesseds at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Pope Francis will preside over the Canonization Mass, which is anticipated to draw more than 600,000 pilgrims from around the world.
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.
“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?’
Anne Marie Rivier lived during the French Revolution, a tumultuous time politically and economically that brought much uncertainty and suffering to the people of France. Despite severe physical limitations and societal barriers, she resolutely opened schools, while caring for the sick and orphaned. It was during this time that Anne Marie Rivier through vision and perseverance, with faith and action, was able to transform her part of the world through the education of women and children with a focus on the poor and vulnerable.
During her lifetime she gathered other women who wanted to make a difference in sharing God’s love in the world. As a result, the religious congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary was founded. This small group has now grown into more than 1,000 women religious serving in 19 countries throughout the world.
Members of the Sisters of the Presentation and Rivier community have traveled to Rome this week to take part in the historic events. University celebrations honoring Saint Marie Rivier and the 90th anniversary will take place throughout the coming year.
The Spirit of Saint Marie Rivier
A 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.
Sister Helen Cote shared the following description of Blessed Anne Marie Rivier’s sculpture and her spirit at the dedication of Heritage Plaza in August 2015:
“For those of you have heard the story of Marie Rivier, you know that she was a very short woman, under 5 feet, but what the statue depicts really is her spirit. She was in one sense larger than life. She was a woman of great strength and tremendous faith.
Her statue is looking out into the future for she was a women of vision, one who could found a community in the midst of the French Revolution and dare to believe and say, “One day my daughters will cross the ocean.”
She is carrying a book for Marie Rivier was a woman of the Word who studied scripture and sought to know Jesus Chris through its teachings. She was also a great believer in education and did all she could to educate the young people of her time.
She is walking, depicting a woman always on the move and ready to go wherever she was called. She was not static or set in her ways, but open to whatever it would take to make Jesus Christ known and loved. Her open cape symbolizes how she lived always open and attentive to the presence of the Spirit in her life.
Marie Rivier was indeed an incredible woman and her place in the center of the campus is a wonderful reminder of where we come from as Sisters of the Presentation of the Mary and of our mission to make Jesus Christ known and loved. It also serves to keep ever before us Rivier’s mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world.”