University History

The University’s Name


Rivier University is named after Saint Marie Rivier, foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary.  She was canonized as a saint on May 15, 2022.  Her life of leadership and service makes her a shining example of faith and love. We are proud to carry her name, her legacy, and her mission forward.


Anne-Marie Rivier was born in Montpezat, Ardèche, France, in 1768.  Although a person with a disability and in poor health all her life, she had the stamina of a Napoleon and the zeal of a Saint Paul. She even stated that would have been ready to teach catechism in Hell if this had been possible. Pope Pius IX called her the Woman Apostle.

Because of ill health, she was refused entry in the Congregation of the Sisters of  Notre-Dame de Pradelles where she studied. At the age of eighteen, she opened her own school. In a neighboring town, she soon founded her own community with four young women who could barely read and write. She was ridiculed and laughed at, her outward appearance being far from imposing.  She was very short and had a disability. But the Lord made up for her lack of appearance by giving her leadership qualities that soon attracted many to her.


Anne-Marie founded her religious community in France during the French Revolution when many convents were forced to close. These first sisters lived in poverty, very often without sufficient food, but she always found something for the poor who came to her door. In fact, miracles happened time and again to help the community survive. Before she died, she had opened 140 houses where the Sisters taught school mostly to the poor. The Sisters of the Presentation of Mary now minister in eighteen countries.

How could such a frail person without money accomplish so much in her lifetime? What was her secret? She relied solely on prayer. She put everything in the hands of the Lord and our Blessed Mother Mary.

If you want to know more about this wonderful woman, consult the Regina Library for books about her life and works.