Francoise Blin de Bourdon, a daughter of ancien regime French aristocracy, lived in an epoch of radical transformations. Imprisoned during the French Revolution, along with others of her family and social stratum, she would subsequently be freed to experience France's return to imperial status, the French-Dutch amalgam under the House of Orange, and the birth of the Belgian nation. Through the prism of an emerging feminist definition of motherhood as caregiving, this book examines Francoise's own mother-daughter relationships, her friendship and collaboration with Julie Billiart in founding the Sisters of Notre Dame, and their mutual ability to deal with the age-old patriarchal structures of Church and State. As a young woman at the conclusion of her formal education, Francoise determined to find her happiness in attentiveness to the happiness of others - a resolution that would echo across centuries and generations of women worldwide.
The Author: Jo Ann M. Recker is Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her doctorate in Romance languages and literatures from The Ohio State University. In addition to co-authoring the college-level French text, Situations et Contextes, she has also published a monograph on Madame de Sevigne, entitled Appelle-moi Pierrot: Wit and Irony in the 'Letters' of Madame de Sevigne. A recipient of teaching and publication awards, Jo Ann M. Recker has been a Sister of Notre Dame for forty years.