Our Call - History

A Brief History of the Order

Jeanne Chezard de MatelBorn in Roanne, France, in 1596, Jeanne Chezard de Matel was called to be a mystic, author, teacher, spiritual director and theologian—at a time when women were not recognized in any of these roles. In love with the Incarnate Word, she passionately pursued the desire of her life, to “extend the mystery of the Incarnation,” by founding the Order of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament in 1625. She understood her vocation and the vocation of the Order’s members to be both contemplative and apostolic—a call to encounter the loving Word of God incarnate in Jesus, and then to enflesh that Word in ministry. Jeanne’s life was filled with struggle, opposition, periods of darkness and much suffering. But it was out of these ingredients of her human life, along with the joy she experienced in her relationship with the Incarnate Word, that God formed and shaped the woman that Jeanne became. (Click on the small image below on the right to read an illustrated history of our Congregation.)