Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Julie Billiart (1751–1816)

Saint Julie Billiart (1751–1816)

Patron saint against bodily ills, poverty, and sickness

Feast day: April 8

Saint Julie Billiart was poorly educated compared to other schoolchildren, but she was highly educated in her Christian faith. She had memorized her catechism by the time she was seven years old. Instead of running around and playing, Julie spent her free time teaching Catholic doctrine to other young children as well as farmhands.

At the age of 14, she took a personal vow of chastity and made it her life’s work to serve and teach the poor. She was 22 when someone shot a gun at her father through the window of her house. The shock of the incident paralyzed her for more than twenty years. Despite being paralyzed, Julie continued to teach from her bedside.

She also gave spiritual advice to visitors who were attracted by her holiness. A missionary priest she came to know encouraged her to pray a novena to the Sacred Heart. On his fifth visit to her, the priest said, “Mother, if you have any faith, take one step in honor of the Sacred Heart.” Miraculously, Julie was healed and began to walk.

She began the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame, which was dedicated to the Christian education of the poor and of young girls.

(Image in public domain-70)