(Relics of Jeanne Chezard De Matel, Lyon, France)
The difficulties of the foundress during these years were many. The journey of this virtuous woman has been recounted in her own Autobiography and likewise in works by Canon Penaud, Prince Galitzin, Mother Saint-Pierre, Canon Cristiani, Father Juan Lozano among others.
In addition to her Life, Jeanne de Matel has left to those who continue in her mission a wealth of spiritual writings. This collection includes volumes of her own spiritual journey, collections of letters and treatises. The most well known of her treatises is that pertaining to the Beatitudes.
During the French Revolution of 1789-1793, the Sisters of the Incarnate Word were dispersed, but in 1816, a holy priest named Father Etienne Denis, assembled some of these Sisters in a humble house, and they recommenced their life in community.
In 1852, the convent in Lyon, in order to respond to the desire of Pope Pius IX, sent the first group of Sisters to the province of Texas in the United States. They were established in Brownsville and after a few years found branches of the Order in Corpus Christi, Victoria and Houston. The Houston foundation was made in 1873. In addition to these houses, foundations were made in Cleveland, Ohio and Mexico. This Order has further helped to give birth to another Order, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
Jeanne Chezard de Matel was declared Venerable in 1992 by Pope John Paul II. This title verifies that the Church perceives this woman to have lived a life of heroic virtue. Her writings have further been studied and deemed orthodox. Her beatification now awaits the authentication of a miracle.