Engagement of a laywoman in the Church and in the Social Catholicis
1840 « Pauline Jaricot is a glorious celebrity with whom it is a honor to discuss » (P. Naïdenoff), she has already founded 2 great works: Propagation of the Faith and Living Rosary.
But, during several years, another project has been haunting her mind. She’s aware of the sometimes inhuman conditions of life of the working class that she likes very much and that was living near her house in Croix-Rousse and St-Polycarpe’s quarter. The use of new industrial machines, especially the loom, is one of the causes of the ambient malaise. Revolutionary riots are an answer to social injustices which last more than it is reasonable.
Pauline worries much about working class’s drudgery: very low salaries, eighteen hours of labor per day for the men, very hard labor for the women, 8 years children working with a very low pay .
She thinks about that:
« I felt that, in my soul, the scheme of a work I couldn’t define well, was preparing, whose first idea were given by the pains and the needs of the time. »
What will the use for the French Christians to help to evangelize others countries, if they neglect their immediate duties of justice, of charity for their very neighbors ?
« The more I met poor people, the more it makes me understand the evils that were devouring society... »
« Love urges me to cure this awful situation .In front of God, I am looking for how not to be disheartened, how not to yield to immoral acts and to exasperation which we see more and more in the masses. I am sure that we must give up the worker his dignity as a man, as a father, as a Christian, giving him a home which gives happiness giving him also, religion’s consolation and hopes. In one word, I should like to give back husband to wife, father to child and God to man. »
How to carry off these scourges?
Pauline invented what she calls « Heaven Bank », a work of free loans on the incomings of a capital, « granted by 15 rich and well disposed families, loans returned in 20 years. »
This project was really genius, but Pauline didn’t carry it to execution because she was already thinking, with his great love of solidarity and universality, about of a more global solution. Then she will look for the way how to allow workers to act themselves to their own raising up, to make them responsible and transform society with them.
Thus, one must begin giving them a well -paid work so that they could lead a decent human and family life.
« I had an inkling of how to create a factory where virtuous workers could profit with their family of the fruits of a carefully regulated work, paid with justice ; then she realized that, in every state that God creates, there is plenty of easy means of salvation.
Rustrel Factory question
What will Pauline undertake? She buys a blast -furnace plant located in Rustrel, near Apt in Vaucluse department. The families receive lodging, their children attend a school and a church Notre-Dame des Anges is built close by so as to make known Jesus-Christ and pray. She calls the work « Notre-Dame des Anges Work » She commits the factory to two persons recommended to her, but they were dishonest and ruined Pauline
Undertaking this wonderful work, she looses finally all her money.
A woman, forerunner of social Catholicism
Pauline’s interior conversion gave her a very different perception of her life and relations she had with near and far world. A real genius spirit appears in the heart of this woman, obviously imbued with God Spirit:
« Invaded by my Lord’s love…. I want to act for his glory and for the salvation of every soul»
Pauline Jaricot seems to be the first person to dedicate herself to the promotion of working class for an equitable justice and also the promotion of the laity in apostleship inside Church.
Ideas of this ardent soul used to raise a smile among her contemporaries .
How that? A woman? A laywoman? And she wants to launch in the adventure of changing society?
And actually she will meet a lot of contradicters a lot of slanderers and know much unfairness. Nevertheless, she’ll never grow tired; she will go to the end of its possibilities. Pauline had an impact on contemporary people, even if she didn’t succeed, as she wished, in applying what she had understood of Church teaching.
A Christian woman
In her writings and letters, we can find simple Christian and evangelical ideas. She had a sort of genius for laypeople apostleship. Pauline wants workers-apostles, mainly among youth people ; she wants to see « joyful dignity « in the young worker, pride to be a worker among his Christian brothers, and pride be a Christian among his brothers-workers . »
She willl forestall initiatives of many other Christians, laymen, priests, bishops in the XIXth century, which will altogether induce Pope Leon the XIIIth to publish his encyclical letter « Rerum novarum » and later Pie the XIth « Quadragesimo anno »
Are we allowed to say that Pauline Jaricot has been the spark that will make appear at the beginning of the 21th century, the Workers Christian Youth (YCW ou J.O.C.). Archbishop Lavarenne, vice-solliciter of the causes of beatification, General secretary ot The Faith Propagation Work will write:
« If one day Pauline Jaricot will be canonised, Jocistes (members of YCW) will be allowed to choose her as their patron saint, as they are her direct heirs… » 1937