The heart of John Martin Moye, a parish priest in Northeast France, was touched by the poverty and spiritual hunger of villagers living in Lorraine’s countryside. He was particularly moved by the lack of educational opportunities for women as well as the absence of faith formation in the region.
On January 14, 1762, Father Moye sent a group of women to these abandoned places to teach and to carry out the works of mercy. This was the beginning of the Congregation of Divine Providence.
Marguerite LeComte and three other women went to these isolated hamlets to educate and evangelize. The women traveled without provisions; their only security was an abiding faith in God. Village residents called the four “Sisters of Divine Providence” because they saw in the women the face of God—a tender God who is present at the very center of creation and in the most ordinary and mundane events of life.
Later John Martin Moye went to China as a missionary where he ministered for ten years enduring much hardship but always relying on the Providence of God. Moye returned to France to look after the congregation and died of typhus during the French Revolution in 1793. His beatification took place in 1954. His feast is celebrated on May 4.
The Congregation of Divine Providence (CDP), formally established in 1827 at St. Jean de Bassel, France, was cultivated from these humble beginnings. The sisters’ influence now reaches over four continents.