Jeanne Bigard’s young life was beset by tragedy. Her father committed suicide and her brother was killed in an accident. Jeanne became a virtual recluse. But she turned her hand to good works and started making altar linen and vestments for missionaries in Japan.

Jeanne was very wealthy and also careful with money. So when a missionary in Japan asked for help to build a church, Jeanne agreed.

Building a worldwide Church

But Jeanne wasn’t content with building just one church. She  wanted to grow the worldwide Church and realised that investing in leaders was key. In 1889, Jeanne and her mother, Stephanie, set up the Society of St Peter the Apostle (SPA) to train local clergy around the world. She left her entire fortune to the venture.

Continuing the legacy

Bigard Memorial Seminary, Nigeria
Jeanne Bigard Seminary, Nigeria

The English branch of the SPA  was formed in 1918, and is now part of Missio. Today, through the Missio network, the SPA trains more than 25,000 future Priests and 11,000 Sisters every year. Jeanne’s extraordinary vision and legacy have helped to grow the global Catholic  Church to more than 1.3 billion people today.

Help us continue Jeanne’s legacy around the world. Find out how you can help train a future Priest here>>