Saint Mother Theodore Guerin — Anne-Thérèse Guerin — was born into a sea-faring family Oct. 2, 1798, in the village of Etables-sur-Mer in Brittany, France.
Her desire to be close to God began when she was a young child. She was allowed to receive her First Communion at the age of 10 and, at that time, told the parish priest that someday she would dedicate herself to God and to God’s work.
Anne-Thérèse was educated by her mother, Isabelle Guerin, who centered the lessons on religion and Scripture. Anne-Thérèse’s father, Laurent, an officer in the French Navy under Napoleon Bonaparte, was away from home for long periods of time. Anne-Thérèse was 15 years old when her father was murdered by bandits as he traveled home after the French forces were demobilized following the defeat of Napoleon.
For many years following this tragedy, Anne-Thérèse accepted the responsibility of caring for her mother and her younger sister, as well as the family’s home and garden.
At the end of the French Revolution in 1799, Napoleon established a Consulate of Three with himself as First Consul and then in 1804, named himself Emperor. A brilliant general and able administrator, Napoleon’s overzealous military desires led him to disaster. He was exiled to St. Helena in 1815.