(Irma Grivot - French - 34 years old)
She was born on 28 April in Beaune (France).
A modest family: her father was a cooper and her mother
looked after the house. Irma, of fragile health, was a simple
child, upright, lively, affectionate, sensitive by nature and open to God. Intelligent and studious, she completed her studies in 1883, with an elementary certificate.
Her religious vocation was neither understood nor accepted by her parents and this made her position very difficult for her. She tried to become more independent by giving private lessons.
In 1894, she went to Vanves, on the outskirts of Paris, where she began her pre-novitiate. Her fragile appearance made it necessary for her to spend some time in this community; it was necessary to make sure that her strength would permit her to commit herself to
a missionary life. But behind her fragile appearance was hidden an iron will which overcame all difficulties.
She began her novitiate in Les Châtelets, near Saint Brieuc (France), in July of that same year, and received the name of Marie Hermine de Jésus. The hermine is an animal which prefers death to being tarnished - so goes the saying - and this would be one of Hermine's resolutions. Such was her life, such was her death.
A woman full of tenderness and firmness … A humble woman. Her patience and her charity could create a homely atmosphere wherever she went: in the novitiate, then in Vanves where she took care of the accounts of the house and later in Marseilles where she was trained in the care of the sick; finally as superior of the group in Taiyuanfu.
She knew how to win hearts: bishops, priests, lay consecrated people, children, the sick …And for her own sisters, she was mother, support, animator … till the end. From where did she draw this strength? Her words unfold part of her secret:
«Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is half my life.
The other half consists in loving Jesus and winning souls for Him.»
An ardent missionary, adorer, a single-hearted woman. Marie-Hermine did not flee in face of the danger of death. She knew how to live the Master's words: «There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for those one loves.» (Jn 15: 13)