On this day, feast of St. John the Beloved, in 1206, it is traditionally believed that our Holy Father St. Dominic gathered together nine women, most who had converted from the Catharist sect. However,historians think that they did not come together formally until March, 1207. Blessed Jordan in his Libellus tells us that, "At a place called Prouille, between Fanjeaux and Montreal, he established a monastery to receive certain noble women whose parents had been forced by poverty to entrust them to the heretics to be educated and brought up." This community would be the support of the daily life of the Preachers, as the hospices were for the itinerant Perfecti heretics, and would help in their apostolate by prayer and sacrifices. Thus in embryo was begun the monastery of Notre Dame de Prouille. Eventually, these nuns would be the first nuns of the Order of Preachers.

Little is known of these first nuns but their names. It is thought that there were originally nine sisters although there may have been as many as a dozen. They were:

  • Sr. Raymonde Claret
  • Sr. Alazaice
  • Sr. Richarde
  • Sr. Guillelmine de Belpech
  • Sr. Guillelmine de Fanjeaux
  • Sr. Raimonde-Paserine
  • Sr. Berengere
  • Sr. Jourdaine
  • Sr. Curtolane
  • Sr. Gentiane

Blessed Jordan further tells us that, "To this day the handmaids of Christ there offer acceptable service to their Maker, leading vigorously holy lives, in outstanding innocence and purity; a life such as theirs is conducive to salvation for those who lead it, an example to others, a joy to the angels, and pleasing to God."

The monastery of Holy Mary of Prouille was refounded after the French Revolution and is still in existence. Go to to learn more.

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