June 17

St. Emily de Vialar

St. Emily de Vialar

Born on 12 September 1797, Saint Emily de Vialar is the patron saint ofsingle women and a French nun. She was born in a little town calledGaillac, in France, during the French revolution. During these turbulenttimes, she had to be baptized in secret. Her father, Jacques de Vialar,was a doctor while her mother raised Emily and her other two siblings.

Wondering what makes Emily de Vialar so notable in Christianity? I didsome research and compiled this biography to answer that question.

Early Life

Emily’s mother taught her from a young age how to read. When she turnedjust 13 years old, Emily attended the Parisian college of theAbbaye-au-Bois, accompanied by her mother. On this long journey to theParisian college, Emily’s mother fell extremely ill.

Despite his best efforts, Emily’s father could not help her motherrecover. On 17 September 1810, the mother of Emily de Vialar passed awayat the age of 35. Her mother’s passing broke Emily as she had a closerelationship with her.

At the age of 15, Emily returned to her childhood home to live with herfather and two younger brothers. However, her father was overwhelmedwith grief and was no longer managing the household. Instead, he handedover management of the household to an autocratic servant.

The Work of Emily de Vialar

Emily devoted her time to helping the poor and often offered them a roofover their heads, by offering them a place to stay at her father’sresidence. This, understandably, caused much tension in the householdamong the family. However, this inspired other young women to do thesame.

In 1832, the maternal grandfather of Emily de Vialar left her a largesum of money as her inheritance. With this inheritance, Emily purchaseda house and her companions stayed with her to continue helping the poor.

Shortly after the purchase of the house, Emily, and her companions withthe help of the bishop of Albi, established a congregation. Thiscongregation was called the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition. In1835, the 18 sisters include de Vialar, received approval for theircongregation.

Furthermore, Emily and her first companions also opened severalhospitals and schools in Boufarik. However, this came at a time of atragic cholera outbreak in the area. Due to this, the Bishop of Aligerscalled for the nuns to return to France in 1843.

Soon after her return to France, Emily left France on her own accord.She continued her works of kindness and service. She left France to openschools in Cyprus, Tripoli, and Beirut. While on her way from Tunisia toAlgeria, her ship became shipwrecked for nine days due to a terriblestorm. It was here that she opened one of the first school for Catholicyoung ladies.

During this time, the local superior in Gaillac had a large amount ofunaccumulated debts. As a result of this, Emily left the congregationand sued him for the return of his dowry. Due to this, Mother de Vialarendured slander and creditors; eventually being forced to leave herhometown.

The Death of Emily de Vialar

In 1852, Emily moved to Marseilles. Her inheritance was lost, and shefelt hopeless. It was in Marseilles that Emily met Eugene de Mazenod,the founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Eugene took Emily under his wing and helped her as much as he could.Emily found great hope and kindness in him. In 1856, Emily passed awaypeacefully in Marseilles.


On 24 June 1951, Emily was canonized by Pope Pius XII. In the Generalcalendar, her feast day is celebrated on 24 August. The Sisters of St.Joseph the Apparition celebrate the life of Emily de Vialar on 17 June.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Emily de Vialar

  1. Emily de Vialar’s father was a doctor.
  2. Her reliquary can still be seen today in Gaillac.
  3. She is also known by several other names. These names include Emilie
    de Vialar and Anne Marguerite Adelaide Emilie de Vialar.
  4. In 1832, Emily de Vialar left her father’s house on Christmas Day.
  5. Emily was born in the same year as Pope Pius VI was taken prisoner
    by French troops.

Prayer to St. Emily de Vialar

O St. Emilie,you who in the church,wanted to continueto manifest the Father’s love,as realised throughthe Incarnation of the Son,grant us your docility to the Spirit,your audacity andyour apostolic courage.Amen.