The foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross, Jeanne Haze, was born in Liège, Belgium, in February 1782. She came from a loving family which gave her spiritual strength throughout her life. Her first experience of suffering came as a result of the French Revolution when Jeanne and her family were exiled to Germany. During that time her father died. The family lost everything and Jeanne became aware of the transitory nature of material belongings.
She was conscious of her vocation very early in her life. Because of their own experience of the Cross, Jeanne and her sister Ferdinande were drawn to those most in need. In answer to a request by Dean Cloes of St Barthélemy in, they opened a school for poor children.
Jeanne and her sister were joined by other young women wishing to lead a religious life. The local curate of St Barthélemy, Father Habets, who had initially been opposed to their desire for the religious life, soon changed his mind and collaborated in the writing of the first Constitutions of the future “Daughters of the Cross”.
On September 8th 1833, Jeanne and her sister made their final committment, receiving the names Mother Marie Thérèse and Mother Aloysia. Two other companions, Sisters Clara and Constance, made their temporary vows for one year and two postulants entered the noviciate. Thus the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross was born in the Carmelite Church of Potay in Liège , Belgium, next to their own little convent.
The little community responded whenever they could to the needs of the people around them – nursing the sick in their own homes, caring for the women prisoners, teaching children by day and adults in the evenings. Before long, communities were founded in Germany (1849) India (1861) and England (1863). By the time Blessed Marie Thérèse died on January 7th 1876, she had received more than 900 Sisters into the Congregation and founded 51 communities. Before she started the Congregation she said”If ever I start a Congregation I will have sisters who care for the sick”