Yvonne Beauvais (1901-1951) was a French nun who took the name of Mother Yvonne-Aimée of Jesus (literally, Yvonne the Beloved of Jesus). She had a life filled with heavenly gifts, visits from Jesus and Mary, suffering and was even persecuted by the devil. She is especially known for her devotion to the Child Jesus, King of Love (see picture next page). Here is a summary of her extraordinary life.
Yvonne Beauvais was born on the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16, 1901 at Cossé-en-Champagne, a little town in the jurisdiction of Mayenne, France. Her father died when she was just 3 years old and Yvonne went to live with her maternal grandmother. She returned to live with her mother the following year, staying at boarding schools where her mother was director.
On January 1st, 1911, two days after she had made her First Holy Communion at the age of 9, she wrote a pact of love with Jesus in words written in her own blood.
“O my little Jesus, I give myself to Thee completely and forever. I shall always want what Thou shalt want. I shall do all that Thou shalt tell me to do. I shall live for Thee, I shall live in silence, and if it be Thy will, I shall suffer much in silence. I beg Thee to make me become a saint, a very great saint, a martyr. Make me always faithful. I want to save many souls and to love Thee more than everyone else, but I also want to be very little so as to give Thee more glory. I want to possess Thee, my little Jesus, and to shine with Thee. I want to belong to Thee alone but, above all, I want Thy will.”
Yvonne was true to her religious name, the Beloved of Jesus. At the age of 20, she joined the Association of the Children of Mary Immaculate and served the poor. She fell ill the following year with typhoid fever and was treated at a small hospital in Malestroit, a small town tucked away in a corner of Brittany, run by the Augustinian Sisters of Mercy. Five years from the date of her admission to the nursing home as a patient Yvonne entered the novitiate of the convent on March 18, 1927. In September 1931, she made her perpetual vows, taking the name Sister Yvonne-Aimée of Jesus. In 1935 she was elected the convent’s Mother-Superior and in 1946 she established the Federation of the Augustinian monasteries and became its first Superior-General.
She helped allied soldiers and French resistance fighters during World War II by sheltering them at the hospital and aiding their escape. On July 22, 1945, she was awarded the French Legion of Honour medal by General Charles de Gaulle.
On August 28, 1922, Mother Yvonne-Aimée received the inspiration of the Little Invocation, “O Jesus, King of Love, I trust in Thy loving mercy”. Within the community at Malestroit, the prayer brought about healing and the restoration of unity in charity. Immediately the Little Invocation began to spread, first in communities of her own religious order and among hospital patients, and then beyond. Before long, the faithful, praying the Little Invocation, began witnessing to the graces and favours they received.
In 1932, the Bishop of Vannes, France, approved the prayer for the diocese. The following year, Pope Pius XI indulgenced it for the Augustinian Canonesses of the Mercy of Jesus for their sick and for all those hospitalized in their health care facilities. Pope Pius XII renewed the favour, and on December 6, 1958 Pope John XXIII extended it to the universal Church.
Mother Yvonne-Aimée cherished the Little Invocation to Jesus, King of Love; she wanted to make it known and see it spread because such was Our Lord’s desire. In a letter requesting that Pope Pius XI indulgence the prayer, she wrote: “It is so sweet, so strong, so rich, this Little Invocation... It is appreciated by the sick; it consoles them. They love this prayer because it appeals to the Kingship of Christ Jesus, to His Love, His Mercy, His Goodness; in some way it compels us to trust. It condenses our familiar invocations to the Sacred Heart and sums them.”
In 1927, Mother Yvonne-Aimée had prayer cards printed to spread the prayer. In 1940, during World War II, in order to make the prayer even better known and loved, she had a medal struck. She drew an image of the Child Jesus, King of Love, which has since been distributed around the globe.
Mother Yvonne-Aimée had many intimate talks with Jesus and Mary. One day Jesus said to her about the malice of backbiting:
“A vicious tongue is more cruel than the lance which pierced My heart. When it wounds another, it wounds a part of My body – indeed, it wounds My living body, whereas the lance only pierced My dead body. It causes Me more pain than the thorns caused My head, or the nails My feet and hands. I love whoever it is whom that vicious tongue has attacked – I gave My own life for them.”
In 1951, Mother Yvonne-Aimée was planning to visit nuns of the order in Natal, South Africa. However, she died from a cerebral hemorrhage in Malestroit on February 3 at the age of 49. In 1957, 6 years later her body was exhumed and found incorrupt.
Mother Yvonne-Aimée had but one aim: to draw souls to trust in the Heart of the Child King, to hope in His merciful goodness, and that people abandon all worries, fears, cares, and sins to Him. This remains her aim, even today, from her place in heaven.
The process for her beatification has begun in the diocese of Rennes, and we hope that the Church will soon proclaim her saint. Ask for her help. You will not regret it.