The foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, an order of nuns that once taught in Vermont, will be canonized May 15 along with nine other candidates for sainthood.

Blessed Marie Rivier founded the order in 1796 during the French Revolution when many Catholic convents were closed and religious activities were outlawed. S

he was born in 1768, died in 1838 and was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1982.

The first permanent mission – St. Mary Convent and School — of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in the United States was established in 1886 in Island Pond when sisters arrived from St. Hyacinthe, Québec. In 1931 another convent was founded in Vermont at St. Anthony Parish in Burlington where sisters taught in the parish school.

Sisters also taught at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington.

The sisters no longer serve in these ministries.

The poor also held a special place in Marie’s heart, and she opened her first orphanage in 1814.

Today, the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary serve in France, Switzerland, Canada, United States, England, Spain, Italy, Madeira, Portugal, Mozambique, Japan, Philippines, Senegal, Gambia, Ireland, Peru, Brazil, Cameroon, Indonesia and Burkina Faso. The Generalate is at Castelgandolfo (Rome), Italy. In the United States, they serve in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Kathleen Messier, assistant archivist for the Diocese of Burlington, attended Presentation of Mary Academy in Hudson, New Hampshire, from 1984 to 1991. “The Sisters were consistent in their teaching methods in that they provided an excellent education for students in which standards were set high,” she said.