Everything begins in the middle of the 18th century in Picardy

Louis XIV has been ruling over France since 1774.  The stability of the country rests on ancestral laws:  “privileges” given to the nobles and to the Church.   Only 2% of the population controls the country, collects taxes and imposes justice.  Peasants pay the taxes and do the work.  Established by Louis XIV, the French absolute monarchy is beginning to weaken.  The ideas of the Enlightment progressively call into question this social order, ideas that will strengthen the American Revolution, which will serve as a model in France.

Julie and Françoise are examples of the society of this era.  Julie Billiart is a daughter of the countryside whose faith is an essential support in facing life’s difficulties.  As for Françoise Blin de Bourdon, she comes from high nobility and lives comfortably while nurturing her desire to consecrate herself to God in the Carmelite community. 

Both are natives of Picardy where grain production feeds a dense population.  Large factories are in Beauvais, Abbeville, Amiens and Saint-Quentin; fabrics found as far as South America drive the spinning wheels and provide jobs in the villages of the province of Oise, furnishing resources for numerous country artisans.


1751 Encyclopedia by Diderot and d’Alembert
1764  Suppression of the Jesuits in France
1776 (4 July) American Independence