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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Frances Joseph Gaudet, Educator and Prison Reformer, 1934.

Born in a log cabin in Holmesville, Mississippi, Frances Joseph Gaudet was the daughter of a former slave. And yet, when she died she was able to leave behind a signficiant financial trust to carry on the work about which she was passionate: education for all people and reform of prisons.

Gaudet was educated in New Orleans. Widowed at a young age, she devoted most of her life to her work of building a better society. She developed a nationwide reputation and earned much respect for her work in prison reform. Her vision was broad and wide, leading her to attend the 1900 conference of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in Edinburgh, Scotland.

She purchased land and founded the Gaudet Normal and Industrial School, which eventually grew to encompass 105 acres. It served the children at risk, also serving as a boarding school for the daughters and sons of working mothers. In 1921, Gaudet donated the school to the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. Though the school closed in 1950, her legacy trust lives on, granting scholarships to children in need to this day.

Almigty God: Give us vision to behold all your children as precious in your sight, and then strengthen us for the work of building a just world where all may flourish. Amen.

Merciful God, who raised up your servant Frances Joseph Gaudet to work for prison reform and the education of her people: Grant that we, encouraged by the example of her life, may work for those who are denied the fullness of life by reasons of incarceration and lack of access to education; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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