Jeanne de Lestonnac, who was keenly aware of the important role of women in the Church and in society, had the visionary insight and conviction to introduce a new form of Apostolic Religious Life.
It is rooted in Ignatian Spirituality: to seek and find God in all things, with an ever-growing spirit of availability like Mary.
The Company of Mary is characterized by its universality and dynamism, adapting and responding to the needs of new situations in each period of history through its service of education. For nearly 400 years, the Company of Mary has expanded.
In 1606 Jeanne wrote the Abrege or Formula of the Institute and presented it to the Church for its approbation. She staunchly defended the identity of the Order as a Religious Institute and its unique apostolic dimension. On April 7, 1607, she received the official Approbation from the Church for the foundation of the first Religious Institute of women dedicated to active ministry.
On December 10, 1610, the first five companions made their religious vows.
By 1640, 30 convents had been established throughout France and quickly extended to other parts of Europe. Its apostolic zeal lead it to other lands, crossing oceans and continents to North and South America, and then to Africa and Asia.
The challenge has been to foster life and hope by a presence that is undeniably filled with the Spirit.
Mary is key in the development of this New Religious Order.
Company of Mary is Called and Congregated in her name and under her protection.