Eventually Mother Julie was invited to open a community of Sisters in Namur. She was welcomed warmly by the bishop, and her Sisters became an integral part of the city. The congregation became known as Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Declining Health Returns
Mother Julie's health began to decline as she travelled widely to establish new convents and schools. She continued to do what she loved so dearly - to teach the children about the goodness of God. With strong and patient wisdom, she also taught her Sisters to be loving women and caring teachers.
But work took its toll, and in January 1816, Mother Julie became very ill. The doctors offered little hope. She was, again, helpless and bedridden. In the darkness of the early morning of April 8, 1816, at the age of 64, Mother Julie died peacefully.
Ninety years later, on May 13, 1906, Mother Julie was beatified. She was canonized as St. Julie Billiart on June 22, 1969.
In the years after Mother Julie's death, the congregation she founded with Francoise Blin de Bourdon grew rapidly in France and Belgium. In 1840, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur went out to the world as Julie envisioned. Eight pioneer Sisters left Namur for the United States and established the first Notre Dame convent and school in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Today, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are in ministries across the United States, as well as in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. In all places, the Sisters, with hearts as wide as the world, follow in St. Julie's footsteps proclaiming always and everywhere, "How good is the good God."