Ramasindraibe, Symphorose (Sister Jean-Baptiste)
One of the first Malagasy religious, she was born around 1862 in Antananarivo, took her vows on May 25, 1890, and died on April 7, 1934, in Fianarantsoa.
1862 to 1934
Symphorose Ramasindraibe came from a noble and highly regarded family that was related to Queen Ravanalo II.
Her education was entrusted to the Sisters of Andohalo, who taught her the Catholic faith. A quiet and hard-working person, she asked if she could become a nun in 1886. From that day on, her family rejected her, and she had to endure the suffering that this rejection brought about for the rest of her life.
Sister Jean-Baptiste was forced into exile during the Franco-Malagasy war of 1884. Once peace returned, her superiors sent her to Fianarantsoa, where she was charged with the education and Christian instruction of the "normaliennes" (students at a Teacher's college; wives destined to help their catechist husbands, or married women sent by the missionaries to remote stations as catechists or schoolteachers).
Because of her religious ordination and her origins, she was venerated by the Malagasy people, and her influence extended to all ethnicities and all levels of society. Her discretion in matters confided to her was only equaled by her benevolence.
She was the first to be buried in the tomb of the mission in Ambatomena, where she is at rest next to the missionaries from foreign lands.
Sister Marcienne Fabre
Bulletin de la Congrégation de Saint Joseph de Cluny, No. 192, vol. 15, p. 978, August 1935.
This article, which is printed here with permission, is taken from Hommes et Destins: Dictionnaire biographique d'Outre-Mer [Men and Destinies: Overseas Biographical Dictionary], Vol. 3, published in 1977 by the Académie des Sciences d'Outre-Mer (15, rue la Pérouse, 75116, Paris, France). All rights reserved.