Mattaincourt, Grand Est, France, 1600.
Portrait of Pierre Fourier
Born in 1565 in Mirecourt (France), Pierre Fourier studied at the renowned university of Pont-à-Mousson, which had been recently founded by the Jesuits. During a time of many upheavals, he undertook the reform of education and the improvement of the social condition of the masses, including providing education to girls and young women. In 1597, with Alix Le Clerc, he founded the Congrégation Notre-Dame and opened the first free school for girls in Poussay the following year. As pioneers in the field of education, Fourier and Le Clerc organized school activities and developed a programme adapted to the times which emphasized reading, writing, small manual tasks and Christian religion.