Born to a cooper and winemaker in Burgundy, France, Madeleine was educated by her older brother, Louis, who was studying for the priesthood. He strove to repress her emotions and instruct her as if she were a seminarian. Her extensive formation, unusual for the time, paid off, as Madeleine was prepared for the rebirth of French Catholicism after its persecution during the French Revolution. In 1800, she and three companions began the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Madeleine was appointed superior at 23, and over the next 63 years she oversaw the establishment of more than 100 houses and schools in 12 countries. Her order was approved by Rome in 1826, and she was canonized in 1925.