“Marguerite is often referred to as the “Mother of the Colony’ for her Contributions to the establishment of Ville-Marie, the place we know today as Montreal.
Born in France in 1620, Marguerite crossed the Atlantic in 1653 to join in the colonizing efforts begun by Monsieur de Maisonneuve. Her mandate was to develop educational opportunities for aboriginal children and for the families of the French settlers in Ville-Marie.
Marguerite received’ the help of Jeanne Mance, founder of the Hotel-Dieu Hospital. Other women joined her and the group formed an institute of uncloistered sisters, the Congrégation of Notre-Dame. Marguerite and her companions took on many roles, including teaching, introducing vocational courses for youth and assisting couples preparing for marriage. She resisted Church pressure to change her community to a cloistered one and lived to see her order’s rule confirmed in 1698. Marguerite was well loved. She died in 1700 at the age of 80 and was declared a saint on October 31, 1982. In 1997, archaeologists uncovered the foundation of the chapel Marguerite built in Ville-Marie 325 years earlier. Marguerite is a patron saint of poor people.” (Living with Christ, January 2021)