The Heart of Marguerite Bourgeoys

2330 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal

By Michelle Renaud

 

Sister Claudia Margarita Juárez Juárez before the reliquary found at the Mother House, 2010.

Did you know that the ashes of the heart of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, Foundress of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame of Montreal, can be found at 2330 Sherbrooke Street West?

Preserving the heart

The “Mother of the colony” of Ville Marie, as Marguerite would come to be known, lived in an era when it was common to conserve the hearts of those with a reputation for holiness. Therefore, after her death on January 12, 1700, her heart was carefully embalmed and placed in a heart-shaped lead box which was later replaced with a silver box.

Journey

Between 1700 and 1908 this heart followed the Congregation to its various Mother Houses in Old Montreal. In 1908, it was transferred to the sixth Mother House at 3040 Sherbrooke West (now Dawson College).

In 1985, in was placed in the seventh Mother House at 4873 Westmount Avenue (now Marianopolis College).

Finally, on January 19, 2005, her heart was transferred to the current Mother House where it is encased in a small reliquary in an oratory dedicated to Marguerite Bourgeoys as a sign of her eternal presence among us.

 

The reliquary in its own oratory.

 
 
Transfer of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys’s Mortal Remains
April 24, 2005

From 1766 to 2005, the mortal remains of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys rested in the various Mother Houses of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. In 2005, when the Mother House was moved, the decision was made to transfer the remains to Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, built in 1678 under the direction of Marguerite Bourgeoys herself. They were placed in the left altar beneath the statue of the Virgin with Child, the only object spared during the fire which completely destroyed the first chapel in 1754. Every year many pilgrims and visitors come to pray at the tomb of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

 

Altar and tomb of Marguerite Bourgeoys in the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, Montreal



 
 

What are
the Sisters of
the Congrégation
de Notre-Dame
doing in 2019?