On October 31st, we celebrate the anniversary of canonization of Marguerite Bourgeoys.
Educator of Montreal
Marguerite Bourgeoys, a native of Troyes, France, came to Ville-Marie in 1653. The city that we now know as Montreal came into existence through the desire of a group of devout men and women in seventeenth-century France to share with the native people of the New World what they regarded as their most precious possession: their Christian faith. They hoped to achieve this goal through the establishment of a settlement on the island of Montreal in the colony of New France. The foundation was intended to embody the Christian ideal described in the Acts of the Apostles in such a way as to attract the Amerindians just as the communities of early Christians had drawn their first converts in the Mediterranean world of the first century.
Marguerite Bourgeoys's arrival eleven years after the initial foundation was to fulfill part of the original design for the colony, which included a plan to provide for the education of its children. She came with the recruitment known as the “hundred men” (« La grande recrue »), who were to prevent that first foundation from abandonment or extinction, the alternatives facing Ville-Marie by 1653. On the voyage between France and Canada, during which she had cared for the sick and consoled the dying, the prospective settlers with whom she journeyed had already begun to address her as “Sister.” From this beginning until her death in 1700, she was totally dedicated to the welfare of the people of Montreal.
Being able to be a delegate at our General Chapter was both a privilege and a gift for me. Those precious days in August were a culmination of two years of planning. The Chapter Preparatory Commission and the facilitator led sisters and associates of the Provinces and Regions through a wonderful process. As a result, the theme for our Chapter “Rooted in Jesus Christ, Let Us Cultivate Love and Compassion” became very much a part of us all.
The Marguerite Bourgeoys stained glass window from Notre Dame Convent Charlottetown will now grace the new diocesan Our Lady of Hope Retreat Centre in Stanley Bridge, PEI.
This stained glass window was a gift from the Prince of Wales students, class of 1952 who boarded at Notre Dame.