Jan. 12, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, co-foundress of Montreal

Today is the feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, 1620-1700, observed by Catholics and by the Anglican Church of Canada.

"She is rightly considered co-foundress of Montreal, with the nurse, Jeanne Mance, and the master designer, Monsieur de Maisonneuve." She "initiated a school system and a network of social services which gradually extended through the whole country, and which led people to refer to Marguerite as 'Mother of the Colony.'"

-- from the Vatican biography of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

Marguerite Bourgeoys, who founded the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, lived to be eighty, and she crossed the Atlantic seven times.

Marguerite Bourgeoys and Montreal, 1640-1665, was published by McGill-Queen's University Press in 1997. The author, Sr. Patricia Simpson, CND, "goes behind the mist of myth and hagiography surrounding Marguerite Bourgeoys to reveal her true character. . . . placing her life within the larger historical context of the time and highlighting the role of women in society and the church."

Click here to see a picture of Marguerite Bourgeoys, and to see what X-rays revealed under the 19th-century painting.

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