Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

(In the world, MARIE GUYARD).

First superior of the Ursulines of Quebec , born at Tours, France, 28 Oct., 1599; died at Quebec, Canada, 30 April 1672. Her father was by birth a bourgeois; her mother was connected with the illustrious house of Barbon de la Bourdaisière. From infancy Marie gave evidences of great piety and detachment from the world. At the age of seventeen, in obedience to her parents, she was married to a silk manufacturer of the name of Martin, and devoted herself without reserve to the duties of a Christian wife. The union was a source of trials: the only consolation it brought her was the birth of a son, who afterwards became a Benedictine as Dom Claude, wrote his mother's biography and died in the odour of sanctity. Left a widow after two years of married life, she entertained the idea of joining the Ursulines, but the care which her child required of her delayed the realization of this project, until he had reached the age of twelve, when she followed her vocation unhesitatingly. The Ursuline Order had recently been introduced into France by Madame de Sainte-Beuve, and Madame Martin took the veil in the house of that order at Tours. The care of the novices was confided to her two years after her entry into the convent. She always felt intense zeal for saving souls, and at the age of about thirty-four she experienced new impulses of "the apostolic spirit which transported her soul even to the ends of the earth"; and the longing for her own sanctification, and the salvation of so many souls still under the shadows of paganism inspired her with the resolution to go and live in America. She communicated this desire to her confessor, who, after much hesitation, approved it. A pious woman, Mme de la Peltrie, provided the means for its execution. This lady, better known as Marie-Madeleine de Chauvigny, by her generosity, and the sacrifice she made in leaving her family and her country, deserved to be called the co-worker of Marie de l'Incarnation in Canada. Sailing from Dieppe 3 April, 1639, with a few sisters who had begged to be allowed to accompany her, Marie de l'Incarnation, after a perilous voyage of three months, arrived at Quebec and was there joyfully welcomed by the settlers (4July). She and her companions at first occupied a little house in the lower town (Basse-Ville). In the spring of 1641 the foundation-stone was laid of the Ursuline monastery, on the same spot where it now stands. Marie de l'Incarnation was acknowledged as the superior. To be the more useful to the aborigines, she had set herself to learn their languages immediately on her arrival. Her piety, her zeal for the conversion and instruction of the young aborigines, and the wisdom with which she ruled her community were alike remarkable. She suffered great tribulations from the Iroquois who were threatening the colony, but in the midst of them she stood firm and was able to comfort the downcast. On 29 December, 1650, a terrible conflagration laid the Ursuline monastery in ashes. She suffered much from the rigours of winter, and took shelter first with the Hospitalières and then with Mme de la Peltrie . On 29 May of the following year she inaugurated the new monastery. The rest of her life she passed teaching and catechizing the young Indians, and died after forty years of labours, thirty-three of them spent in Canada.

Marie de l' Incarnation has left a few works which breathe unction, piety, and resignation to Divine Providence. "Des Lettres" (Paris, 1677-1681) contains in its second part an account of the events which took place in Canada during her time, and constitute one of the sources for the history of the French colony from 1639 to 1671. There are also a "Retraite", with a short exposition of the Canticle of Canticles, and a familiar "Explication" of the mysteries of the Faith -- a catechism which she compiled for young religious women. CASGRAIN, Histoire de la Vén. Mère Marie de l'Incarnation , (Quebec, 1888); CHAPOT Hist. de la Vén. Mère Marie de l'Incarnation (Paris. 1S92); RICHAUDEAU, Lettres de la rév. Mère M. de l'I (Paris, 1876).


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 3:14-21
14 This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19
1 Shout for joy, you upright; praise comes well from ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:49-53
49 'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 23rd, 2014 Image

St. John of Capistrano
October 23: St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter