Marguerite was born the sixth of 12 children in Troyes, France.

At age 20, she felt called to religious life. Her applications to the Carmelites and Poor Clares were unsuccessful. A priest friend suggested that perhaps God had other plans for her.

In 1654, the governor of the French settlement in Canada visited his sister, an Augustinian canoness in Troyes. Marguerite happened to be working there. The governor invited her to come to Canada and start a school in Ville-Marie (eventually the city of Montreal). When she arrived, the colony numbered 200 people with a hospital and a Jesuit mission chapel.

Soon after starting a school, she realized her need for co-workers. Returning to Troyes, she recruited three young women. In 1667, they added classes at their school for Indian children. A second trip to France, three years later, resulted in recruiting six more young women and a letter from King Louis XIV, authorizing the school. The Congregation of Notre Dame was established in 1676 but its members did not make formal religious profession until 1698 when their Rule and constitutions were approved.

Marguerite established a school for Indian girls in Montreal. At age 69, she walked from Montreal to Quebec in response to the bishop’s request to establish a community of her sisters in that city. By the time she died, she was referred to as the “Mother of the Colony.” Marguerite was canonized in 1982.

Adapted by A. J. Valentini from: St. Marguerite Bourgeoys | Franciscan Media. (n.d.). Franciscan Media. Retrieved Jan. 5, 2021, from