Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation
We emphasize among the heroes of the founding of Quebec, Blessed Marie de l’Incarnation, who was nicknamed: "Mother of the Canadian Church, the Theresa Avila of Canada", beatified by Pope John Paul II. Here is a short biography taken from the daily lives of the saints.
Marie Guyart, fourth child of Jeanne Michelet and the baker Florent Guyart, was born in Tours, France, on October 28, 1599.
God would make of her one of the great mystics of the Church, an exceptional missionary and the mother of the Canadian Church.
At the age of seven she saw, in a dream, Jesus coming towards her and asking her: "Do you want to belong to Me?"
With all the spontaneity of a child she answered, "YES!" A free and ardent "Yes" that never was denied.
At seventeen years of age, her parents, as per the customs of the time, gave her in marriage to Claude Martin, a silk merchant. Her husband died two years later leaving her with a six month old child, the little Claude (who would later become a Benedictine priest) and all the hassle of a failing business. She faced this new situation with courage.
In 1621, she had accepted work in her brother-in-law’s important transport business. We see Marie, in the streets of Tours, negotiating, taking care of employees and sixty horses.
In 1627, after having a profound experience of the Trinity, Jesus takes her for His spouse and unites her to Him in an inexpressible manner. She lived these experiences amidst a very busy daily life.
In 1631, after repeated invitations from God, she enters the Ursuline Order in Tours, where she takes the name Mary of the Incarnation. There God continues to prepare her for the missionary vocation He has chosen for her.
In 1634, in another dream, she sees "a very difficult place" that she will recognize upon her arrival in Quebec City, and perceives that the Blessed Virgin and her Son Jesus seem to be calling her to a mission that she does not yet know.
She enters into contact with some Jesuits who are missionaries in New France. Finally, January 25, 1639, she leaves her monastery in Tours for Quebec City. Mrs. de la Peltrie, a widow who is ready to follow her and help her financially in her project to found a school for young Indian and French girls, accompanies her.
From 1639 to 1672, she lived in her monastery in Quebec City, at the heart of the new Canadian Church.
To protect themselves from the cold, the sisters slept in chests, a type of coffin lined in serge.
The work she carried out in the service of the Mission was simply prodigious. As well as greeting the young girls to teach them foundation of the Catholic Faith, she received a great number of visitors in the parlor, Indians as well as Frenchmen.
Among other things, she began to study the languages of the country and composed dictionaries, catechisms and the lives of saints in at least three Indian languages.
All material cares where her responsibility: the construction of the monastery, the reconstruction after the fire in 1650, the worry over food and clothing for the religious and the young boarders.
At night, at candlelight, she wrote thousands of letters to her son, to her friends and benefactors in France.
In 1654, she answered the insistent demands of her son, now a Benedictine monk and sent him the story of her life.
According to Bossuet, Mary of the Incarnation is the "Theresa of the New World and of her time."
She is called "mother of the Canadian Church."
She died in Quebec City on April 30, 1672, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II, on April 22, 1980.
Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, bring the Canadians back to their Faith.