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Feastday: January 12

Patron against poverty; loss of parents; people rejected by religious orders

Birth: 1620

Death: 1700


At the age of twenty, Margaret Bourgeoys, of Troyes, France, was walking in a procession for the feast of the Holy Rosary when her gaze fell upon a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary atop a gate. The statue appeared to come to life, as Margaret saw Mary’s eyes tenderly gaze upon her. The mysterious incident changed her life, as she would later attest: “I gave myself to God in the year 1640.” After two convents had refused her requests for admission, she was asked to undertake a school-teaching apostolate in Canada. Agonizing over this decision, Margaret finally became convinced that the Canadian mission was God’s will for her while praying during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. In 1653 Margaret journeyed to Canada. It was there that she founded a new congregation dedicated to the education and spiritual formation of young women, the Sisters of Notre Dame. Among the many religious and moral values she inculcated in her pupils was that of Christian modesty, establishing for the girls a “League of Modest Fashion.” The students made a pledge of modesty while prostrate before an altar of the Blessed Virgin.


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