- Esther Blondin
- Sister Marie-Anne
- Marie-Anne Blondin
Born to a pious, French–Canadian farm family, the daughter of Jean Baptiste Blondin and Marie Rose Limoges. Illiterate into adulthood, as were the other members of her family and most of her acquaintances. Domestic servant for a village merchant, and then in the convent of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, where she learned to read and write. Entered as a novice in the Sisters, but ill health forced her to leave.
Parochial school teacher at Vaudreuil, Quebec in 1833; she was later named directress of the school, which was renamed the Blondin Academy. There she realized the reason for the widespread illiteracy in the area: girls could only be taught by women, boys only by men; parishes that could not afford two schools simply had none. In 1848 she sought permission to form a congregation that would teach boys and girls in the same school. It was a radical notion in its day, but had government support, and the bishop authorized a test site. The Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Anne was founded in Vaudreuil on 8 September 1850 with Esther as first superior, taking the name in religion of Marie-Anne.
The community grew, and the motherhouse transferred to Saint Jacques de l’Achigan in 1853. There the new chaplain, Father Louis Adolphe Marechal, abused his position, meddled in the financial and spiritual life of the Congregation, and generally sabotaged the work of Mother Marie Anne. Marechel succeeded in having her removed from her position in the Congregation.
Directress at Saint Genevieve Convent, but she continued to be harassed by Marechal. Accused of mismanagement, she was recalled to the Motherhouse in 1858, and was prohibited for her remaining 32 years from an administrative position; the sisters were ordered not to refer to her as “Mother”. Realizing that any fight she could make would only damage the Congregation, she accepted her lot, and worked in the laundry, the ironing room, and other menial positions. Elected several times as superior of the Congregation, she was forbidden to accept, and never tried. Her humility and resignation paid off as the Congregation continued to grow, and universal education became the norm.
Model of a humble and hidden life, Marie-Anne Blondin found interior strength by contemplating the cross, showing us that the life of intimacy with Christ is the surest way to give fruits mysteriously and fulfill the mission willed by God. – Pope John Paul II at the beatification of Blessed Maria
Lord. You gave to Blessed Marie Anne Blondin a heart impassioned for your glory and You called her to serve with tenderness the young, the poor and the sick. You gave her hope in the most difficult moments of her life and You led her to deep serenity. Be praised, Lord, for your humble servant, Blessed Marie Anne Blondin. Through her intercession grant us the favour that we ask of You with confidence. Amen. – prayer for obtaining a favour
- “Blessed Maria Anna Blondin“. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 April 2015. Web. 27 May 2015. <>