Saint Marguerite Bourgeous

detail of the painting 'Venerable Mere Marguerite Bourgeoys'; 1900 by Cadieux et Derome; British Library, London, England; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Margaret Bourgeoys
  • Marguerite Bourgeoys
  • Marguerite Bourjeoys



The sixth of twelve children of devout parents. When Marguerite was 19 her mother died, and the young lady cared for her younger brothers and sisters; her father died when she was twenty-seven. The family raised, Marguerite prayed to know what to do with her life. The governor of Montreal, Canada, was in France looking for teachers for the New World. He invited Marguerite to come to Montreal to teach school and religion classes. She agreed and spent the rest of her life in North America.

Marguerite gave away her share of her parents’ inheritance to other members of the family, and in 1653 sailed for Canada. She began construction of a chapel to honor Our Lady of Good Help, and opened her first school in 1658. She returned to France in 1659 to recruit more teachers, and returned with four; in 1670, she went to France again, and brought back six more. These brave women became the first sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame.

Marguerite and her sisters helped people in the colony survive when food was scarce, opened a vocational school, taught young people how to run a home and farm. Marguerite’s congregation grew to 18 sisters, seven of them Canadian. They opened missions, and two sisters taught at the Native American mission. Marguerite received the first two Native American women into the congregation.

In 1693, Mother Marguerite handed over her congregation to her successor, Marie Barbier, the first Canadian to join the order. Marguerite’s religious rule was approved by the Church in 1698, and Marguerite spent her last few years praying and writing an autobiography. On the last day of 1699, a young sister lay dying. Mother Marguerite asked the Lord to take her life in exchange. By the morning of 1 January 1700, the sister was completely well, Mother Marguerite had a raging fever, suffered 12 days, and died on 12 January 1700.








Our Lady‘s love is like a stream that has its source in the Eternal Fountains, quenches the thirst of all, can never be drained, and ever flows back to its Source. Saint Margaret Bourgeoys

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Marguerite Bourgeous“. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 July 2020. Web. 22 October 2021. <>