Saint Marguerite d’Youville

Saint Marguerite d'YouvilleAlso known as

  • Mary Margaret Dufrost de Lajemmarais d’Youville
  • Marie-Marguérite d’Youville
  • Marie-Marguérite Dufrost de Lajemmerais



Eldest of six children born to Christophe Dufrost de Lajemmerais, who died in her youth, and Renee de Varennes; niece of Laverendrye, who ‘discovered’ the Rocky Mountains. Her father died when Marguerite was seven. Educated for two years by the Ursulines in Quebec, she returned home at age 13 to help her mother raise her younger siblings, and to teach them what she’d learned. Her mother re-married, her step-father an Irish physician who was considered an outsider by their friends; the family fell out of favour in their own town, and moved to Montreal. There on 12 August 1722 at age 21, Marguerite married François de Youville, and the couple lived with his mother. François proved to be a negligent, adulterous bootlegger. Marguerite was mother of six children, four of whom died in infancy; both surviving sons became priests. Widowed in 1730 at age 28; François left her nothing but debt.

Marguerite opened a small store to support herself and her children, and spent much of her profits helping those even poorer than herself. With the help of Father Louis Normant du Faradon and three like-minded women, she founded the Sisters of Charity of the General Hospital of Montreal (Grey Nuns) on 31 December 1737; the congregation received diocesan approval in 1755. She and her sisters took over operation of the failing and decrepit General Hospital in Montreal on 7 October 1747; Marguerite lived in the hospital the rest of her life, served as its director, and through the work of the sisters it became a success and beacon to outcasts. The hospital was nearly closed several times due to financial problems and armed conflict between the English and French for the region; Mother Marguerite and her sisters made clothes which were sold to traders in order to raise money, and her care for sick English soldiers caused them to avoid damage to the building. Today the sisters work throughout Canada, the United States, Africa, and South America.







MLA Citation

  • “Saint Marguerite d’Youville“. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 May 2021. Web. 24 June 2021. <>