Born in Troyes on April 17, 1620, Marguerite Bourgeoys would cele­brate her 400th birth­day in 2020. Who was this woman and why do we high­light her anniver­sary?

First teacher of Montreal

In 1653, Marguerite Bourgeoys arrived in Ville-Marie (Montreal) to teach. However, she had to wait until 1658 for there to be enough children to open a school.

Her first students were the children of the settlers who were building Montreal. They learned reading, writing, arithmetic and handiwork in order to be properly prepared for adult life. Marguerite believed in liberating education, whose purpose was to develop each person’s full potential.

In service

Marguerite Bourgeoys visited the settlers’ wives who lived outside Ville-Marie’s walls. She taught them how to read and provided many services. She was often asked for her advice and was known as the “Mother of the Colony.”

Marguerite also welcomed les Filles du Roy (the King’s Wards), who had come from France to marry and start families. She taught them to adapt to the difficult conditions of their new environment. She also opened a workshop where impoverished women learned weaving, sewing, etc. to be able to earn a living.


A Congregation that is always active

Marguerite founded the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. It is one of the first uncloistered religious communities of women in the Catholic Church and the first in North America.

This Congregation is still in existence today. The sisters continue Marguerite’s work in eight countries: Canada, United States, Japan, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, France and Cameroon. They work with families and parishes, and advocate for greater social justice and the protection of the planet.

Continuing the mission…

Marguerite Bourgeoys was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 31, 1982. She became the first female saint of Canada. Having dedicated her life to building a better Church and society, she invites us to work together for a more just world.


January 23 2020

Marguerite Journeying

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January 9 2020

A bilingual lecture-show in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

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November 5 2019

Daring To Dream A New World Into Being

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November 4 2019

Ottawa celebrates Marguerite Bourgeoys’s 400th

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2020sun02febAll DayPresentationof the Congrégation de Notre-Dame and the life of Marguerite Bourgeoys(All Day: sunday) Troyes, Troyes, Aube, France Event Organized By: Congrégation de Notre-Dame

2020sat15feb14 h 00 min17 h 00 min“The Great Explorers”A playful afternoon for children 7 to 1214 h 00 min - 17 h 00 min Notre-Dame en l’Isle Diocesan House, 10, rue de l'Isle, Troyes, Aube, France Event Organized By: Sister Dominique Sabas CND

2020sun01mar12 h 00 minFrom Marguerite to Today and Beyondevening on liberating education12 h 00 min

2020sun08mar17 h 00 minReception for the studentsof the congrégation de Notre-Dame17 h 00 min Grand Quai - Port of Montreal

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