Want to know about the women who brought religion to New France? Interested in how Blessed Marie of New France found her faith? Read our guide for more facts and information...
Marie was born in 1599 in the city of Tours, France. She was the fourth child born to parents who were devout Catholics. Marie had not yet formally found her faith; however, at an early age she learned to help the sick and the poor. It is also recorded that at the age of seven Marie had a dream, which was her first inspiration to devoting her life to God. Marie felt a strong connection to God; however, Marie married Claude Martin at the wish of her parents as he was a prominent business man in the community. Marie though was able to return to her faith as after two years of marriage her husband passed away. Marie began to reconsider her faith but at this time she was caring for her young six month old son.
In 1631 Marie followed her faith and entered the Ursuline convent after leaving her son with earlier acquaintances. During Marie’s time at the Ursuline convent she was given the name Marie of the Incarnation. Two years after entering the convent in 1633 Marie of the Incarnation had another dream that opened her to the idea of traveling to New France in the service of God. Years later in 1639 Marie’s dream of going to New France was realized.
In New France
Marie of the Incarnation and the other women that traveled with her to New France were the first group of women to travel to New France as missionaries. The missionaries began their new life in New France in great poverty as they lived in a small house. During this time Marie studied to learn many native languages in order so she could teach her faith. While residing in New France, Marie of the Incarnation received word that her son, Claude, had become ordained as a priest in 1649.
Marie felt that this allowed her to reconnect with her son. Life in New France was not easy for the missionaries and in 1650 the Ursuline group considered returning home as their settlement burned in 1650. The group however, stayed in New France and construction on the new convent was begun in early 1651. The convent was finished in 1652 and was much improved on the previous building. Marie of the Incarnation continued her teaching about her faith for the rest of her time in New France.
In 1664 at the age of 65 Marie of the Incarnation began to experience failing health. She was able to recover after a short rest in bed. Marie continued teaching until 1672 when Marie finally succumbed to death and passed on. Marie’s work in New France was a large part of bringing the faith to the new world and on June 22 1980 her work was recognized as Marie of the Incarnation was made blessed by Pope John Paul II.