December 14, 2011 ─ Montréal has been blessed by the dedication, sacrifice, and faith of many outstanding individuals throughout its history. Shining examples of devotion and perseverance, the following three Québec saints were intrinsic to the development of not only the colony, but the city’s religious heritage.
Missionary, co-foundress, administrator, teacher, nun and “Mother” of the colony, Sainte Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620–1700) was a driving force in community. She participated in the governing of the colony; she established Montréal’s first school to educate les filles du roi and eventually founded the Congregation of Notre Dame; she undertook the construction of Montréal’s first stone chapel, Notre Dame de Bonsecours. She was canonized in 1982.
Foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Montréal (Grey Nuns), Sainte Marguerite d'Youville (1701–1771) was the first native Canadian to be elevated to sainthood. A life of extreme poverty reinforced her faith in God and spurred her determination to help those in need. A pillar of faith and courage, she devoted her life to helping the poor. She was declared Venerable in 1890, beatified in 1959, and ultimately canonized in 1990 by Pope John Paul II, who deemed her the “Mother of Universal Charity”.
Saint André Bessette, C.S.C. (Frère André, 1845 -1937) was known for his kindness, caring, and life-long devotion to Saint Joseph. Despite his poor health, he persevered to become a Holy Cross Brother, and then to construct an oratory that would become the world’s largest sanctuary dedicated to Saint-Joseph. He is credited with helping many souls experience healing and renewal. Canonized in 2010, he now rests in a simple tomb inside the Saint Joseph's Oratory.