At a young age, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys felt called to a vocation of teaching and joined a local association of young women in Troyes, France, who taught the poor. Yet God had much bigger plans for Marguerite.
The governor of a French settlement in New France was visiting his sisters in Troyes when he met Marguerite and told her all about what would one day become Montreal.
Marguerite was captivated by the idea of traveling to Canada, and made all the preparations for her departure.
However, it didn’t take long for her to begin to have doubts.
In the 19th-century book History of Roman Catholicism in North America, the authors explain that many tried to dissuade her from going.
The religious … dissuaded her from going, until they could go too. She desired to have with her a member of that … congregation … but circumstances were inexorable, only one could be taken; there was employment only for one. Marguerite must stay or go alone alone … in a ship filled with newly recruited soldiers and their commander whom she had seen but once. Not an easy obstacle this to surmount.
A woman going alone on a long journey, on a ship full of soldiers, was a risky venture. Yet, she was promised protection.
She has recourse to her confessor. “Go freely,” he says, “M. de Maisonneuve will be your guardian, he is one of the noblest knights in the court of the Queen of Angels.”
Our Lady confirms
Still, Marguerite was doubting her safety and was unsure whether God was calling her to Canada.
It took a miraculous vision to wipe away all of her fears.
Marguerite yet hesitates, then the Blessed Virgin herself decides. One morning, while meditating in her own chamber, a lady beautiful, white robed, surrounded with a halo of flashing yet tender light, appears before her and says gently, “Go, Marguerite, to Canada, I will not abandon thee.” This settles the matter.
Her journey to Canada wasn’t easy, but God was with her and protected her every step of the way.
Marguerite Bourgeoys would become one of the most influential trailblazers in Canada, and later became that country’s first female canonized saint.