Foundress of the Sisters of St. Anne: 1809-1890
+ Esther Blondin was born in Terrebonne (in the modern Province of Quebec) to a family of farmers. At the age of 20, she began to work as a domestic servant and she was eventually hired by the Sisters of Notre Dame of Montreal.
+ Although she had never learned to read or write as a child, the sisters provided her with an education and she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1833 but had to leave a short time later because of health concerns.
+ Esther accepted an invitation from another former novice of the Notre Dame sisters who was working in a rural parish school. The two began working together and Esther eventually assumed control of the school, which became a training center for rural teachers.
+ Esther dedicated her life to improving the conditions in Canada’s poor rural schools and eventually gathered together like-minded women, forming a new religious community—the Sisters of St. Anne—in 1848. At the time of her religious profession, she received the name Sister Maria Anna.
+ Blessed Maria Anna Blondin died January 2, 1890. Her funeral was the first to be held in the newly built Shrine of St. Anne attached the congregation’s motherhouse. She was beatified in 2001.
Blessed Maria Anna has sometimes been referred to as a “Martyr of Silence” because of the years of suffering she endured from the community’s chaplain—who wanted to control the life of the sisters—and the diocesan bishop. Silenced within the community she founded, it was only a generation after her death that the sisters rediscovered the beautiful life of their foundress.
“I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.”—1 Corinthians 1:24
To learn more about the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne, visit: http://www.ssacong.org/
Lord, You gave to
Blessed Marie Anne Blondin
a heart impassioned for your glory
and You called her to serve with tenderness
the young, the poor and the sick.
You gave her hope
in the most difficult moments of her life
and You led her to deep serenity.
Be praised, Lord,
for your humble servant,
Blessed Marie Anne Blondin.
Through her intercession
grant us the favour
that we ask of You with confidence. Amen.
(Provided by the Sisters of St. Anne)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.