National Catholic Sisters’ Week is celebrated this week, and we’re delighted to share about an Ursuline who will be canonized a saint this year. Born in 1599 in Tours, France, Marie Guyart married Claude Martin and had a son. Widowed at age 19, she worked to improve and then sell her deceased husband’s silk business, and later ran a major transport company for the colony. Simultaneously, she was listening to the Holy Spirit in her heart, growing spiritually and developing a life of prayer.
In 1631, drawn to religious life, she entered the Ursuline monastery in Tours and became known as Mother Marie of the Incarnation. Eight years later, having felt the call to be a missionary, Marie sailed with several other sisters from their native France to Quebec in Canada. There, she learned the Algonquin and Iroquoian languages, established the first school for girls in North America, and worked courageously to help the burgeoning local Church to grow. The school she founded continues to this day.
Wife and mother, business woman, religious, mystic and missionary, this Ursuline had an overwhelming sense of mission and dreamed of spreading God’s Good News into the vast lands of Canada. ‘My body remained within the confines of our monastery, but in spirit I was transported to the Indies, to Japan, to America, to the East, to the West….’ She was an ordinary woman who responded to God with her whole heart. As we celebrate 375 years of her leaving for Canada, we rejoice in the enormous goodness poured out over the centuries because of her. On June 22, 1980, Pope John Paul II declared Mary of the Incarnation “Blessed,” and it has been announced that Pope Francis will canonize her this year.