On a golden October day in 1640 the twenty-year-old Marguerite Bourgeoys set out from her home in the ancient city of Troyes to take part in the annual Rosary procession. She had no idea that before her return she would find herself "completely moved and changed". She had now started on a path that would eventually carry her to the America that was still very much a new world in her time and eventually to the frontiers of that New World. Her journeys of the spirit were to be just as far-reaching, from the cloister that had once beckoned her to a form of dedicated life lived in the midst of the ordinary struggling people of her day. She was to help nurture the beginnings of the tiny settlement of Ville-Marie on the island of Montreal. The congregation she founded would be one of the earliest uncloistered communities for women. She was at the forefront of efforts to educate the poor and, especially to educate girls and women. This book retraces those journeysfrom their historic roots in Marguerite's native city through the adventures, challenges, joys and setbacks of the first days of the Canada she so much loved.
Historian and biographer, Patricia Simpson is the author of Marguerite Bourgeoys and Montreal, 1640-1665, of Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Congregation of Notre-Dame, 1665-1700 and, with Louise Pothier, of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, a Chapel and its Neighbourhood. She is responsible for the area of history and research at the Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum.