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The Life of the Venerable Mother Mary of the Incarnation   By:

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The materials for the following Biography have been gathered principally from "The Life of the Mother Mary of the Incarnation" by her son, and from "The History of the Ursuline Monastery at Quebec," by a member of that community, the former published in 1677; the latter in 1863.

The Life of the Venerable Mother by her son, is founded partly on her own communications regarding the graces with which she had been favoured, and partly on her correspondence with himself extending over the thirty years which she passed in Canada. With the genuine information thus received, he intersperses, under the name of "Additions," further details which had either come under his personal observation, or been gleaned from perfectly reliable sources. His work is therefore a sure and invaluable guide to the biographer.

The accounts of her inner life referred to, were written by the Venerable Mother at two different epochs, and each time in obedience to an imperative command from her confessors. The first written in 1633, the 34th year of her age, fell into the possession of the Ursulines of St. Denis, near Paris, who on hearing that Dom Claude Martin was engaged in writing his holy Mother's life, obligingly sent him the precious document. The second, written in 1654, was forwarded to him from Canada.

The Annals of the Quebec Ursulines also afford rich material to the historian of the Mother of the Incarnation, their pages containing constant references to and quotations from her letters both spiritual and historical, as well as from the Annual Reports of the Jesuit Missioners, and other contemporary documents of the highest authenticity and the deepest interest.

The historical statements in the introductory chapter, rest chiefly oh the authority of the Abbé Ferland in his "Cours d'Histoire du Canada," 1861, and of Bancroft in his "History of the United States," 1841. The historical facts incidentally introduced in the course of the work can be verified by reference to the Abbé Ferland or any other Canadian historian, or to the Letters of the Mother of the Incarnation.

It only remains to be noticed that the words "saint," "saintly," and others of similar import are used throughout solely in their popular acceptation, and not with any intention of anticipating the decision of the Church regarding the sanctity of the Venerable Mother Mary of the Incarnation or of any other of God's servants mentioned in these pages.

In like manner, the record of miraculous occurrences, visions, and other extraordinary supernatural favours, is understood to rest as yet only on human authority, and therefore to claim no more than the degree of credibility which attaches to any well authenticated human statement.

April 30th 1880.

208th Anniversary of the death of the Venerable Mother of the Incarnation.


INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER. A Glance at Canada, as it was in the days of the Venerable Mother Mary of the Incarnation.


CHAPTER I. Her infancy, childhood and youth Early call to union with God. Charity to the poor. Purity of soul Inclination for the Religious Life.

CHAPTER II. Her married life. Rule of life. Love of prayer Perfect fulfilment of duty. Patience under trial Zeal for her household. Influence. Death of her Husband.

CHAPTER III. Her First year of Widowhood. Life of solitude in the World. Vision of the application of the Precious Blood to her soul. Increased purity of conscience. Charity to the sick poor.

CHAPTER IV. She quits her solitude. New evidence of her purity of soul. Humiliation and dependence in her Sister's house.

CHAPTER V. She is called to a high degree of Divine Union. New invitation to the perfection of Interior Purity. Infused knowledge of the nature of the works of God. Austerities. Love of contempt... Continue reading book >>

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