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April 17, 2020: 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys


April 17, 2020: 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys

Montreal, January 3, 2020

In 2020, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame will be celebrating a very special anniversary – the 400th of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys, Montreal’s first teacher and the foundress of the Congregation. This celebration of the anniversary year is a way of paying tribute to this pioneer who came to North America to help establish a new society in Ville-Marie in the 17th century, and recognizing that the values she had can still be found in the social fabric of Montreal, as in the eight different countries in which the sisters of the Congregation are present. Four hundred years ago began the great adventure of a brave and compassionate woman who put herself in the service of the people to build a new society.

To learn more about the events organized for the 400th anniversary, go to or to our museums’ websites Musée Marguerite-Bourgeoys and Maison Saint-Gabriel .

Pioneer, teacher, foundress

Marguerite Bourgeoys was born on April 17, 1620, in Troyes, France. At the age of 33, at the request of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, she sailed for the New World. She came to Ville-Marie to teach but began by providing as many services as she could in order to respond to the needs of the colony. She welcomed and gave a temporary home to the Filles du Roy. With the help of the settlers, she had the cross on Mount Royal re-erected and built Montreal’s first stone chapel (Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours). Finally, in 1658, she opened Montreal's first school and offered free education to girls and boys. In 1659, she returned to France to recruit companions who would form, with her, the core of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame.

The Congrégation de Notre-Dame

From the very beginning, the sisters travelled on mission. Eventually, they would teach in the numerous schools they had either established and/or ran in Canada, the United States and Japan. In the 1960s, they began other missions in Central America, Cameroon and France. Still active with families and in parishes, they work for greater social justice and the respect of all Creation.


Les Sœurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame

2330 Sherbrooke Street West

Montreal, QC   H3H 1G8


Stéphanie Manseau

Director, Communication Services

Congrégation de Notre-Dame

(514) 931-5891 ext. 236

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