October 28th 1599 - April 30th, 1672
First woman missionary in America of French origin placed in the ranks of the founders of the Canadian Church
Marie Guyart, otherwise known as the Blessed Marie de l’Incarnation, was the first female missionary in America. This widow, with one child, spent some years in the Ursuline convent in Tours, her home city, before leaving for Québec in 1639, where she founded a monastery. Her objective was to educate young Amerindian girls and convert them to Catholicism. But her students showed considerable resistance to instruction, and Sister Marie switched to teaching the colony's young French girls. However, in the end, she did learn Iroquois and put together a dictionary in that language.
Today, the Ursuline Convent, built by Marie de l’Incarnation, still stands in Québec Upper Town, on the original site where it has been since 1641.
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