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The Mystic Who Became a Missionary: The Extraordinary Life of Saint Marie of the Incarnation

The Mystic Who Became a Missionary: The Extraordinary Life of Saint Marie of the Incarnation

by Joseph Gensens

On August 1, 1639, a ship sailed up the Saint Lawrence River and dropped anchor before Quebec City. The ship held some special passengers. On board, three Ursuline missionary nuns looked eagerly upon this new land to which they were bringing the light of the Catholic Faith.

Coming ashore, the leader of this band of missionaries, Mother Marie of the Incarnation, later wrote of their arrival: “The first thing we did was to kiss the earth of this new land to which we had come in order to spend our lives there in the service of God.”1

Portrait de Mère Marie de l'Incarnation
Hugues Pommier, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mother Marie of the Incarnation was a native of France. Born on October 28th, 1599, in the city of Tours, she was the daughter of a devout Catholic baker Florent Guyart and his wife Jeanne.

While still young, Marie planned to join the Benedictine nuns. However, her parents wished her to marry. She married Claude Martin, a silk manufacturer, and later gave birth to a son who they named Claude.

Tragedy struck when Mr. Martin died. Marie returned to her parent’s house. There, she gave her son to the care of a nurse in order to divide her time between earning a living and praying.

Marie chose to make a vow of chastity, even though her family wanted her to remarry. She wrote that “Our Lord granted me great graces through this sacrifice, powerfully strengthening me to withstand the pressure put on me to remarry.”2

Her Mystical Experiences

Throughout her life, Marie had mystical experiences, which she later wrote down in her autobiography. She would be completely immersed in these mystical experiences.

She records in one episode how “One Lent, when a good Capuchin father had preached a sermon on our Lord’s Passion, my spirit was so strongly plunged into this mystery that day and night I found it impossible to listen to anything else.”3

Pontoise (60), église Saint-Joseph du Carmel, tableau - bse Marie de l'Incarnation
Pierre Poschadel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


A New Life

After ten years of work and prayer, Marie Guyart entered the convent of the Ursuline nuns. In 1633, she made her final vows, taking the name of Marie of the Incarnation.

It was a few years into her new life in the convent that she began having visions in which she saw herself in Canada bringing souls to the Faith.

Led by the grace of God, Mother Marie secured the permission to go to the Canadian missions. In 1639, her dream became a reality when she set sail with some companions for New France.

Later, she wrote of this voyage: “The entire trip across the ocean was a time of ardent and constant sacrifice for me.”4 In fact, the ship narrowly escaped ramming a massive iceberg while in a thick fog. They finally arrived in the beginning of August.

Living on the Edge of the Wild

Mother Marie and her sisters lived a rugged pioneer life, fraught with the perils that came with living on the edge of the wilderness. Despite the danger of attacks by hostile natives, the threat of wild beasts and the harsh winters, this intrepid missionary was full of courage.

Shortly after arriving, the nuns established a convent and a school for the French and native girls of the colony. They instructed the girls in a tiny room which was used for eating, sleeping and entertaining people.

The habits of the native girls left much to be desired. At times the nuns found items like hair or charcoal mixed with the daily soup. However, with true Christian charity, the nuns taught the young native girls the Faith with its civilizing influence.

Challenges of the Apostolate

God tests those He loves, and Mother Marie was no exception. Over the years, she experienced many trials.  A decade after their arrival, a raging fire destroyed the Ursuline convent and all the hard years of work.

Among her many achievements, Mother Marie succeeded in writing a catechism and two dictionaries in native languages, as she was actively involved in teaching the native girls for all her life.

Most importantly, Mother Marie was a fearless missionary who answered God’s call to go to the New World and bring the Catholic Faith to its peoples.

Monument Marie-de-l’Incarnation
Cephas, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On April 30, 1672, Mother Marie went to her eternal reward. Nearly 350 years after her death, Mother Marie was declared a saint on April 3, 2014.

Bibliography

  1. p. 126, The Autobiography of Venerable Marie of the Incarnation, O.S.U. mystic and missionary. By Marie de l’Incarnation, Chicago, Loyola University Press, 1964.

2.Ibid. p. 19.

3.Ibid. p. 9

  1. Ibid. p. 122

Sources

https://ursulines-roman-union.org/en/saint-mary-of-the-incarnation-text

https://ursulinesmsj.org/marie-of-the-incarnation/

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/marie-de-lincarnation

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Notre-Dame Cathedral of Ottawa

30 people gathered in front of the nation’s capital’s Cathedral to honor Our Lady. While praying, we were facing the northeast of the Parliament buildings where the most important decisions for the future of our families, children, and grandchildren are taken. Families with children praying on their knees were very inspiring. The two huge banners, one on each side of the street would attract pedestrians and car drivers. Thank you “Canada Needs Our Lady” to facilitate this important prayer rally.

   

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Vermilion Senior’s Centre (Heritage Park gazebo)

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O Holy Virgin, to whose feet we are led by our anxious uncertainty in our search for and attainment of what is true and good, invoking you by the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel, we beseech you to come to our assistance, when, along the road of this life, the darkness of error and of evil conspires towards our ruin by leading our minds and our hearts astray.

O Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the doubtful and the erring, that they be not seduced by the false appearances of good; render them steadfast in the face of the hostile and corrupting influences of passion and of sin.

O Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from your Divine Son a great love of virtue, and, in the hour of uncertainty and trial, the strength to embrace the way that leads to our salvation. If your hand sustains us, we shall walk unmolested along the path indicated to us by the life and words of Jesus, our Redeemer; and having followed freely and securely, even in the midst of this world’s strife, the Sun of Truth and Justice under your maternal Star, we shall come to the enjoyment of full and eternal peace with you in the haven of salvation. Amen.

Say an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

God Bless!

 

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We had a public square rosary held on October 10, at noontime spearheaded by Ms. Frances Tan to commemorate the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. This year’s venue was by Don Mills and Steeles in Thornhill, north of Toronto.

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St. Gerard Parish, Frontage Foster St. Winnipeg Manitoba

 

 

 

 

 

It was a nice day for prayer.

 

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Edmonton, AB, beside St. Andrew’s church

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Wishart, SK

Mother Mary be blessed!

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Toronto, 1372 King St. W. (by the Statue of our Lady, Church of the Holy Family), Cowan Ave.

 

by the Statue of our Lady, Church of the Holy Family

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South Surrey, BC: 1845 – 154th. Street, (at Bakerview Park) (154 St.& 18 Ave.)

 

South Surrey, BC: 1845 – 154th. Street, (at Bakerview Park) (154 St. & ramp; 18th Ave.)

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North Battleford

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Scarborough

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St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Neilburg

 

Me and my husband were joined out in front of our small town Catholic church by my son and daughter and our other daughter and her husband and two little girls. My mom and step dad also joined us. Was a beautiful time of prayer and we even got a smile from a passerby.

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Albertville, SK, St James Church

 

 

Was a cool windy day, but we were happy to pray with the rest of Canada and the world

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St Albert, Holy Family Parish

 

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Heisler, Village Hall

 

 

Heisler, Village Hall

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Corner of Munroe Ave. & Watt St. (Holy Eucharist parking lot), 505 Watt St., Winnipeg

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141 Henry Street, Miramichi

All the way in the heartland of New Brunswick we unite with all the Rosary Rallies of Canada. Blessed Mother protect us!

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Rossburn

Even in the countryside we pray.

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St Pierre Jolys, Manitoba

Canada’s future Catholic defenders!

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Grande Prairie

 

It was a beautiful time gathering to pray together before The Blessed Sacrament today.

Many joined in prayer alongside us from the comfort of their own homes due to the current Coronavirus Pandemic.

Some members of the Catholic Women’s League Council at our Parish also renewed their Consecration prayers for the League and Canada.

In Christ,
Charlene

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Barrie, ON

 

All for the Blessed Mother

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Medicine Hat, AB

In a cove, our prayers echoed out to Heaven.

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LaSalle, on

 

 

Yes, we succeeded with our “Rosary Rally” Sunday!!

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Our Lady of Mercy Grotto, Burnaby

Our Lady of Mercy Grotto, Burnaby BC

 

Our Rosary Rally was held on Oct.10, 2020. The sky was dark and gloomy at the beginning of the Rosary Rally. As the prayer progressed, the clouds  cleared and the sun shone brightly as if Mama Mary was smiling and proud of us while watching our group from above. Thank you, “Our Loving Mother” for giving us the opportunity to express our love to you through this rosary rally.

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4300 Steeles Ave. East, Markham

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Toronto

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5650 Mavis Road. Mississauga

We held our Rosary Rally on October 10, 2020 on Hurontario Street near Bristol Road.
It was wonderful to see the response from all the participants that joined us. I felt really happy at the response we were getting as the traffic passed us showing their support by honking their horns and giving us thumbs ups. I realized it did not matter how many or few of us were at the Rally – the important part was that we were drawing attention to Our Lady of Fatima’s Banner ! There were some people who were not able to join us on the road but they joined us in prayer from their homes.

Our rally was held at Mississauga 

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Terrace Bay, on

 

The Cross is our Salvation. We will be here next year.

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Toronto ON, 83 Power St. and Queen St. East

 

 

We were a good bunch of people. God bless!

 

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Toronto, ON


Under the Gaze of Mother Mary; The enthusiasm was there. 

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Franciscan  friar  leads  us  in Prayer.  Here, the countryside, we pray to Our Lady.

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Calgary

Other good friends were close by.

St. Mary’s Cathedral; Calgary, AB

The Rosary Rally was well attended, and we even had a good priest there to lead us in the Rosary.

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556 St. Anne’s Road, Winnipeg

556 St. Anne’s Road, Winnipeg

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Gairloch Gardens, Oakville

Thank you all? deeply from my heart and specially to Our Lady? to reach our goal of praying together and being more than ??15 people from last year. I strongly encourage all of you that couldn’t make it for this lovely Rosary Rally to tried hard next year and be never dismayed for the cause of God?? Always is worth it❣️
Gabbie Romo

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Oct. 10,2020 Rosary Rally Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

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Maple Ridge, BC

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Respecting the rules

We held our Rosary Rally on October 10, 2020 on Hurontario Street near Bristol Road.
It was wonderful to see the response from all the participants that joined us. I felt really happy at the response we were getting as the traffic passed us showing their support by honking their horns and giving us thumbs ups. I realized it did not matter how many or few of us were at the Rally – the important part was that we were drawing attention to Our Lady of Fatima’s Banner ! There were some people who were not able to join us on the road but they joined us in prayer from their homes.

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Rosary Rally: We did it!
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Maple Ridge

 

The rally went with 15 people attending.

My Parish put the followup in the bulletin!

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We were a small group, but enthused.

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Rosary Rally at 12 noon on the 12th of October, 2019 at Erin Centre Blvd. and Erin Mills Parkway, Mississauga. Only 15 people were there and suddenly a Flock of Canadian geese arrived and were standing around us and remained with us for all the 4 Mysteries and then they flew away. I thought I should share that with you.

Stay informed. Be engaged.

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