Marguerite Bourgeoys

There is a great Biography of Marguerite Bourgeoys in wikipedia.  She was sixth of 12 children and when her mother died when she was 19, she took care of her brothers and sisters. Her father died when she was 27. She was recruited by Paul Chomedey to come to New France as a teacher and sailed to New France in 1653.  She initiated the building of Notre Dame de BonSecours Chapel and opened her first school in 1658. 

The Loisel’s were among some of her first school children.  Including Jeanne and Francoise Loisel, the daughters of Louis Loisel. Jeanne Loisel was the first student  of Marguerite Bourgeoys that survived to grown age. 

 In 1653, Marguerite Bourgeoys found only a few children in the young colony because the first children born in the small colony did not often survive.  She didn’t find but the small Jeanne Loisel that she gave lessons to.  “on a ete environ huit ans” dit la soeur Bourgeoys, “sans pouvoir garder d’enfant a Montreal. La premiere qui est restee vivante  fut Jeanne Loysel, que l’on me donna a quatre ans et demi, et qui a ete elevee et a demeure a la maison jusqu’a son mariage avec Jean Beauchamp”

The “stable” school was first opened in 1657, when Jeanne Loisel was about 8 years old.

The school was in an old stable. The ground floor was the classroom and the attic was the dormitory for the teachers.

On the first day of school 30 April 1658:  She and her sister Francoise joined other children at the school – there were enough surviving children by then: Jean and Nicolas Desroches, Adrienne Barbier, Catherine Daugigeon, Marie Lucault and Jean Leduc.  Jeanne at 8 years 9 months, was the oldest. Jean Desroches, born 11 Dec 1649 was the first son to survive in the Montreal settlement.  The two youngest, Jean Leduc and Catherin Daubigeon didn’t reach their 5th birthday, Adrienne Barbier, later married Etienne Trudeau. 

The students of the time, they learned religion and reading, writing and arthmetic. The girls would have also been taught sewing and cooking to help them manage households and farms in that time.

In these first years, brothes Nicolas and Jean Desroches and Jean Leduc  attended Marguerite Bourgeoys school which boys attended with the girls until  the mid-1660s. Later the Suplician priests, in particularl, Gabriel Souart, taught the boys.

Jeanne Loisel was raised by Marguerite Bourgeouys from age 4 and a half until Jeanne married at age 17 to Jean Beauchamp. 

After two return trips to France to recruit more women teachers, she started the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame.

In 1680, Marguerite and Marie Barbier, went to set up a mission and school in Pointe-aux-Trembles, again likely teaching the daughters of  Joseph, Jeanne and Francoise Loisel as well as other children of the early inhabitants of Pointe-aux-Trembles.

In 1693, Soeur Marie Barbier, daughter of Gabriel Barbier, succeeded Marguerite Bourgeoys in heading the Congregation.  Marie Barbier was the first Canadian born to join the congregation.

Marguerite Bourgeoys died Jan 12, 1700.

I thought that this is a great activities book for school visits to the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum.


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