Marie de l'Incarnation was born Marie Guyart in Tours, France, the fourth of the eight children of Florent Guyart, a master baker, and his wife, Jeanne Michelet, a member of the minor aristocracy. At her father's direction, she married Claude Martin, a silk merchant, with whom she had a son, also named Claude, before her husband died, leaving her a widow at the age of 19. Martin left behind a struggling business that Marie was able to make profitable before selling it, and returning to her family home. Free to pursue her religious inclinations, she then took a vow of celibacy, while living with her parents and supporting herself and her son with embroidery.
First superior of the Ursulines of Quebec.
1668 - The King of France wants the Metis? d-1746 savages children brought up in the French manner of life, in order to civilize them. It was noted the French have as many as 15-16 children whereas the Savages have 2-3 children.
1668 - Marie de I'lncarnation, mother superior of the Ursuline convent at Quebec wrote: From now on, we only want to ask for village girls who are as fit for work as men, experience having shown that those who are not raised [in the country] are not fit for the country. She also wrote this year We have Francized several young savage woman, both Huron and Algonquin, who we then married to Frenchmen and they are getting along very well together. There is one in particular who knows how to read and write perfectly, both in her native Huron and in French. No-one can tell her apart or be convinced that she was born a savage. For this purpose, Mgr our Prelate, has taken a great number of them, all dressed like French people and are taught to read and write as in France. Unfortunately they are not identified for obvious reasons.
Marie de I'Incarnation, foundress of the Ursuline Order in New France (1639), wrote: "We have observed that of a hundred that have passed through our hands we have scarcely civilized one. We find docility and intelligence in these girls but, when we are least expecting it, they clamber over our walls and go off to run with their kinsmen in the woods, finding more to please them there than in all the amenities of our French house." It is amazing that the Recollects, Jesuits and now the Ursuline have all failed in their attempts to Christianize and civilize the Savages. It is hard to believe the the French religious had not rationalized that maybe the French were neither civilized nor Christianized. The Jesuit introduced physical punishment of children, intolerance of other religious beliefs, intolerance of other cultures and were very poor in personal hygiene; only bathing once a year. They offered the French/Catholic yoke vs. freedom, they offered eternal fire and damnation vs. love and understanding. The Jesuits believed that a nomadic life was contrary to the laws of the Roman Catholic Church and incompatible with Christian life. The early Jesuits were called wa-mit-ig-oshe or men who wave a piece of wood over their heads.
In recognition of her passion and perseverance for the conversion of souls, regardless of their parentage, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 22, 1980, as “Blessed Marie de l’Incarnation”.
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