St. François de Laval

St. François de Laval

April 14, 2014

The April 3 canonization of two Quebec saints was welcomed with joy and thanksgiving from Canada's bishops, especially in the Archdiocese of Quebec where they are buried.

Quebec Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix said the canonizations "give us models of sanctity to encourage us." Pope Francis has given the Church two "great examples of the new evangelization."

Canada's bishops welcomed the canonizations "with great joy and thanksgiving."

"Late last year, the Holy Father had consulted the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) about his proposal to proceed with their canonization," said CCCB President Gatineau Archbishop Paul-André Durocher.

"We responded then, and we do again today, with a resounding Amen!"

The president of the Quebec Assembly of Catholic Bishops (AECQ) Rimouski Archbishop Pierre-André Fournier noted the saints were beatified together by Pope John Paul II in 1980.

"It is with great emotion that we learned of the canonization by Pope Francois of Marie Guyart, founder of the Monastery of the Ursulines of Quebec – better known as Marie de l' Incarnation – and François de Laval, founder of the Séminaire de Québec and first bishop of Quebec, and thus bishop of all American territories north of the Spanish colonies," said Fournier.

Fournier described the saints as "monumental figures in the history of Quebec and in the beginnings of the Church in North America."

Marie de l'Incarnation described Laval as a man detached from worldly goods, who gave everything to the poor, and this portrait fits Pope Francis' invitation to go to the peripheries to reach the poor, the sick and the abandoned, he said.

St. Marie de l'Incarnation

St. Marie de l'Incarnation

Fournier noted Marie de l'Incarnation, because of her mystical writings, has been described as the "Thérèse of New France" after St. Teresa of Avila, a doctor of the Church.


The canonizations occur during the jubilee marking the 350th anniversary of the founding of the parish of Notre-Dame de Quebec.

They are added graces, along with the gift of the holy door to the cathedral basilica in Quebec, and the naming of the Quebec archbishop to the College of Cardinals that "touch us deeply," said Fournier.

In Quebec City, Lacroix held a joint news conference April 3 with the general superior of the Ursulines of the Canadian Union Sister Louise Gosselin, Father Jacques Roberge, the general superior of the Séminaire de Québec, and Quebec Archbishop-emeritus Maurice Couture.

Lacroix said the two saints originally came from France.

They shared a reputation for sanctity and boldness, and were the first saints engaged in the evangelization of North America, he said. Not only did they evangelize, but in setting up schools and hospitals, they engaged in the construction of a more humane society.

As a mystic, Marie de l' Incarnation incarnated holiness, Gosselin said. She served people in all walks of life, French or aboriginal, rich or poor, clerical or lay. She also launched the development of dictionaries in Huron and Algonquin.

Roberge said Laval not only announced the Gospel, but worked to build a more just society.


Couture said he hoped the canonizations would let people know the role the Church played in the history of Quebec society. Not only did these saints serve the Church but they left a legacy in education and health care that serves 10 million Quebecers today, he said.

Lacroix announced the archdiocese will celebrate the canonizations on May 18. There will also be a pilgrimage to visit the saints' origins in France culminating in a special Mass in Rome with Pope Francis to honour them.