At Montreal it was the venerable Marguerite Bourgeoys who began to teach in a poor hovel the rudiments of the French tongue. This humble school was transformed a little more than two centuries later into one of the most vast and imposing edifices of the city of Montreal. Fire destroyed it in 1893, but we must hope that this majestic monument of Ville-Marie will soon rise again from its ruins to become the centre of operations of the numerous educational institutions of the Congregation of Notre-Dame which cover our country. M. l’abbe Verreau, the much regretted principal of the Jacques Cartier Normal School, appreciates in these terms the services rendered to education by Mother Bourgeoys, a woman eminent from all points of view: “The Congregation of Notre-Dame,” says he, “is a truly national institution, whose ramifications extend beyond the limits of Canada. Marguerite Bourgeoys took in hand the education of the women of the people, the basis of society. She taught young women to become what they ought to be, especially at this period, women full of moral force, of modesty, of courage in the face of the dangers in the midst of which they lived. If the French-Canadians have preserved a certain character of politeness and urbanity, which strangers are not slow in admitting, they owe it in a great measure to the work of Marguerite Bourgeoys.”
BECOMES BISHOP OF QUEBEC
The creation of a bishopric in Canada was becoming necessary, and all was ready for the erection of a separate see. Mgr. de Laval had thought of everything: the two seminaries with the resources indispensable for their maintenance, cathedral, parishes or missions regularly established, institutions of education or charity, numerous schools, a zealous and devoted clergy, respected both by the government of the colony and by that of the mother country. What more could be desired? He had many struggles to endure in order to obtain this creation, but patience and perseverance never failed him, and like the drop of water which, falling incessantly upon the pavement, finally wears away the stone, his reasonable and ever repeated demands eventually overcame the obstinacy of the king. Not, however, until 1674 was he definitely appointed Bishop of Quebec, and could enjoy without opposition a title which had belonged to him so long in reality; this was, as it were, the final consecration of his life and the crowning of his efforts. Upon the news of this the joy of the people and of the clergy rose to its height: the future of the Canadian Church was assured, and she would inscribe in her annals a name dear to all and soon to be glorified.