Marguerite d'Youville was a French Canadian widow who founded the religious order the Order of Sisters of Charity of Montreal, commonly known as the Grey Nuns of Montreal.
Her husband died in 1730 and in 1737 she and 4 other women formed a lay group dedicated to charity. Some people called them 'les grises' meaning 'tipsy women'; they were accused of getting drunk and continuing the illicit sale of liquor to the Indians which Mme d’Youville’s father-in-law and her husband had carried on. They were put in charge of the bankrupt Hôpital Général of Montréal and reorganized into a hospice for the aged, orphans and 'fallen women'.
In 1755 they began their life as 'Grey Nuns' developing various enterprises including farms, an orchard, a mill and a bakery to finance their work. Their institution became a true hospital. However, it burned in 1765 and Marie-Marguerite died in 1771 after years of failing health.
In 1959, she was the first Canadian-born person to be beautified by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1990, she was canonized by Pope John-Paul II.
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