Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis

Archives des Petites Soeurs de la Sainte-Famille, soumis à copyright

There is a trio of Canadian Saints in this week: Saint Marie of the Incarnation, on the last day of April; Saint Francois de Laval, on the 6th, and today, the little-known Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis. Born on May 12th in 1840, baptized as Alodie-Virginie, in Quebec, she would also die in Mary’s month, on this day in 1912. As a teenager (not yet 14!), while her father was seeking gold in California, Elodie presented herself to the Marianite Sisters of the Holy Cross, the female branch of the Order to which Brother Andre would later belong, and which founded Notre Dame University. Sister Marie-de-Saint-Leonie, the name she adopted in religion, spent the first part of her religious life in the United States, in Manhattan and Indiana, before being sent to New Brunswick in 1874 to help the Holy Cross Fathers in their educational apostolate. (All this travel is making me think how difficult this would now be with border restrictions! Fourteen day quarantines!)

Sister Marie-Leonie felt called to found a new religious order with the specific task of helping the priests and seminarians, dedicated to service, which would be home-grown Canadian. Thus was founded on  August 26, 1877 the ‘Little Sisters of the Holy Family’, without whose help many colleges and seminaries would not have been able to survive (as was also the case for many hospitals). We owe far more to the countless Sisters such as Blessed Marie-Leonie, who sacrificed so much for so many, and may their spirit inspire many more young men and women to give much, and expect little (except in the afterlife, where their reward will be great indeed!).

Sister Marie-Leonie went to that eternal reward on May 3rd, 1912, at the age of 71, after a brief battle with cancer. She was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II on his pilgrimage to Canada, on September, 11, 1984.

(With material from: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/paradis_elodie_14E.html)