Sainte Marguerite D’Youville: A Poetic Retrospective

Sainte Marguerite D’Youville (1701-1771.  Feast, October 16th)


I have to laugh when they call me a dangerous woman;

A woman of ill-repute; a drunken whore.

It’s true that my step-father was merely a commoner,

And my husband, bless his soul, was little more

Than a profligate philanderer who made money

By selling liquor to the Indians for their furs.

But I’ve kept my dignity throughout it all—

What’s more, I’ve extended the same respect to others.

I have with me a little band of sisters.

We serve les misérables: the riff-raff, the scum,

The boozers, the mad, the good-for-nothing people,

We never close our doors to them when they come.

We are mothers to the poor and those in need.

We are drunk with love! Les soeurs grises,* indeed.


* The Grey Sisters; “grises” is slang for “drunken (women).”

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Dr. Christine Schintgen teaches literature at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College. Her current interests include Dickens, Dante, and the relationship between faith and literature. She also writes poetry. Christine and her husband Michael live in Barry's Bay with their three children