Who is Catherine ?

Who is Catherine ?




The hospital work was already nine years old when Marie-Catherine of Saint-Augustin, a young nun, joined the ranks of the pioneers. She was then 16 years old. His inexhaustible zeal in her “land of crosses” lasted twenty years. She died on May 8, 1668, with a fame of her holiness. Her very simple life hid a soul filled with extraordinary graces. Marie Catherine of Saint-Augustin was missed by the entire population of New France. She is counted among the Founders of the Canadian Church.

Those who knew her closely affirm that she was serene, open, a ray of joy and that she manifested herself as a strong woman who looked life straight in the eyes and without fear. Critical sense, firmness and tenderness harmonized in this nun to compose an endearing and resourceful personality. So the sisters entrusted her with important responsibilities: 1st hospitaller (directress of the hospital), responsible for the sick and nursing staff, the training of novices, the finances.

In this country, Marie-Catherine of Saint-Augustin gave herself completely, she played a leading role. She was attached to Canada by all the fibers of her being. Canon Groulx affirms: “Certainly, all the great souls of his time in the colony, all the founders of the Church in New France gave their lives for their adopted country. But I do not know, who, as much as the Hospitaller of Quebec, carried in her mind, the obsessive thought of Canada, offered her more lovingly her prayers and her labors, became attached to them, riveted by more solemn bonds ”. Already, when she left France, she had made a vow to die on Canadian soil if God wanted to. And when the Iroquois threatened to exterminate the colony, she renewed this vow specifying that, even if all the nuns returned to France, she would like to remain alone in Canada to serve the poor and the sick of the country.

Marie-Catherine de Saint-Augustin is considered a co-founder of the Canadian Church, she appears to be a local Hospitaller, a heroine of charity which belongs to our heritage of holiness, if we can put it that way. Bishop de Laval said of her: "She is a masterpiece of the Holy Spirit". The Amerindians had given it the name of: Iakonikonriiostha, that is to say, " : the one who beautifies the soul and make the heart warmer"! She was recognized “Venerable" by Rome on June 9, 1984, the Holy Father John Paul II proclaimed her" Blessed "on April 23, 1989.






Childhood in Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte (Normandy) – From her birth to 12 years old


May 3: Birth of Catherine Symon de Longpré. Baptism the same day in the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste. Photos of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church in Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte.

1634 (At 2 years old):

Raised by her maternal grandparents after being fed by own mother.

Prediction of his maternal grandfather of her future holiness.

1635 (3 and a half years):

Emerging desire to do the will of God.

1636 (4 years):

First confession.

She wishes to receive confirmation when the bishop visits her village but is considered too young.

1637 (5 years):

First devilish manifestations: she is mysteriously pushed 3 times from the top of a hill to the bottom, but then feels "gently carried as by an invisible hand".

She suffers from severe headaches due to a head infection for 3 months.

1640 (8 years):

November 1st: First Communion on the feast of all saints. Desire for holiness in his heart.

1641 (around 9 years old):

Period of relaxation of virtues. Trivialities and vanities.

1642 (10 years):

Mysterious dream of her entry into religion.

September 8 (Nativity of the blessed Virgin): First consecration to the Virgin.

1643 (11 years old):

March 19 (feast of saint Joseph): Catherine enters the association of the Holy Family to obtain the grace to die well.

March 25: She takes the little habit of Notre-Dame and is cured that same day of a fever that had tormented her for 3 years.

1644 (12 years old):

January 1st: Catherine decides to enter into religion to obey God's will for her.



At the Bayeux monastery – From 12 to 15 years old


October 7: Catherine entered the Religious Hospitallers of Bayeux at the age of 12 and a half.


October 24: Taking of the habit under the name of Sister Catherine of Saint-Augustin.


Towards the end of 1647, Catherine volunteered for the missions in Canada.


March 25 (Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin): Second consecration to the Virgin Marie.

April 15: She takes her simple vows.

April 16: She receives her obedience from the Mother Superior of Bayeux.

April 17: Departure from Bayeux’s Monastery for Canada.

May 4: Solemn profession the day after his sixteenth birthday. On her way to the port of La Rochelle, from where the ship will depart, she takes her religious vows in the Notre-Dame de Tout-Joy chapel in Nantes.

May 31: Departure from La Rochelle to Canada, aboard the boat "Le Cardinal". 

Month of June: Stricken with the plague on the boat, she was miraculously cured by the Virgin.

August 19: Arrival in Quebec.

September 17: She officially adds the name Marie to her first name. She will henceforth be called Marie-Catherine de Saint-Augustin.



In New France, in Quebec - 16 to 36 years old


March 16: Martyrdom of Jean de Brébeuf. Catherine is touched by his story and develops a private devotion to him.


December 30: The Ursuline Monastery burns down during the night. The Ursulines are lodge by the Augustinian sisters for a few weeks. This is where saint Marie de l'Incarnation, founder of the Ursulines in Quebec, will meet Catherine. She will remain edified by the profound virtues of Catherine.


October 10: She is suddenly and strongly tempted to return to France and abandon her religious vocation.


May 11: Appointed to be in charge of the finances of the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec at the age of 22.

October 18: She makes a private vow of stability in Canada, to get rid of the temptation to return to France.


March 15: Death of her close friend; a young nun from Quebec, Marie-Françoise de Saint-Ignace (born Françoise Giffard), daughter of Hôtel-Dieu's first doctor, Robert Giffard. She died at 23.

May 7 (Ascension day): First vision of her place in heaven.


First call to suffer for the sinners.


August 15: Mystical anointing in view of her sufferings.

August 24: Confirmation by François de Laval. She adds the name of Joseph to her name, out of devotion to saint Joseph. Her religious name will henceforth be "Marie-Catherine-Joseph de Saint-Augustin". 


A 16-year-old girl, Barbe Hallé, said to be possessed by evil spirits, is entrusted to Catherine. She alone will succeed in freeing her.


September 25: Saint Jean de Brébeuf is given to her as celestial spiritual director.


October 1st: Catherine is elected first hospitalier (general management of the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec).


June 1: On the feast of Pentecost, the Blessed Virgin give her as a bride to the Holy Spirit.


February 2: Catherine takes the vow of “the most perfect”, that she commits herself to live in all things for the greater glory of God.

November 9: Catherine is elected as Mistress of Novices.


July 11: Catherine mystically attends (in spirit) the consecration of Notre-Dame Basilica in Quebec. Father de Brébeuf explains the ceremonies and their meaning to her.


March 16: At the request of Bishop Laval, Catherine was re-elected to the general management of the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec.

May 5: Catherine makes a pact with Christ.


May 8: Death of Catherine around 6 a.m., at the age of 36.




Publication of the first biography on the Life of Marie-Catherine de Saint-Augustin. The author is her spiritual director, father Paul Ragueneau, S.J. He writes the biography from notes in Catherine's diary.


In consideration of all the extraordinary favors obtained through his intercession, Mgr de Saint-Vallier, 2nd bishop of Quebec, authorizes the exhumation of her bones which are put in a simple box at the monastery, the sisters not having the means to do much more. She was placed in a place where the relics could be visited out of devotion, which the bishop willingly granted. This place was called the Oratory of Calvary.


A famous Canadian sculptor by the name of Noël Levasseur was commissioned to make a casket of more precious wood and richly decorated. It is a beautifully crafted reliquary, in which the second translation of the bones (relics) was made, on the eve of the exaltation of the Holy Cross.

1755 - June 7

The reliquary was saved from the fire that consumed the Hôtel-Dieu de Quebec.


Diocesan informative process.


Rogatory process in Bayeux.


Study of the writings.


Decree of Non-Worship. The reliquary is sealed.


Her role as a victim offered for the salvation of his adopted country deserved her to be included among the Founders of the Church in Canada.


To better satisfy the devotion of the sick and the public, the reliquary is placed in a welded metal box, then sealed, then placed in a wall of the "fore-choir" adjoining the church, the whole covered with a marble slab for identification. This oratory served for the devotion and veneration of the faithful until 1985.

1970 - November 19

Approval of writings.


Publication of the “Positio”.


Discussion of the “Positio” in front of the consultors of the Historical Section.

1980 - September 11

Official decree of the Introduction of the Cause by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

1984 - June 9

His Holiness Pope John Paul II recognizes the heroic virtues of Catherine of Saint Augustine and declares her VENERABLE.


Study of the miracle.


Doctors and theologians unanimously recognize its validity.

1989 - April 23

Marie-Catherine de Saint-Augustin is declared BLESSED by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.