Today is the 250th anniversary of the death of Marguerite d’Youville at the Montreal General Hospital on December 23, 1771, after several days of suffering. She was buried three days later in the chapel vault.
Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal in 1737, her inspiration has continued to this day as thousands of Grey Nuns have followed in her footsteps.
It was with these words that Mother Lemoine-Despins, the second Superior General, gave a posthumous account of her last moments to Madame de Ligneris, goddaughter of Marguerite d’Youville:
“I wish, M., that I had some good news to tell you, but on the contrary, my heart is filled with the deepest sorrow as I tell you this and I believe that you will be very sensitive to it. It is the death of Mrs. Youville, our mother, who arrived on 23 February after 15 days of illness. She fell from paralysis on the 13th and after many remedies that did almost nothing for her. However, on the 23rd she seemed a little better and in the evening at about half past eight she was attacked by apoplexy and in less than five or six minutes she passed away in our arms, at a time when we had some small hope of still having her for a little while; I leave you to judge the desolation of this poor house, the cries, the weeping, the lamentations of so many children who lost their most tender mother” (G01,E,1,2,01 Letter from Mother Despins to Madame de Ligneris, August 13, 1772)