Last month several St. Mary’s Health System employees traveled to Montreal for our annual pilgrimage to “Walk in the Footsteps of St. Marguerite d’Youville.” Each year the Marguerite d’Youville Award winners and a guest are invited to participate in the pilgrimage. We traveled to Chateauguay, a beautiful retreat center on an island outside of Montreal, purchased by Marguerite d’Youville herself in 1765 (in spite of the fire which destroyed her hospital just a few weeks before.)
On Saturday we toured Accueil Bonneau, a program run by the Sisters of Charity of Montreal to meet the needs of homeless men. The dining room serves an average of 750 meals per day! We were able to assist in serving the meal that day and it was a powerful experience for all of us. We also toured the Maison de Mere d’Youville to learn about her life and spirituality. On Sunday we joined the sisters at the Mother House for Mass and enjoyed a delightful visit with some of the sisters at the infirmary there. We also went to Varennes, birthplace of Marguerite d’Youville. On Monday we went to Saint-Hyacinthe and met with the sisters there, including a wonderful reunion with Sr. Estelle and Sr. Rita! Sr. Diane Beaudoin, Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of Saint-Hyacinthe, hosted our visit and arranged for us to meet with some of the sisters who have provided ministry in Maine. We are grateful for the generous hospitality extended by all of the Grey Nuns with whom we met on the pilgrimage.
Participants of this year’s pilgrimage remarked that “the pilgrimage was a beautiful and inspiring experience. The impact that Marguerite d’Youville has had on our organization only scratches the surface compared to the impact she has had on the lives of the people of Saint-Hyacinthe, Montreal, Varennes and Chateauguay. I could never have imagined how highly esteemed she is held to those folks until I saw it with my own eyes. She truly was an amazing woman and one that will continue to inspire me in the years to come.”