Declaration as a historical person Quebec
Certificate of attestation
Minister Luc Fortin designates Mother Marie-Leonie as a historical figure in Quebec on December 19, 2016. Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke, Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, and Minister responsible for the Eastern townships region, Mr. Luc Fortin, is pleased to designate Élodie Paradis, known as Mother Marie-Leonie, as a historical figure. This symbolic gesture is made under the Cultural Heritage Act to preserve her memory over generations.
“The designation of Mother Marie-Leonie brings us back to the historical role of religious communities in the evolution of Quebec society in terms of health, education and social services. I am proud to make this significant gesture towards this great figure who is closely linked to the life of the Sherbrooke community. In this way, her work will remain engraved in our collective memory,” said Minister Fortin. Élodie Paradis joined the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1854, took her vows in 1857, and was named Sister Marie-de-Sainte-Leonie. She worked in the Montreal area, the United States and New Brunswick, where she founded the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family in 1880. She became the first superior of the community, where she was called Mother Marie-Leonie. This new Institute was dedicated to the domestic service of colleges, seminaries, bishops’ residences and houses for the formation of priests.
In 1895, Mother Marie-Leonie moved the Motherhouse of her community to Sherbrooke. The Institute quickly expanded and Mother Marie-Leonie sent sisters to provide domestic services in 42 religious houses in Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario and the United States. When she died in 1912, the community had more than 600 religious sisters.
“Called early, Mother Marie-Leonie dedicated her life to prayer and support of people. As her community, she transmitted important Christian values: unity, charity, welcoming others and humility. She remains an eloquent model with regard to her spiritual journey and the accomplishment of the noble mission to which she was dedicated,” said Most Reverend Luc Cyr, Archbishop of Sherbrooke. “I join the members of my community in saying that we are honored by this recognition of our dear foundress. Because of what she accomplished, Sister Marie-Leonie remains an inexhaustible source of inspiration for all of us. Thus, I would humbly add that the designation of our Mother foundress also highlights the deep commitment of our community in the colleges, with the scholastics and students,” added Sr. Marie Paule Carrier, Secretary General of the Community of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.
The Cultural Heritage Directory giving information on Mother Marie-Leonie, as well as on all heritage elements registered in the Quebec Cultural Heritage Register, is available on the Répertoire du patrimoine culturel du Québec (RPCQ) website.
The certificate of attestation is framed and placed above the desk of intentions near Mother Marie-Leonie's reliquary in the Basilica-Cathedral..