The Saint Marguerite d’Youville Sanctuary of Varennes is presenting a new temporary exhibit:  Marguerite: farms to feed the poor.

Here we can discover the exceptional management skills of Marguerite d’Youville, the administrator of the Montreal General Hospital between 1747 à 1771.

Born in Varennes in 1701 and foundress of the Grey Nuns, Marguerite oversaw the farming of three properties which were located in Pointe-Saint-Charles, Chambly and Chateauguay. With foresight, she purchases the Seigneury of Chateauguay in 1765 in spite of having just experienced a ravaging fire in the General Hospital which was sheltering some one hundred people.

“Enhancing the exhibit and on loan from The Grey Nuns of Montreal is a piece of an apple tree planted by Saint Marguerite on Ile Saint-Bernard in Chateauguay and a salt shaker carved from one of the orchard’s trees” specifies Louise Girard, coordinator of the Sanctuary.

From 9 June to 29 September 2019, the Sanctuary will be open Wednesday to Saturday from 1 pm (13h) to 4:30 pm (16h30) and on Sunday from 11 am (11h) to 4:30 pm (16h30).


In the steps of Marguerite…

Enter a building with large, richly coloured stained glass windows and tread the footsteps of Marguerite by means of historical artifacts, costumes and archival documents. Experience her life challenges: widowhood, poverty and the fires that marked her path. Let yourself feel the wonder of her unshakeable faith in God and his Divine Providence will inspire you.

Her work endures over two hundred years later, through her spiritual daughters, whose work can be seen at locations throughout Canada and the United States.

Tread in the steps of Marguerite back to the time in New France, a time when the saint was firmly planted here, sowing the seeds of compassion, faith and love. The fruits of her labour continue to multiply today.


Liturgical feast of Saint Marguerite d’Youville

The liturgical feast of Saint Marguerite is celebrated the 16 October.  Every year, a diocesan Mass is celebrated in the Sainte-Anne de Varennes Basilica at 7:30pm (19h30).   The Mass commemorates the date of baptism of this Saint born the 15 October 1701 in Varennes.  The Bishop or Auxiliary Bishop presides at the liturgy honouring Saint Marguerite for the pilgrims in attendance.



In 2016, the Sanctuary of Sainte Marguerite d’Youville created an association for people seeking to discover and make known the charism of the saint while participating in her mission and spirituality.

In the name of their faith, members commit to gaining a more profound understanding of these elements in order to better experience and testify to them.

The Friends are also invited to take part in various activities of renewal and contemplation. On October 16, the liturgical feast day of Saint Marguerite d’Youville, a solemn Mass is celebrated at the Basilica of Saint Anne of Varennes, where the saint’s tomb rests in the funeral chapel dedicated to her.

Activities offered

  • Volunteering at the Sanctuary of Saint Marguerite d’Youville
  • Conferences
  • Exchanges
  • Occasional meetings with the Grey Nuns

By becoming a member, you will receive information on all our activities. Some of our past events have included presentations on Marguerite d’Youville, Pierre Boucher (Marguerite’s great-grandfather) and Accueil Bonneau.

For more information, please contact Louise Girard, coordinator at the Sanctuary of Saint Marguerite d’Youville:



In the imposing basilica, erected in 1887, Roman and Byzantine architecture combine to create a magnificent building. The space is adorned with numerous paintings, frescoes, windows, statues and religious objects, some of which have been preserved since the founding of the parish of Varennes in 1692.

Of particular note are the following:

Frescoes and paintings by

François Beaucourt, the first Canadian painter to study in Europe

Guido Nincheri, the Italian-Canadian painter nicknamed the Michelangelo of Montreal


The basilica’s facade is decorated with statues of Saint Anne, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, sculpted by Philippe Hébert (around 1886).

The statue of Marguerite d’Youville, a gift from the Grey Nuns of Montreal, was kept at the Crèche d’Youville in Montreal until 1971. It replaced the one that had been installed along the river in 1942.

Religious objects and other ancient pieces:

A bell donated by the Grey Nuns, which came from the old Hôpital Charron de Montreal (1693), an institution that Marguerite d’Youville took on and managed

A miraculous painting of Saint Anne (1730)

A sculpted wooden and gilt paschal candle (around 1788)

A hammered silver sanctuary lamp by Robert Cruickshawk (1803)

Sculpted wooden and gilt baptismal fonts, in the classic Napoleon III style (around 1885)

A sculpted and painted wooden pulpit (1888)

Imported Italian chandeliers (1889)

Just steps from the basilica, take a look at the following:

Two 19th-century votive chapels designated as “cultural property,” and a wooden Calvary cross recognized as a “historical monument”.