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Marguerite and her Influence: a new temporary exhibit

The city of Varennes is celebrating its 350th anniversary in 2022. In the coming months, a tribute will be paid to its most famous citizen, Saint Marguerite d’Youville, foundress of the Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns).

A temporary exhibit in the Saint Marguerite d’Youville Sanctuary will be inaugurated on Sunday, 5 June. The exhibit, entitled Marguerite and Her Influence, will showcase the six Grey Nuns’ communities and their major accomplishments. These women, inspired by the charism of Marguerite d’Youville, have worked with people in need following her example. In Canada, hundreds of institutions were created: hospitals, orphanages, residences for the elderly and schools.

The exhibit will show how the Sisters responded to calls to begin new communities and undertake missions abroad.

Exceptional Benches

As part of the festivities, six benches will be inaugurated on 2 July, one for each of the Grey Nuns’ communities. They were decorated with mosaics by Varennes artist Mireille Lévesque. The gardens of the Sanctuary have been completely redesigned to welcome visitors. A solemn Mass presided by Bishop Claude Hamelin will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. Different personalities will be present to inaugurate the benches at 3 pm. All are invited to this commemoration of the influence of Saint Marguerite d’Youville.

Sacred Art Exhibit

An exhibit of sacred art objects and liturgical vestments will be held from Sunday, 5 June to 2 October in the sacristy of Saint Anne’s Basilica.

Saint Anne Basilica and the Saint Marguerite d’Youville Sanctuary will also be participating in the Religious Heritage Days on 9, 10 and 11 September. On this occasion, guided tours will take place.

The summer season at the Sanctuary will end on Sunday, 2 October 2022.

We look forward to welcoming you!


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.[/vc_column_text]


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 10 am (10 h).   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”.