Some BLESSEDS of Canada
While devotion to the canonized saints allows for devotion in the Church universal, veneration of the beatified, the "blesseds" is restricted to a particular religious family or movement or to a region. Thus, the blessed men and women with a connection to Canada may be acknowledged throughout the country.
The end of April and first few days of May offer the opportunity to celebrate holiness in a Canadian context. On April 30, Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation, religious of Quebec and on May 6, Blessed Francois de Laval, first bishop of Quebec. And another Blessed is honoured today, someone who has a special significance in that the members of her congregation Les Petites Soeurs de la Sainte Famille (the Little Sisters of the Holy Family) served in Ottawa, at the Nunciature, at the Seminary and at the Archbishop's Residence, for 99 years before they had to leave the Archdiocese because of age and lack of new recruits some time ago, before my arrival in the Capital:
Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis (1840-1912)
Today in Canada, the liturgy permits the optional memorial of Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis. Elodie Paradis was born in the village of L’Acadie in Quebec, Canada. It was May 12, 1840. Her parents were poor but devout Catholics. They loved their little girl. When Elodie was nine, her parents decided to send her to a boarding school. They wanted her to have an excellent education. The Sisters of Notre Dame warmly received the new student. But Elodie and her family missed each other very much.
Mr. Paradis worked hard running a mill. But times were bad, and the mill did not produce enough to support his wife and children. He heard wonderful reports of the gold rush in California. He was so desperate that he decided to go. In California, Mr. Paradis did not find the wealth he hoped for. When he returned to L’Acadie, he was shocked to find that his Elodie had joined the convent. She had entered the Holy Cross congregation on February 21, 1854. Mr. Paradis went to the convent. He begged his daughter to return home, but she chose to remain. Finally, her father accepted it. She pronounced her vows in 1857.
Blessed Marie-Leonie taught school in different cities. She prayed and lived her life joyfully. As time went on, Sister Marie-Leonie was led by Jesus to begin a new religious order in the Church. The Little Sisters of the Holy Family were begun in 1880. These loving sisters are devoted to the priesthood. They serve priests in the household care so important to their ministry. The Little Sisters of the Holy Family now have sixty-seven convents in Canada, the United States, Rome and Honduras.
Mother Marie Leonie worked for her sisters until the last few hours of her life. She was always frail and often ill. But she never stopped caring for God’s people. She put the last corrections on the pages of the book of rules she had written. She had it sent to the print shop. That book would give her sisters the guidance they would need for their life. It was Friday, May 3, 1912. Mother Marie-Leonie said she felt very tired. She went to rest and died a few hours later. She was seventy-one years old.
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Today's other national story with an Ottawa origin features:
The Royal CANADIAN NAVY 100 Today:
'Ready Aye Ready!'
Canada is a vast country with the longest coastline of any nation in the world. We have a rich tradition of fishing and maritime trade dating back to our earliest days, however it took more than 40 years after Confederation to form our own navy.
Before that, as a member of the British Empire, Canada’s defence at sea was left almost entirely to the powerful Royal Navy. After much debate on how the member countries of the British Empire could best help defend themselves and each other, the formation of the new Canadian navy was finally authorized. On May 4, 1910, it officially came into being.
The Canadian Navy received its first warships that same year when HMCS Rainbow and Niobe were acquired from Britain. King George V granted the use of the word “Royal” in the navy’s name the following year. It was a modest beginning to what would prove to be a force that had an important role to play in the future.