BAUDRY, MARIE-VICTOIRE, named de la Croix, sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame, teacher, and superior of the community (superior general); b. 12 Dec. 1782 in Pointe-aux-Trembles (Montreal), daughter of Toussaint Baudry and Élisabeth Truteau; d. 10 Nov. 1846 in Montreal.
Marie-Victoire Baudry went to school at the convent in Pointe-aux-Trembles. She entered the noviciate of the Congregation of Notre Dame at Montreal in 1799 and took her vows two years later under the name of Sister de la Croix. In 1802 she began to teach at the Saint-Laurent mission on Montreal Island, and in 1804 she was responsible for a class in the Lower Town mission at Quebec.
As a member of a community primarily devoted to teaching, Sister de la Croix should have spent long years in that activity. But she was called to take charge first of the mission at Pointe-aux-Trembles (Neuville) in 1809, and then of the one at Saint-François (Saint-François-Montmagny) in 1811. Seven years later she became novice mistress at the mother house in Montreal, an office she held until she was elected superior in 1822. At the end of her six-year term she was succeeded by Marie-Catherine Huot*, named Sainte-Madeleine, and was elected councillor; she retained that post until her death.
During her six years as superior, Sister de la Croix set up three new missions: Sainte-Marie-de-la-Nouvelle-Beauce (Sainte-Marie) in 1823, Berthier-en-Haut (Berthierville) in 1825, and Terrebonne in 1826. As the sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame were not cloistered, requests for their services in teaching and bringing up children came from a number of quarters. The superior shaped the curriculum, in which the promotion of Christian values held a large place. For example, Sister de la Croix expanded it adding, as needed, the study of English, drawing, domestic science, and various other activities.
Through Sulpician Jean-Baptiste Thavenet, the financial representative in Europe of the Lower Canadian religious communities, the Congregation of Notre Dame was able to recover the annuities that had remained in France since the French revolution [see Marie-Louise Compain*, named Saint-Augustin]. Sister de la Croix had a hand in the attempt to establish the Trappistine nuns in Nova Scotia. In 1822 she welcomed into the noviciate three girls chosen by Father Vincent de Paul [Jacques Merle*], who wanted to organize a branch of the order. The following year the novices returned to Nova Scotia; they remained grateful to the Congregation of Notre Dame, and especially to the superior.
Sister de la Croix was endowed with sound judgement and a strong constitution. She could show kindness while insisting firmly on obedience to the rule and adherence to the practices then in effect in the community. As a result of an accident suffered in her girlhood she limped, and later she became deaf. Despite this double infirmity she attended the spiritual exercises of the community and visited all the missions. When she died, the bishop of Montreal, Ignace Bourget*, wrote to the community: “I always admired in the good Sister de la Croix a fervent zeal for maintaining discipline and the exact observance of your holy rules; she had an abundant share of the . . . evangelical simplicity that your devoted founder [Marguerite Bourgeoys*] bequeathed to you . . . . [God] had given her deep understanding of all that concerns your community.” Sister de la Croix’s name is linked to those who in succession accomplished great deeds in responding to the call of the church and of education.
ANQ-M, CE1-5, 12 déc. 1782; CE1-51, 12 nov. 1846. Arch. de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame (Montréal), Marie-Catherine Huot, dite Sainte-Madeleine, Journal et notes hist. [D.-A. Lemire-Marsolais, dite Sainte-Henriette, et] Thérèse Lambert, dite Sainte-Marie-Médiatrice, Histoire de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame (11v. en 13 parus, Montréal, 1941–), 6–8.