GIFFARD, MARIE-FRANÇOISE, dite Marie de Saint-Ignace, Hospitaller of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec, first nun of Canadian birth; daughter of Robert Giffard and Marie Regnouard; d. 1657.
In 1634 Giffard, having been granted a seigneury, returned to New France with his wife and his two children. On 12 June, nine days after their arrival at Quebec, Françoise was baptized by Father Charles Lalemant. In the autumn of 1646 she took her vows at the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec. She received the name of the mother superior and foundress, who had died on 5 November.
Marie-Françoise Giffard’s niece, Mother Juchereau* de Saint-Ignace, has traced a portrait of her that seems authentic: “She was very intelligent, endowed with great gentleness and a prudence beyond her age. Her innocence and purity were angelic; she had a sincere and deep humility, an ardent charity and an unfailing readiness to endure all in God’s name.” Mother Giffard de Saint-Ignace died on 15 March 1657 at Quebec, after terrible suffering. She was buried under the chancel in the Hôtel-Dieu chapel. Her contemporaries admired her saintly qualities.
JR (Thwaites). Juchereau, Annales (Jamet). BRH, VII (1901), 86–89.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, 12 juin 1634.