LEFEBVRE ANGERS, MARIE-ANGÉLIQUE, dite Saint-Simon, sister of the Congregation of Notre-Dame, superior of the community (superior general): b. 25 Oct. 1710 in Montreal, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Lefebvre Angers and Geneviève-Françoise Faucher; d. 28 April 1766 in Montreal.
Marie-Angélique’s grandfather, Simon Lefebvre Angers, emigrated to Quebec from Picardy in the second half of the 17th century. On 30 Aug. 1700 at Pointe-aux-Trembles (Neuville) his son Jean-Baptiste married Geneviève-Françoise Faucher and moved to Montreal around 1705.
When she was 16 Marie-Angélique entered the boarding-school of the Congregation of Notre-Dame, then in 1728 asked to be admitted into the community. On 20 Nov. 1730 her father undertook in writing to give the sisters the sum of 2,000 livres (800 were paid in 1730 and 1,200 in 1733). The next day Marie-Angélique took the nuns’ simple vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and the vow to teach girls. In religion she received her grandfather’s name and became Sister Saint-Simon.
After participating in the apostolic activities of the congregation in Montreal, Sister Saint-Simon held important offices in her community. She was mistress of novices twice, from 1750 to 1756 and from 1763 to 1765. In between these two terms of office she assumed the office of superior general of the congregation.
Sister Saint-Simon’s superiorship took place during the Seven Years’ War. Her task was consequently made heavier by the hardships that befell the colony at this time and by the tragic events that the annals of the community record for the years 1757–63: the deportation to France of the sisters at Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island); the flight of the sisters from Quebec to Ville-Marie; the burning of the convents in the Lower Town of Quebec, at Château-Richer, and at Sainte-Famille (Île d’Orléans); the dangers incurred by the sisters on Montreal Island, especially at Lachine and Pointe-Saint-Charles. Sister Saint-Simon was in addition concerned, with good reason, about the fate that the conqueror, English and Protestant, had in store for her community. Under her direction, however, the congregation adopted a positive attitude towards the occupying forces. The sisters, it seems, believed in the régime of cooperation which Jeffery Amherst* claimed in his poster to want to set up. In any event, in the spirit of the church, for whom all authority was of divine right, they showed only submission and respect to the country’s new masters.
Six years as superior under such conditions exhausted Sister Saint-Simon. After serving the community for two more years as mistress of novices, she had to retire and died a few months later, on 28 April 1766; she was buried the next day. Marie-Angélique Lefebvre Angers was only 55, but she had given 38 years of her life, and all her resources of intellect and heart, to the educational work of the Congregation of Notre-Dame.
ACND, La Congrégation de Notre-Dame: son personnel, 1653–1768; Fichier général des sœurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame; Plans des lieux de sépulture depuis 1681–CND; Registre des sépultures des sœurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame; Registre général des sœurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal. ANDM, Registres des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 26 oct. 1710. ANQ-M, Greffe de J.-C. Raimbault, 20 nov. 1730. Archives paroissiales de Saint-François-de-Sales (Neuville, Que.), Registres des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 30 août 1700. Sister Saint Ignatius [Catherine Jane] Doyle, Marguerite Bourgeoys and her congregation (Gardenvale, Que., 1940). Lemire-Marsolais et Lambert, Histoire de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame.