MAILLET, MARIE, nun, Hospitaller of Saint-Joseph, first bursar of the Hôtel-Dieu, Montreal; b. 1610 at Saumur (Anjou), daughter of Jean Maillet, a merchant, and Marie Rivard (or Pinard); d. 1677.
Until she was 35 she lived at Saumur “on her income, very comfortably, devoted to God and in the sincere desire to honour and serve Him.” She decided to devote herself to the service of the poor and entered the Hôtel-Dieu of La Flèche 5 April 1646.
Appointed depositary at La Flèche and then at Laval (France), she kept this office when she was designated for Ville-Marie. She owed this designation which she had desired so much to Jérôme Le Royer de La Dauversière himself, “who was her director and who asked for her to be the third person in his establishment at Ville-Marie.” She arrived at Quebec 7 Sept. 1659 with Jean Mance and Mothers Moreau de Brésoles and Macé. She carried out her functions as bursar “in a very virtuous manner,” we are told by Marie Morin*, the annalist of the Hôtel-Dieu.
The capable depositary was at the same time a nun who had entered upon the ways of mysticism, as had a great number of fervent souls of her time. Here is Sister Morin’s testimony on this subject: “Sister Maillet was a nun of very superior gifts of prayer. . . . The late M. Olier had appeared to her several times, bathed in glory, to strengthen and console her in her inward sufferings. . . . She also saw M. de La Dauversière after his death on the same subject. These great servants of God assured her in His name that this work [the Hôtel-Dieu] was His and that it would subsist despite the opposition of those men who in that respect were acting blindly, not knowing His designs; but that He would be well able to create out of these difficulties His glory and the advantage of this house, which was founded and sustained by the Cross.”
Although a nun above all else, Mother Maillet was also an excellent Hospitaller: “she surpassed herself by the lengths to which she went to relieve the sufferings” of her patients. Consequently they loved her greatly, and the Indians themselves never called her anything else but “their dear mother.”
Mother Maillet died “towards the end of the month of November 1677, which year was the 18th of her stay at Ville-Marie.”
AHDM, Registre des entrées et professions (contient l’acte de profession de Mère Maillet); Contrat de fondation des Filles Hospitalières de Saint-Joseph de Montréal (9 juin 1659); Acte fait par les trois premières Mères durant leur séjour à La Rochelle, le 12 juin 1659, par lequel elles s’engagent à ne jamais sortir de la maison “sans permission”; “Obédience” de Monseigneur de Laval confiant le mandat aux trois premières Mères (20 oct. 1659); Requête présentée à Monseigneur l’Evêque de Pétrée pour la solennité des vœux (7 oct. 1671); Marie Morin, “Histoire simple et véritable de l’établissement des Religieuses Hospitalières de Saint-Joseph en l’Ile de Montréal, dite à présent Ville-Marie, en Canada, de l’année 1659. . .”; and other documents. Morin, Annales (Fauteux et al.). Lefebvre, Marie Morin. Mondoux, L’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal.