SAYWARD (Sayer), MARY (baptized Marie-Geneviève), dite Marie des Anges, nun of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame; b. 11 April 1681, daughter of William Sayward and Mary Rishworth; d. and buried 28 March 1717 at Quebec.
When William III acceded to the throne, hostilities broke out once again between France and England, and at the same time between their American colonies. On 25 Jan. 1692, around “10 o’clock in ye morny,” the Abenakis, who were allies of the French, “fell upon York, killed about 48 persons (whereof ye rev. Mr. Dummier was one), and carried captives 71”. Among the captives who were taken to Montreal and for whom the Indians hoped to obtain a ransom were Mrs. Sayward and her two daughters, Mary, aged 11, and Esther (baptized Marie-Joseph), aged seven. They were received by Sister Bourgeoys* into the house of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, and a few months later, on 8 Dec. 1693, Mrs. Sayward was converted from Puritanism to Catholicism and was baptized, together with her two daughters, in the church of Notre-Dame in Montreal.
The exact date of Mary’s entry into the Congrégation de Notre-Dame cannot be found in the archives, but considering the customary age at which girls entered it, it may be presumed to be around 1698–1700. She took the name of Sister Marie des Anges. After making her profession she was sent to the Indian mission at Sault-au-Récollet, where several captives from New England were assembled. Since she spoke English, Sister Marie des Anges was doubtless better able to help her compatriots. Later on she went to Quebec, where she died on 28 March 1717. Her sister Esther married Pierre de Lestage*, a Montreal merchant; having become a widow in 1743, she entered the Congrégation de Notre-Dame as a permanent boarder, and died there on 17 June 1770 at the age of 86.
Coleman, New England captives, I, II. Sister St Ignatius Doyle, Marguerite Bourgeoys and her Congregation (Gardenvale, 1940). Histoire de la Congrégation de Montréal, III, 275–78. Kenneth Roberts, Trending into Main (Boston, 1938), 20–22.