Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/La Peltrie, Marie Madeleine de

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LA PELTRIE, Marie Madeleine de, educator, b. in Alencon, Prance, in 1603 ; d. in Quebec, Canada, in 1671. She married at the age of seventeen, and was left a widow at twenty-two. Having seen an appeal in the first Jesuit relation from Father Le Jeune for help to educate the Indian girls, she decided to spend her fortune in founding an institution to take charge of this work. Several obstacles interposed, so that it was not until 1639 that she was able to sail for Quebec, accompanied by Mother Mary of the Incarnation, two other Ursuline nuns, and several hospital sisters. She visited the Indian village in the neighborhood, and kissed every little girl in it, "unmindful of much that might have created disgust." She then proceeded to found the Ursuline convent of Quebec, the pioneer school of Canada for the instruction of girls. After the founding of the convent she stripped herself of all she had retained for her own use in order to clothe the children, who were brought to her almost naked. She was present at the foundation of Montreal, and decorated its first altar. During the rest of her life she shared the labors of the nuns.