Simon de Longpré, Marie Catherine of St. Augustine, Bl.
SIMON DE LONGPRÉ, MARIE CATHERINE OF ST. AUGUSTINE, BL.
Baptized Catherine, virgin of the Hospitallers of Mercy of St. Augustine; b. May 13, 1632, Saint-Sauveur le Vicomte, France; d. May 8, 1668, Québec, Canada. Catherine's vocation was awakened by her grandparents, who lovingly tended the sick and poor in their own home. She joined a new order of Augustinian hospitaller sisters and received the habit, Oct. 24, 1646, the same day her biological sister pronounced her vows. Marie Catherine made her own vows on May 4, 1648. The two sisters were among the first to respond to the call for women religious to minister in New France (now Canada). Marie Catherine set sail the day before her sixteenth birthday. Despite the hardships of colonial life, the young sister remained cheerful as she cooked for and tended the sick, sharing with them her medical knowledge and spiritual wisdom. Before her death at 36, she was novice mistress for her community (1665–68). Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Marie Catherine on Apr. 23, 1989.
Feast: May 8 (Canada).
Bibliography: g. boucher, Dieu et Satan dans la vie de Catherine de Saint–Augustin, 1632-1668 (Tournai 1979). a. merlaud, L'épopée fantastique d'une jeune Normande: Catherine de Longpré (Paris 1981).
[k. i. rabenstein]