Canadian religious sister Mother Marie-Léonie Paradis cleared for canonization — By: Catholic News Agency

Canadian sister Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis, founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. / Credit: centremarie-leonieparadis

CNA Staff, Jan 25, 2024 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis signed a decree on Jan. 24 allowing for the canonization of Canadian sister Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis, founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family

Born Virginie Alodie on May 12, 1840, in L’Acadie, Quebec, the future foundress was the only daughter in a family of six children. At the age of 14, she entered the Marianite convent in Saint-Laurent, Montreal, the female branch of the Congregation of Holy Cross. She spent several years teaching in and around Montreal. In 1862 she was sent to St. Vincent de Paul’s orphanage in New York for eight years.

In 1870, Paradis moved to the community of the Holy Cross Sisters in Indiana. Here she taught needlework and French at St. Mary’s Academy. In the fall of 1874 she was sent to Memramcook, New Brunswick, to take charge of the sisters and Acadians who worked at St. Joseph’s College. It was there, in 1880, that she founded her own institute — the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, whose purpose was to collaborate with and support the religious of Holy Cross in educational work.

Paradis died on May 3, 1912, at the age of 72 and was buried in St. Michael Cemetery in Sherbrooke, Quebec. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II when he visited Canada on Sept. 11, 1984.

Today her sisters work in over 200 institutions of education and evangelization in Canada, the United States, Italy, Brazil, Haiti, Chile, Honduras, and Guatemala.

The miracle Pope Francis attributed to the religious sister involved the healing of a newborn baby girl who suffered from “prolonged perinatal asphyxia with multi-organ failure and encephalopathy” during her birth in 1986 at a hospital in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

On the same day of the announcement, Pope Francis also recognized the martyrdom of Father Michal Rapacz, a Polish priest who was kidnapped and killed by communists in 1946.

The other decrees approved by the Holy Father recognized the heroic virtues of Bishop Cyrille Jean Zohrabian, OFM Cap; Father Sebastian Gili Vives; Father Gianfranco Chiti; and Sister Maddalena Volpato.

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