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Our Foundress

A woman of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart


Foundress of a religious family dedicated to following Jesus the Good Shepherd by helping women in distress, Marie Josephte Fitzbach has become a historical figure. Past generations knew and admired her; present generations turn to her more and more and love her. A woman of prayer, wisdom and action, she was gifted with the intelligence of the heart and of the hands, the intelligence of daily life. This simple spirituality she passed on to her companions and to all those who followed.

A child of rural Quebec, Marie Josephte Fitzbach was born in the humble village of St. Vallier, Bellechasse County, on October 16, 1806. Her father, Charles Fitzbach (1736-1808), originally from Luxembourg, came to Canada towards the end of the French Regime. Once a widower, Mr. Fitzbach settled in St. Vallier and chose as his third wife a young woman of neighboring St. Michel Parish, Genevieve Nadeau (1774-1852). Eight children were born to the couple, one of them being Marie Josephte, who remained the youngest of the family when her little sister died in infancy.

Marie's childhood, adolescence and entire life were marked by successive, painful uprootings. Yet the girl did not withdraw into melancholy. From early youth, her heart learned by experience the evangelical beatitude of compassion; her hands, still frail, were not put off by the harsh realities of earning one's daily bread, and her steps prematurely grew strong on the rugged path of life. Abandoned women claimed her assistance; unschooled children called for her dedication; adolescent girls sought the reassurance of her maternal love. Many young women, inspired actively for charity, knocked at her door and asked to share in the new undertaking. Marie Josephte Fitzbach said yes to every call.

On the rock of Cape Diamond, she founded the first women's religious community that can claim Quebec City as its place of origin. Please reach out to request a book about her story as a tribute to the Foundress, Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart, and as a means of promoting the Cause of her Beatification. 

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