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The names appearing below are just a fraction of the Canadian women of accomplishment. Check out The Famous Canadian Women 's section ON THE JOB  which contains mini profiles of 2000 Canadian Women of Achievement.

Religious Leaders     
1600's

Marie Morin. Born March 19,  1649. She took her vows as a nun on October 27, 1671. She was the 1st Canadian born woman to become a religious sister. She would become bursar and superior of the Hospitalièrs of Montreal. She was also one of the first women writers in New France. She wrote the annals of the Hotel Dieu (1697-1725) and her own memoirs. She was a heroic woman, a true product of the early days of New France

 

Marie de L’Incarnation née Marie Guyant. Born October 28, 1599 Tours, France. Died  April 30, 1672.  Widowed within two years of her marriage she decided to raise her infant son before dedicating herself to religious  life. She read about Canada in the famous Jesuit Relations and decided it was the place for her to be.  She arrived in New France 1639 She served the little community by founding and becoming the 1st Superior of  the Ursuline Order of Canada. An expert in several native languages she translated religious books and created devotions for her native students in their own language.  Her personal letters are a valuable source of French Canadian history.

 
Lydia Longley. Born April 13, 1674 Groton, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Died July 20, 1758. When she was 20 she was captured by the Abenakis, the Indian allies of the French during the war against the British. She was taken to Ville Marie (Modern Montreal) where she became accustomed so much to life in New France that she refused to return to the US when captives were exchanged at the end of the war. She embraced the religion of her new home and entered life as a nun in 1695 as Sister Sainte-Madeleine. In a romantic novel, author Helen A. McCarthy called her "the 1st American Nun". 
 

Mother Marie-Léone (Elodie)  Paradis. Born  May 12, 1840 L'Acadie, Lower Canada. Died May 3, 1912. In 1854, at the age of 14 she presented herself at a convent near Montreal. In August 1857 she took her vows under the name of Sister Marie-de-Saint-Léon. She served in Quebec, and in the USA in  New York and Michigan.  She soon found herself in the Canadian Maritimes in  Acadia, where in 1874 she was chosen to direct a group of novices in New Brunswick. The Holy Cross Fathers in the region were desperate for help to educate the Acadians of the region. They could not afford to pay lay teachers. This energetic and devoted woman is credited with infusing energies and saving the Acadian culture in the region. Returning to Quebec in 1895 she sought support and recognition for her order of Little Sisters of the Holy Family, which would help priest with educational needs. . Official recognition came in 1896. Elodie Paradis was beautified in Montreal on September 11, 1984, by Pope John Paul ll during his Canadian Visit. She was the 1st Canadian Woman to be beautified (the first step in the process to becoming a saint in the Roman Catholic Church) on Canadian soil.  Pope John Paul ll made the declaration during his Canadian visit.
 

1880's
Marion Oliver. Born 1855 Avonbank, Ontario. Died 1913. She earned a teaching certificate and taught school in Perth County, Ontario. Deciding to enter into mission work she was accepted as a candidate with the Women’s Mission Society to be sent to India. In 1883 she graduated from the Women’s Medical College in Kingston, Ontario and was valedictorian for her class. In 1886 she became one of the 1st women to go to India as a medical missionary sailing for India on October 7, 1886. She was stationed at the mission at Indore where the missionaries had rooms to live right beside the medical dispensary. It was not long before she was taking weekly trips to Ujjain one of India’s oldest and most sacred cities. In 1888 she took charge of the Girl’s School in Indore. In 1892 she was also working at the new Women’s Hospital that was set up in Indore. She returned home to Canada on furlough and at that time cared for her ill mother. By 1894 she was once again
back working in India retiring in 1913 and returning home to Canada.
 
1930's
Lydia Emelie Gruchy. Born 1895 Paris, France. She and her family  emigrated to Canada to homestead in Saskatchewan. When her brother, who was studying for the ministry, died in World War l, Lydia decided to study for the ministry and do whatever a woman could do. She graduated with top honours from St Andrew's College, Saskatoon. She worked as a minister's assistant, as women were not allowed to be full ministers. in 1926 she requested ordination and was refused. She would repeat her request every two years. In November 1936 she was ordained at St Andrew's Church, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, becoming the 1st woman in Canada to be a minister in the United Church of Canada. She continued her work in the church until she retired in 1962.
 
 
1940's
 
1950's
Addie Aylestock Born 1909, Glenallen, Ontario. Died 1998. Addie attended the medical Missionary College and the Toronto Bible College. In 1951 She became the 1st ordained Black woman in Canada. She served in British Methodist Episcopal Churches in Toronto, Halifax, Nova Scotia  and Owen Sound, Ontario. Source: Addie Aylestock . David Spencer Educational Pages education.davidspencer.ca (Accessed December 2011)
 
1960's
Norah Louise Hughes. Born 1905, Portsmouth, England. Died July 28, 1989 British Columbia. In 1921 she and her family immigrated to Canada and settled in Abbotsford area of British Columbia. Norah attended the University of British Columbia where she earned and Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. In 1937 she became a candidate for the ministry in the United Church of Canada. In 1940 she earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Union College and went on to earn her PhD from the University of Chicago in the U.S.A. In 1962 she was elected as the 1st woman to be head of a Conference in the United Church representing the geographical area of British Columbia. Source: British Columbia Conference of the United Church of Canada. Rev. Dr. Norah Louise Hughes Accessed February 20 2017.
 
1970's
Ina Canton. Born 1914, Toronto, Ontario. Died 2004, Toronto, Ontario. Both her parents died when she was young and she was raised by her uncle and found herself drawn to her Anglican religious community. She trained to become a Deaconess in the church and did mission work in areas of rural Saskatchewan. When attending Synod area meeting she was so shy she asked male colleagues to ask questions or make a point on her behalf. While National Synod passed the idea of accepting women as priests the diocese of Rupert’s Land was not do inclined and refused to ordain women. It was not until 1971 that the path was cleared for Ina to become the 1st woman in Saskatchewan to be ordained as a deacon and 5 years later she was called to the Priesthood. In the early 1980’s she retired to live in Toronto where she as an Honorary Assistant at Little Trinity Anglican Church until her death. Source: Herstory; The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2010.
 
 
Sarla Bedi. née Kapila. Born April 4, 1924,Sahnewal, India. Died November 15, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. Her family moved to British Kenya where they lived in the segregated Indian community. The family could not afford to send Sarla to England to University as she wanted so she became a teacher in Nairobi, Kenya. While teaching she cared for her parents and her brothers. In 1946 she married Gobind Bedi. The couple were married over 60 years and had 4 children. In 1972, seeking to escape unrest in East Africa the family immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto. In 1976 Sarla became the 1st woman to be registered as a Hindu priest in Ontario. She enjoyed serving her Hindu faith community. She was proud of her new home and new life and refused to move to the U.S.A. with her son in her later years, preferring to stay at home in Toronto. Source: Lives Lived: Sarla Bedi by Nilam Bedi. Globe and Mail May 7, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 

Lois Miriam Wilson.  (née Freeman) Born Winnipeg, Manitoba 1927.  After 15 years as a homemaker she became an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada. In 1976 she became 1st woman president of the Canadian Council of Churches, and in 1980 she was appointed the first woman to the top position of Moderator of the United Church. She is a member of the Order of Canada and has received the Pearson Peace Prize and the World Federalist Peace Award.
 

 
1980's
Marguerite Bourgeoys  Born April 17, 1620 Troyes, France. Died January 12, 1700. She Came to Canada as a nun to work in the colony of New France. She would founded the Congregation de Notre-Dame de Montreal to encourage young women to work for their community with Devine guidance. The Sisters taught and set up schools in New France.  Today the order has several thousand members and has expanded their work to the USA and Japan.   Mother Marguerite Bourgeoys was the 1st woman in Canada to be canonized (declared a Saint in the Roman Catholic Church), October 31, 1982.
 
Mother Joseph (Esther) Pariseau.  Born April 16 1823 Saint-Martin (Laval) Lower  Canada  (Quebec). Died  January 1902. In December 1843 she entered the service of  the  Sisters of Providence in Montreal. She volunteered, with four others, to be a missionary in the Washington and Canada western territories. She would be the power behind the establishment of some 10 schools, 2 orphanages, 15 hospitals, an asylum and home for the aged. In 1866 she was in charge of building and financing missions in the Canadian and American West. She would set out on  "begging tours" in the Canadian and American west to finance the institutions that the order would build. Because of her contribution in designing and building institutions she is considered to be one of the first architects in the northwest and is also recognized as an early artisan who used native northwest woods. The state of Washington gave her national prominence in 1980 when her statue was placed in Statuary Hall in Washington D.C., as an historic leader of Washington State. She is the fifth woman and the 1st Catholic sister represented in the United States gallery of "first citizens."
Kateri Tekakwitha. Born 1656 Ossernenon, New York U.S.A. Died St-Francois-Xavier Mission (Kahnawake) New France (Quebec) April 17 1680. She became a baptized Christian in 1676 and a year later moved to Kahnawake. In 1679 the Jesuits gave her permission to take a vow of chastity. She died after a prolonged illness. Her relics are preserved in a shrine at Kahnawake and numerous miracles have since been reported. She was beatified, a major  step in the Roman Catholic Church of  the process to being declared a Saint, on June 22, 1980. She is the 1st North American Native candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church.
1990's
 
2000's
 
 

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