Two Formidable Maries

Over at the Catholic Portal we have the curious circumstance (or gift) of reading about two women, both known as Marie of the Incarnation, one is a beata, and one is a saint, but both of them would be considered formidable women in any age…even our own, and both of them give lie to the notion that the Catholic church “keeps women down” or has held them back from self-actualizing and being all they could be.

Frank Weathers enthusiastically introduces us to the beata,Blessed Marie de l’Incarnation, 1566-1618:

So, she came from the upper crust of society and basically went to a boarding school (of sorts) with the Poor Clares. Sounds like something I’ve read before in a novel by Sigrid Undset. She married well and then had six children, which will definitely keep any mom busy for a while. Any dad, too. Speaking of dads, he had his hands full at work. Take a look:

Pierre Acarie was one of the staunchest members of the League, which, after the death of Henry III, opposed the succession of the Huguenot prince, Henry of Navarre, to the French throne. He was one of the sixteen who organized the resistance in Paris.

Tea party anyone? Being a rich and well-placed gentleman, I daresay he thought he could change the world, and obviously win. This story is getting good. Stand-by for an act of God.

And the story takes off from there!

Meanwhile, Pat McNamara brought us Saint Marie of the Incarnation, another French woman, but from the 17th century; she managed to cross to North America and make herself beloved of the Native Peoples there:

A profound mystic and gifted leader, Marie had her quirks. For example, she was said to have no sense of humor. Nor did she have patience either for talkative people or for men. She advised her Sisters to “bear with man for the sake of God.” Nevertheless, the hallmark of her life and ministry was courage coupled with profound trust:

I firmly believe that my Divine Jesus will give me all the help necessary for this exalted enterprise, for His Love, and He is much too kind not to help those who hope in Him. It is in this that my peace consists, and in my resolution to be faithful to Him.

In 1875, over two hundred years after Marie’s death, sixteen Chiefs of the Huron Nation petitioned Pope Pius IX for her canonization:

With her own hands, she marked the sign of faith on our hearts, and it has never since been effaced. . . . She loved us with a human, as well as a spiritual affection, she is twice our mother.

It is a privilege to salute some women!

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