Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel wishes to recall the 300th anniversary of death of Jeanne Le Ber, North America’s first recluse. In a colony like New France, reclusion was a radical and unusual choice.
When Jeanne Le Ber died on October 3, 1714, she was generally regarded as a saint. Her mortal remains are preserved in the chapel since 2005.
Jeanne Le Ber was born in Montreal on January 4, 1662. She was the daughter of Jacques Le Ber, a wealthy Montréal merchant, and Jeanne Le Moyne, Charles Le Moyne's sister. Jeanne was more interested in inner life than in marriage, and took a vow of chastity and reclusion at the age of 18. She lived in seclusion in a room in her family home, leaving it only early each morning to attend daily mass. Fifteen years later, in 1695, during a ceremony that attracted scores of Montrealers, she left her cell to enter another one that had been specially appointed for her in the newly built chapel of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. She never left the chapel until her death, nineteen years later.
Inside her recluse cell, Jeanne devoted herself not only to prayer and Eucharistic adoration but also to needlework. She sewed sacerdotal vestments and altar cloths, so finely embroidered as to be veritable works of art. A deeply compassionate woman, she also sewed clothing for the poor.
You are welcome to pray at her tomb on this special anniversary.