Pope Francis Approves Canonization Decree for Canadian Sister Marie-Léonie Paradis

Pope Francis Approves Canonization Decree for Canadian Sister Marie-Léonie Paradis

In a significant development, Pope Francis signed a decree on January 24, paving the way for the canonization of Canadian sister Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis, renowned for founding the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.

This decree marks a recognition of her exemplary life and contributions to religious service.

Early Life and Entrance into Convent:

Born as Virginie Alodie on May 12, 1840, in L’Acadie, Quebec, Marie-Léonie Paradis was the sole daughter in a family of six children.

At the young age of 14, she embarked on her spiritual journey by entering the Marianite convent in Saint-Laurent, Montreal, affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Her early years were dedicated to teaching in and around Montreal, reflecting her commitment to education.

Mission in New York and Transfer to Indiana:

In 1862, Paradis ventured to St. Vincent de Paul’s orphanage in New York, where she devoted eight years to her mission.

In 1870, she made a significant move to the Holy Cross Sisters’ community in Indiana.

Here, she utilized her skills to teach needlework and French at St. Mary’s Academy, contributing to the education of young minds.

Foundation of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family:

The pivotal moment in Paradis’s journey unfolded in 1874 when she relocated to Memramcook, New Brunswick.

Tasked with overseeing the sisters and Acadians at St. Joseph’s College, she demonstrated exceptional leadership.

In 1880, she realized her vision by establishing the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.

This institute aimed to collaborate with and support the religious efforts of Holy Cross, particularly in the realm of education.

Legacy and Passing:

Marie-Léonie Paradis concluded her earthly journey on May 3, 1912, at the age of 72, finding her resting place in St. Michael Cemetery in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Her profound impact on religious education and community service continued to resonate.

Beatification by Pope John Paul II:

Pope John Paul II, during his visit to Canada on September 11, 1984, bestowed the honor of beatification upon Marie-Léonie Paradis.

This recognition underscored her virtuous life and the significance of her contributions within the religious landscape.


The approval for the canonization of Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis by Pope Francis reflects the reverence for her life’s work and the enduring legacy of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.