[Relique/ Relic ID # 656-1599]

obeliskgoodRelique/ Relic ID # 656-1599

Classification: First class relic

Source: Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours archeological site, Montréal, QC.

Description: Severely deteriorated pubis (inferior and superior pubic ramus) of Saint Margeurite Bourgeoys, CND (April 17, 1620 – January 12, 1700), French, co-foundress of Montréal.

*Please see the Specimen Gallery for correlating images of the artifact.

Biological/Forensic Inquiry: Presence of chemical compound K3Fe(CN)8 (Potassium Ferricyanide) in the specimen. One possible explanation for the presence of this chemical is its historical use in deciphering biblical palimpsests written on vellum, the chemical functioning to bring out faded or eradicated ink (common practice in 14th and 15th century France). Another, perhaps more likely explanation would be due to the use of Potassium Ferricyanide in the natural dyeing of wool, as a mordant. Resulting condition (not pathological): FRET.

Details: K3Fe(CN)8 03/18/14 | Sat. sol. 40% | D. O. C. 03/20/14 | WFH | protocell liquid suspension in polyhedron2: obelisk

Comments: St Margeurite Bourgeoys founded the religious women’s order, Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal (Fort Ville-Marie, colony of New France [now Canada]) in 1658, a branch of the Catholic educational Congregation of Notre Dame in France. The Congregation received civil recognition from King Louis XIV, 1671; granted official status by the Catholic Church in 1698. Beatified, 1950 by Pope Pius XII. Canonized, 1982 by Pope John Paul II. First Canadian female saint.

Common history: Margeurite Bourgeoys was sixth of twelve children of a bourgeoisie family in Troyes, Champagne, France and grew up comfortably. Born during the time of great French mystics, she sought a life of contemplation after leaving home. Though she was initially uninterested in being cloistered within the Congregation of Notre-Dame (seeing it as a form of bigotry), she joined in 1640 and worked towards fulfilling a vision of a new uncloistered religious community for women who wished to be active educating among the poor (wandering nuns). She was offered an opportunity to see her vision manifest in 1652, when the visiting Governor of Fort Ville-Marie invited her to New France to teach the children of the settlers and of the indigenous peoples. Upon her arrival in the colony in 1653, there were no children to teach due to high infant mortality. The Vatican has publicly declared that after her arrival, Bourgeoys reestablished the wooden cross on Mont Royal after it had been destroyed by “hostile Indians.” She directed the building of the first church, Notre Dame de Bon Secours chapel in 1657 and began teaching in a stone stable in 1658, establishing the first free school in Montréal. Further to these activities, Bourgeoys returned to France to recruit women to help teach and was put in charge of orphan girls, Les filles du roi (daughters of the King) who were being sent to serve as wives to male colonists and establish families in order to root colonial land claims. The Vatican describes this as “perceiving the significance of the role to be exercised by women… in the building of this new country.” Her new responsibilities in operating a matrimonial agency included rigorously examining settler men who sought wives among the orphan girls under her care, and speaking out against domestic violence.

In 1662, Bourgeoys acquired farming property in what is now Pointe-Saint-Charles through a land concession by the Governor of Fort Ville-Marie. The property, which expanded through an additional land purchase became the Maison Saint-Gabriel (designated a national historic site in 2007), where the sisters produced mainly corn, wheat and pumpkin for the orphans and the rest of the colony. When the bishop attempted to pass a new rule to cloister her religious order, Bourgeoys returned to France again to seek the King’s political assistance in protecting the secularity of her community. She was granted letters patent as a society of ‘secular sisters’ due to her role in not only teaching, but also in establishing colonial architecture. The original site of the Notre Dame de Bon Secours chapel, also known as the Sailor’s Church in Old Port, is now an archaeological site of indigenous encampments and artifacts dating back more than 2400 years, demonstrating that the church was built over 2000-year old indigenous settlements.

Bourgeoys went on to establish a number of other schools on the island, many for educating affluent girls of the colony, who were taught needlework. She also set up a “bark cabin” school in the Iroquois village of La Montagne and is credited with converting the first two indigenous nuns, (Algonquin) Marie-Thérèse Gannensagouas and (Iroquois) Marie-Barbe Atontinon. Though her influence expanded in the colony, the Bishop forbid her to bring any more new recruits from France. In 1698, the sisters were forced by the Bishop of Québec to accept a new constitution that required a dowry be paid by new recruits, preventing lower class women from joining, as well as to take a solemn vow of ‘stability’ (cloistering). Despite the new restrictions, Bourgeoys worked to retain a secular character within the congregation. Bourgeoys is recorded as having sacrificed/transferred her life force to a younger sister who was gravely ill in order to save her (see “Life-Force Manipulation” or “Life-Energy Transferal” used to heal and sometimes resurrect – also has implications of Immortality). As the young nun returned to health a few days later, Mother Margeurite Bourgeoys is said to have exhibited a strange glow about her body after death.

Conclusions: The remains of Margeurite Bourgeoys have a contentious history, with split possession between the parish of Ville-Marie (who possess her body) and the Congrégation de Notre-Dame (who possess her heart). Fire threatened to destroy the venerated relics in 1754, yet while the entire chapel burned, the relics are said to have been miraculously found intact among the smoldering embers. This particular relic (ID # 656-1599), being of the remains in possession of the parish of Ville-Marie, is rumoured to have healing properties associated with restoring vigour to an individual, yet at possible cost to another individual in close proximity. As a result of potential health repercussions, the relic has been effectively ‘decommissioned’. No such rumours have circulated around the healing properties of the heart.

Scientific implications of the relic specimen: Potassium Ferricyanide, in solution (dissolved, liquified) form, emits some green-yellow florescence. Potassium Ferricyanide is used scientifically as an electron transfer agent replacing an enzyme’s natural electron transfer agent. Florescence Resonant Energy Transfer (FRET) is a distance-dependent interaction between the electronic excited states of two dye molecules in which excitation is transferred from a donor molecule to an acceptor molecule without emission of a photon. The efficiency of FRET is dependent on the inverse sixth power of the intermolecular separation, making it useful over distances comparable to the dimensions of biological macromolecules. The conclusion, therefore, is that activity such as dyeing wool (without personal protective equipment (PPE), as the case may have been) facilitated the absorption of Potassium Ferricyanide into the bloodstream of Margeurite Bourgeoys. Percentage of chemical deposits on the outer layer of bone indicates a sufficient quantity such that could feasibly justify not only the possibility of the biological phenomenon of FRET (life energy transfer), but also the production of a slight yellow florescent “glow” as rigor mortis altered the chemical/liquid composition of her entire biological system. Further experimentation with K3Fe(CN)8 and energy transference in human subjects is needed to verify the above hypothesis.

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