Marie-Marguerite d’Youville was the widow to a bootlegger who sold liquor illegally to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and, in the 18th century, kept more slaves than most anyone in Montreal. Unlike her husband, she was a prolific donator to the poor. Marie-Marguerite founded the Gray Nuns, officially known as the Order of Sisters of Charity of Montreal. One of her greatest miracles appears to be, in fact, giving life.
In the 1980s, a leading hematologist and avowed atheist conducted tests on the bone marrow of a sick woman who had prayed to Marie-Marguerite for help. Presence of little red rods inside the woman’s cells, as show below, confirmed that she had been living for 40 years with acute myelogenous leukemia, a fatal disease that, even when treated, has a median survival rate of only 18 months. The doctor concluded that her being alive was unexplainable by science.
With this research as evidence, the Vatican granted Marie-Marguerite the status of the first native-born Canadian saint in 1990. “That mystery woman is still alive and I still cannot explain why,” the doctor wrote in 2016. “Along with the Vatican, she calls it a miracle. Why should my inability to offer an explanation trump her belief?”