IRWIN (Kirwin, Herovin, Hirouin), MARIE, dite de la Conception, Hospitaller; b. 1626 in Scotland; d. 14 Nov. 1687 at Quebec.
The records of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec mention the arrival in Canada in 1642 of a young Scottish girl whose family was related to Mary Queen of Scots. She is described as the “daughter of a Scottish nobleman who had sought refuge in France with his whole family to keep his religion.” She was sent by the nursing order of Dieppe, for she desired to take her religious vows in Quebec and she remained as a boarder at the Hôtel-Dieu from 1642 until about 1643. At this time she returned to Dieppe and entered the convent of the nursing sisters. In 1657 Marie Irwin returned to New France, this time as a nun. She entered the Hôtel-Dieu, in accordance with her own desire, where she was known as Mère Marie de la Conception.
Mère Marie de la Conception is described in the Annales as possessing “all the virtues, simple obedience, respectful deference for her superiors, unchanging sweetness, surprising patience and equilibrium, and to complete our praise in a few words, she possessed a deep humility, never judging herself capable of doing anything, nevertheless succeeding in everything. . . .” Mère Marie fell dangerously ill on 6 Nov. 1687 and died eight days later.