TIBIERGE, MARIE-CATHERINE, dite de Saint-Joachim, Hospitaller, superior of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec; b. 28 Feb. 1681 at Saint-François, Île d’Orléans, daughter of Hippolyte Tibierge, a merchant, and Renée Hervé (Hervet); d. 27 Nov. 1757 at the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec.
We know nothing about Marie-Catherine Tibierge’s education. She entered the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec on 7 May 1695, at 14 years of age, and made her profession on 2 March 1697 under the name of Saint-Joachim. In October of that year her sister, Angélique de Sainte-Agnès, who had joined her in the community the previous year, died of purpura, which she had caught while caring for passengers from the Gironde who had been stricken with the malady. Mother Saint-Joachim was elected Hospitaller (general directress of the hospital) in 1713, and the following year was again entrusted with the position.
In 1726 Mother Saint-Joachim was elected superior of the Hôtel-Dieu. She must have had the necessary qualifications for this important function, since she was re-elected regularly until her death and held the office as long as the regulations permitted. These allowed a superior’s term of office to be prolonged for a second three-year period, after which an interval of three years was required before the holder would again be eligible for election. In 1732, when her second three-year term was completed, Mother Saint-Joachim was replaced by Marie-Andrée Regnard Duplessis, dite de Sainte-Hélène, who was superior until 1738. Mother Saint-Joachim then assumed the office again and occupied it until 1744.
It was during this second period that two events which were memorable for the community took place. First, in 1739 the centenary of the arrival of the Nuns Hospitallers on Canadian soil was celebrated [see Marie Guenet*, dite de Saint-Ignace]. The festivities, which started on 1 August, were resumed on 18 August and lasted four days in all. During the forty hours’ devotion, which began at 4:00 a.m. on 18 August and went on for two days, the inhabitants of Quebec were able to satisfy their thirst for devotion and give the sisters evidence of their attachment by attending in large numbers the religious services which followed one another almost without interruption: masses, vespers, benediction of the Holy Sacrament, sermons by the Jesuits, nothing was lacking. The second noteworthy event was the special ceremony in 1744 by which Bishop Pontbriand [Dubreil] of Quebec handed over to the community a crucifix which a soldier of the garrison of Montreal, François-Charles Havard de Beaufort, known as L’Avocat, had profaned during an alleged séance of sorcery. The crucifix, which is still at the Hôtel-Dieu, became the object of special veneration.
Mother Saint-Joachim again held the office of superior for six years from 1750 to 1756. Her last three-year term of office was saddened by the disastrous fire which entirely consumed the hospital. Scarcely anything could be saved, and the archives were almost completely destroyed. Later it was discovered that the fire had been set in the roof by two sailors who were displeased with the Mother Hospitaller.
On 27 Nov. 1757 Mother Saint-Joachim died “after an illness of two months’ duration, contracted while waiting upon the sick.” In addition to having been superior and Hospitaller, she had been assistant superior and the sister in charge of the dispensary, although at what period cannot be determined.
AHDQ, T 21, 500; Registre des entrées, 7 mai 1695. Juchereau, Annales (Jamet). Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Casgrain, Histoire de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Québec.