A researcher from Laval University will try to model the face of the founder of the Ursulines of New France, Mary of the Incarnation, using a funeral mask that could be that of the nun.
It is by using modern technology that a researcher from Laval University will try to unravel the mystery surrounding a funeral mask that would have covered the face of Mary of the Incarnation after her death in 1672. It was found in an attic of the Ursuline Monastery about 50 years ago.
"We will scan the mask and we will highlight a first image. Then we will do a digital reconstruction, "said professor at the Department of Theology of Laval University, Philippe Roy-Lysencourt.
The data from the imagery will be sent to a French center specializing in facial reconstruction. This center has already managed to recreate images of several famous people, including King Henry IV and Mary Magdalene.
This opportunity represents a lot for the Ursulines, who could have the chance to contemplate the face of the founder of their order in Quebec. There are currently only two images that are believed to have been made from the true face of Mary of the Incarnation. The other representations of the nun are based on the imagination of the artists.
"There is a lot of mystery about its physical appearance, we do not know much. It has been said somewhere in writings that it was great, but that's about it, "said Lise Monroe, head of the Marie-de-l'Incarnation Center.
In the event that the funeral mask actually belonged to the nun, her face could be unveiled next January.
Born in Tours, France, in 1599, Mary of the Incarnation entered the monastery of the Ursulines in 1631. From there, she embarked for New France in 1639, where she became the first mother of the order ursulines from the colony.
She died in 1672. She was canonized by Pope Francis in April 2014, 375 years after arriving in Canada.