Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Marguerite Blanche Thibodeau Cyr (1735-1810) was an Acadian heroin who saved her village in
(photograph from the website www.francoiseparadis.com)
As a matter of fact, Cyr’s personal astute judgment and heroism will be portrayed in a film currently in production titled, “Acadians of the
In particular, Cyr is revered for her rescue efforts in the Madawaska region, when a deadly winter storm nearly caused her community to starve to death in a famine known as misère noire.
During her response to the winter disaster, Cyr became widely loved as “Tante Blanche”. Her valiant winter rescue efforts notwithstanding, Tante Blanche continues to be a metaphor for the energetic resilience of the Acadian people, who were victims of another terrible historic incident in 1755, known as “le Grand Derangement”.
Indeed, Tante Blanche was with her family during le misère noire because of le Grand Derangement. Tante Blanche’s family members were among the Acadian who were brutally displaced from
Indeed, many victims of le Grand Derangement were Cyr’s relatives.
Compounding the 1755 tragedy, many Acadians were again displaced, when they tried to find their way back to reclaim their confiscated lands. Some of the refugees settled in
Francoise Paradis is a native of
Don Levesque is on the Board of the Congres Mondial. He says Tante Blanch embodied the spirit of sharing and community that seems to be inherent in Acadians and Franco-Americans. “I believe she is revered and honored because she went above and beyond caring for her family and immediate neighbors. She cared for the entire community,” he says.
When news about Tante Blanche’s brave and charitable deeds became known, her reputation grew as a healer and comforter. “She was a heroine who continues to be a legend,” writes Paradis. Tante Blanche died on Marcy 29, 1810, at 72 years old.
In the film, “Acadians of the
The Madawaska Historical Society in 1972, named its long cabin museum in her memory, “
Crown of Maine Productions Inc. link is http://www.crownofmaineproductions.com/index.html
“Tante Blanche: Savior of Her People”, by Francoise Paradis, is at this link http://www.francoiseparadis.com/documents/tante-blanche.pdfTweet
Juliana L’Heureux is a freelance writer whose articles about Maine’s Franco-American history and culture have appeared in Portland newspapers for 25 years. She serves on the Maine Franco-American Leadership Council.
Juliana and her husband Richard live in Topsham ME. Feel free to contact her at Juliana@mainewriter.com.