In 1694, Letters Patent had been sent from the King of France authorizing the foundation of a men’s religious community to which the people of Montreal gave the name “Charon Brothers” because its founder was François Charon. In the same year, the General Hospital, which had been built outside the city walls at Pointe à Callières on land donated by the Sulpicians to the Charon Brothers, welcomed its first residents. It was a place of refuge for orphans, old men, the crippled, and other needy men.
This charitable work was not able to survive the death of its founder; and in 1747, the administration of the General Hospital was placed in the hands of the Widow d’Youville’s community.
The challenge was great. The institution was bankrupt, and the building was in a deplorable condition. Among other things, it was lacking 1226 window panes. Marguerite was exhausted. There had been the fire, and the moves, and it was feared that she would not live. She had to be taken to the General Hospital on 7 October in a little cart because she was too weak to walk.