Friday, March 7

International Women's Day

March 8, 2008 is International Women's Day. It has been celebrated since the early days of the 20th century. At that time the industrialized world went through a time of great turbulence and expansion.

By 1908, women were beginning to fight inequality and oppression. They began to campaign for change, raised their voices in protest of oppression and became very vocal about the inequlity they were subjected to on a daily basis. This same year, the streets of New York City were filled with 15,000 women marching in protest. They demanded the right to vote, a shorter work week and better wages.

On February 28, 1909, the first Woman's Day was observed in the US. Women celebrated Woman's Day on the last Sunday in February. Since those early days, International Women's Day has come to be. Today women in countries all over the world recognize and celebrate the contributions of women.

This year, International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8th. Be sure to attend an International Women's Day event if at all possible. If not, please take the time to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of a women in your life. She may be a single mother, a senior citizen or a teen. She doesn't have to be famous or have any special qualifications. She just needs to be a woman who has accomplished something in her life.

I would like to recognize a fellow Canadian woman who is little known, but who accomplished great things as a pioneer in medicine and science. Her name is Marie Henrietta Ross and she was a Canadian pioneer.

It's hard to imagine what life was like for early settlers to Canada. Early pioneer, Marie Henriette Ross faced daily challenges. In addition, she blazed a trail in the world of science in Canada, inspiring future generations to follow their dreams.

Granny Ross, as she was eventually known by fellow Nova Scotians, served as a midwife and healer over sixty years. Her name has been passed down through generations. Though information on this woman is very difficult to find, I did find out that she gave birth to eleven children. This would have made each day a challenge, just keeping their clothes clean, preparing meals and other household duties. However, Marie always found time to help her fellow man.

Marie LeJeune was born in 1762 in Rochefort, France. Her parents, Joseph LeJeune and Martine LeRoy were Acadians who had been deported to France from what is now known as Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. In 1771, they returned to Acadia. In 1778, they were once again deported to France. It was here, at the tender age of seventeen, that Marie married Joseph Comeau. He was thirty-seven years older than Marie.

Marie returned to Acadia with her husband in 1784. Later that year, Joseph drowned. At age twenty-two, Marie was a widow.

Shortly after Joseph's death, Marie followed her family to Little Bras d' Or, Nova Scotia. She married her first cousin, Bernard LeJeune dit Briard. Bernard drowned shortly after the wedding, leaving Marie a widow once more.

At the age of twenty-six, Marie met Protestant Scottish soldier, James Ross. The couple married and first settled in Little Bras d' Or. Later, they followed James' family to East Margaree River.

While living in Bras d' Or, Marie realized that she'd been blessed with the gifts of healing and midwifery. The legend of her life began there. During a small pox epidemic, she cared for friends and neighbours, both French and English. She was always ready to attend anyone in the community who needed her services. Since she had already had small pox, she was immune to the deadly disease. Marie saved many lives during the epidemic. The people she helped never forgot the dedication of this woman.

Over the years, Marie studied plants for their medicinal purposes. She spent many hours in the forest and became a knowledgeable herbalist. She traveled miles from her home to nurse the sick. She delivered hundreds of babies in her lifetime.

Marie's forest adventures and her knowledge of herbs became known far and wide. This is when the Granny Ross legend began to take shape. She dedicated her life to the study of plants, in the hope that her findings would save lives. As she advanced in age, she became blind. Still, her healing and midwifery services were much in demand.

Marie's life was one of inspiration and dedication. She thought only of others and never of herself. Her goal in life was to help mankind. Her dream was certainly realized. She died in 1860, at the age of ninety-eight.

Marie left behind a great legacy. This midwife, herbalist and healer devoted her entire life to the study of plants and the healing of those in her community of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her name holds a place in the history of that province.


  1. This was really interesting, thanks for sharing. I love you my friend.

  2. Good Morning Mary,
    "HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY" to you my friend. I enjoyed reading the History on International Women's Day. I also enjoyed reading of Henrietta as well. It's sad that her first 2 husbands drowned, but she did become a great and wonderful woman. "THANK YOU" for sharing such wonderful and interesting information with us. I know here in the United States, QVC, a shopping network, honors International Women's Day by having an all day event for it. Even tho I don't order off of there anymore, I still like to watch it sometimes. Well, we FINALLY got our BIG SNOW!!!! It started Snowing around 11:30a.m. yesterday and they let School out at 12:15p.m. My DH made it home from Memphis around 3:30p.m. Him and the girls tried making a Snowman, but the Snow was too wet for it yesterday. Maybe they will be able to make one today. I don't think we will be able to move today as we have alot of Snow out there. I'm guessing we have around 5 or 6 inches of Snow. I have a big drift in front of my door outside. I know it was still Snowing when I went to bed around 7:00p.m. last night. I have no idea what time it quit. I was going to take some pictures with my new camera yesterday, but I had to charge the batteries up on it and I wasn't able to. If we don't move today, I will take some pictures and show them tomorrow. I did put up a new post today. I am real excited about trying out my new camera. I got your email yesterday evening and I guess I just read your comment wrong. LOL. I tend to do that sometimes, but hopefully you will forgive me for not reading it right. We all make mistakes in life. Take care my friend and have a great day. May God Bless You and Yours.

    Love & Hugs,
    Karen H.

  3. What a great occasion in celebrating women's accomplishments! We don't have it here in the states but SHOULD! Thanks for sharing all the info!!

  4. Great post. Too bad we still only have one of the three original 1908 goals. Have a wonderful day. Peace

  5. Thanks for reminding us about International Womans Day! I just love reading your blog. It is always so informative and inspirational! What a true pioneer Granny Ross was! I enjoyed reading about her! Thanks!

  6. What a wonderful story of great interest once again Mary!! I have seen this "National" day for women. Didn't know about it until I got on the 'net. I knew March was Women's History Month...but not this. So, I learned something.

    Well, I've been waiting for the temps outside to reach 70 degrees before I went out with hubby and did a bit of work on the lawn. It's now 3PM and I need to convince him that the lawn needs mowing. Will go coax him into some work, then, just settle down for a long quiet evening of TV or a movie.

    Have a super Saturday evening dear friend.

  7. Happy International Woman's Day to you dear Mary:-) We sure have come a long way, haven't we?!! I'm so independent, I would have hated being treated like a lesser human being before women finally had a voice!! lol I so enjoyed reading the story of Granny Ross...truly a woman to look up to!! How odd that her first two husbands should die the same drowning! It certainly couldn't have been an easy life at all. How wonderful, though, that she was able to find her gift and act upon it. xox

  8. Hi Mary, I am on the laptop!! Karen brought it home last night and first thing it went out! But it is working now! It is so good to be back! I took the little Easter button to put on my side bar!! Thanks!! Love and Hugs Carolyn

  9. I didn't know this. Thanks for sharing the history. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  10. Enjoyed the post. Have a great rest of the weekend....Mary

  11. Happy Belated International Women’s Day! I appreciate the information (as always) because I love learning new things. I'm catching up today because Blogger gave me lots of error messages yesterday … so I let McAfee scan my computer while I read a book (after walking Molly, of course). I’m about half way finished and may let myself read again this afternoon even though Blogger seems to be working fine today.

    I hope Michelle is doing better each day and that you’re feeling stronger too. When you get the time, I’ve left some ‘bling’ at Small Reflections again on Saturday. I don’t recall if you saw my previous ‘Thank You Haiku’ a couple of weeks ago … but there’s ‘bling’ on that post too!
    Hugs and blessings,

  12. Thank you for remembering International Women's Day!

    I had never heard of Granny Ross and was very happy to read of her life. Some of these women in our pasts have gone through so much and were so strong. Thank you for putting her story out there for the rest of us to remember and share.

  13. Mary,

    Thank you for this very interesting article about International Women's Day and about Marie Henrietta Ross!
    What a remarkable woman!


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