She was born on May 12, 1840, at L’Acadie, near Saint-John, Quebec, and baptized under the name of Alodie Virginie, but called Élodie by her family. She was the only daughter, and the third in a family of six of which only four survived.

Her parents, Joseph Paradis and Émilie Grégoire, worked hard to earn their living in a rural setting. She inherited the kindness and gentleness of the one as well as the firmness and charity of the other. At nine years of age, she became a boarder at the school directed by the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame, at Laprairie.