A.J.B. Johnston establishes the secular and religious contexts of life at Louisbourg and traces the mixed fortunes of three religious groups: the Récollets of Brittany, who acted as parish priests and chaplains; the Brothers of Charity of Saint John of God, who operated the King's Hospital; and the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame, who ran the local school for girls. Drawing on the extensive material in the Archives of the Fortress of Louisbourg, Johnston notes the groups' remarkable persistence in the face of personnel shortages, financial burdens, and conflicts with secular authorities and rival religious bodies. Not the least of their problems was the profound parsimony of the Louisbourgeois who declined to build a parish church or pay a compulsory tithe. Yet despite this independent stance, the author demonstrates, religion was at the centre of family and community life. Life and Religion at Louisbourg contributes substantially to the social as well as the religious history of New France.
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