Marguerite Bourgeoys and Montreal, 1640-1665

Marguerite Bourgeoys and Montreal, 1640-1665

Patricia Simpson
Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Marguerite Bourgeoys and Montreal, 1640-1665
    Book Description:

    Born and raised in Troyes, France, in 1653 Marguerite Bourgeoys came as a new recruit to de Maisonneuve's tiny and beleaguered settlement of Ville-Marie, founded in 1642 as a Christian missionary society. These early years in New France marked a special period in her life. Firmly committed to the belief that the world would be a better place if people learned to understand one another, she worked to build a better church and a better society, especially for women and children.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6657-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Note on Translation and Names Used
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Illustrations
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-11)

    When Marguerite Bourgeoys died in Montreal on 12 January 1700, the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, which she had founded, commissioned the artist Pierre Le Ber to paint a likeness of her features before they disappeared forever.¹ The painting he executed that day, saved from the fires that were twice to destroy the mother house, was preserved as a treasure by the Congregation. In the middle of the twentieth century, however, concern was raised about the authenticity of the image displayed as the Le Ber portrait. The painting was submitted to Edward Korany, a distinguished art restorer in New...

  7. CHAPTER ONE Beginnings, 1620-1640
    (pp. 12-33)

    Marguerite Bourgeoys wrote these words in 1697, at the age of seventy-seven. She was reaching the end of a long life that had seen her cross the Atlantic Ocean seven times, participate in the beginnings of what would one day be the most important city in Canada, and found one of the first uncloistered religious communities for women in the Roman Catholic Church, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal. Her words describe what she regarded as the transforming experience in which that congregation had its origin. Unlike some of her illustrious contemporaries, Marguerite was always extremely reticent about describing her...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Searching for the Way, 1640-1653
    (pp. 34-65)

    Even at the age of twenty, Marguerite Bourgeoys was a woman for whom inspiration flowed immediately into action; in the aftermath of her conversion, she at once sought and found a concrete form in which she might begin to make the gift of self. Describing the action that she took in response to her conversion, she wrote many years later: “I made my confession to Abbé Desguerrois, the grand penitentiary, and entered the Congregation.”² Membership in the congregation to which Marguerite refers here was to play a role of incalculable importance in her life. It figures even in the brief...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Montreal: Origins to 1653
    (pp. 66-98)

    In leaving Troyes for Montreal, Marguerite was departing from a region where the legends were already old for a place where they had just begun to be created. Montreal, though a city of relatively recent foundation, has this in common with some of the most ancient cities of the world: its origins are the subject of heroic legend. Like Aeneas setting off with the household gods of Troy to establish a new city, the founders of Montreal faced long and dangerous journeys and difficulties and perils without number. However, unlike tales about the founding of cities in the ancient world,...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR The Fort and the Stable, 1653-1658
    (pp. 99-129)

    De Maisonneuve’s acceptance of Marguerite Bourgeoys as schoolmistress at Ville-Marie had been ratified at a plenary session of the Societe de Notre-Dame de Montreal in 1653 before her departure from France.² The establishment of a school as well as a hospital at Montreal had been among the original intentions of the society.³ But it was to be many years before she could fulfil the role of schoolmistress in the tiny colony, for reasons that the previous chapter has made obvious. How then was she to occupy her first five years in Canada? She began as she was to continue throughout...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Towards a Community, 1658-1659
    (pp. 130-152)

    The ship carrying Jeanne Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys took two months to reach France. All that is known of the voyage is contained in a single reference in Marguerite’s surviving writings. Because the two women had left their departure to the end of the season, all others returning to the homeland had left ahead of them (which meant that various versions of events in New France were in circulation before their arrival). There was no priest on the ship; in fact, with the exception of the two women and five or six men, it carried only Huguenots, who sang their...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Planting the Seed, 1659-1665
    (pp. 153-186)

    The six years between the arrival of theSaint-Andréin the autumn of 1659 and de Maisonneuve’s last departure from Canada in the autumn of 1665 were ones of irony and contradiction in the history of Montreal and in the life of Marguerite Bourgeoys. They were years of extreme danger and hardship, yet in her later life she was to bring them to mind again and again as representing better and happier days in her Congregation, when life had been shared with the ordinary people of Montreal with an intimacy and a generosity lost in a more secure and prosperous...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 187-226)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 227-238)
  15. Index
    (pp. 239-247)