Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Congregation of Notre Dame, 1665-1700

Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Congregation of Notre Dame, 1665-1700

Patricia Simpson
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt805vz
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  • Book Info
    Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Congregation of Notre Dame, 1665-1700
    Book Description:

    Simpson shows that the order faced great resistance from the male church hierarchy despite the fact that the pioneer society depended on the work of the Congregation. The order was particularly important in assuming the guardianship of many filles du roi - young women sent to New France under royal auspices to be married to the men of the colony. Simpson also examines the many difficulties the Congregation faced, which included natural disasters and the dangers faced in trying to reach women and children in settlements throughout New France, as far away as Acadia.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7319-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. NOTE ON TRANSLATION AND NAMES USED
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-10)

    This book takes up the life of Marguerite Bourgeoys in 1665, a watershed year in the history of Montreal and of New France. It saw the departure of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, Montreal’s founding governor and its defender during the early years of the settlement's existence, when it had stood so often on the brink of extinction; the year also saw the arrival of the Carignan-Salieres regiment, sent at last to confront the Iroquois threat to New France. The dispatching of this force to the New World reflected a new concern on the part of the royal government in...

  6. CHAPTER ONE A NEW SOCIETY TAKES SHAPE 1665–1670
    (pp. 11-28)

    In 1665 Montreal had seen what was to prove the final departure of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, its founder and first governor. He had been its defender not only against the attacks of the Iroquois but also, and from the very moment of his arrival in Canada in 1641, against the misunderstanding and, at times, hostility of officials at Quebec. In him, Marguerite Bourgeoys had lost the fellow countryman who had first persuaded her to come to Ville-Marie and then had become a close and trusted friend. Never again, under the French regime, would Montreal enjoy the kind of...

  7. CHAPTER TWO OBTAINING ROYAL APPROVAL 1670–1672
    (pp. 29-47)

    Supplied with what she describes as “many testimonials from the Seminary as well as from Quebec and Montreal,”² Marguerite Bourgeoys set off for the home country in the summer of 1670. The documents she carried expressed the approval and support of the governor, the intendant, and the colonists of Montreal and of the bishop and the parish priest. Unlike that of the 1658 voyage, the date of Marguerite’s departure from Montreal is not known. On her previous trip she did not leave Montreal until the end of September, but this time she was in Quebec possibly by mid-August.³ From the...

  8. CHAPTER THREE WHEREVER CHARITY OR NEED REQUIRED 1672–1679
    (pp. 48-71)

    Marguerite Bourgeoys had now been in Montreal for almost twenty years. In the next decade her Congregation was to enter a period of transformation. Geographically, it would expand its horizons, establishing its first permanent residences in settlements outside Ville-Marie itself. At the same time, its membership would become younger and more varied. The six new members who accompanied Marguerite on her return from France in 1672, were the last large European recruitment. In a very few years, the Congregation would begin to admit women born in North America. By the end of the 1670s the shape that the future Congregation...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR THE LAST VOYAGE TO FRANCE 1679–1680
    (pp. 72-98)

    Changing conditions now made it advisable, some would even have said urgent, for Marguerite Bourgeoys and her companions to elaborate and obtain ecclesiastical approval of a rule of life. The members of the Congregation were bound to the community by civil contract and, it would seem from references in the writings of Marguerite Bourgeoys and from the discussions that were to take place with Bishop Saint-Vallier in the 1690s, by “promises” made when they were formally received into the Congregation. If any of them made private vows, as Marguerite Bourgeoys had done in 1643, the content of these would have...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE BACK TO THE STABLE 1680–1684
    (pp. 99-113)

    Again, neither the date of Marguerite’s departure from La Rochelle in 1680 nor the date of her return to Montreal is known. However, she must have been back by 15 August, for on that day, the feast of the Assumption of Mary, Marie Barbier made her promises as a sister of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. Nor is it known how Marguerite was received by the sisters. When they saw that she brought back neither new recruits to help with their work nor reports of progress on the approval of a rule that would have given the community greater stability, when...

  11. CHAPTER SIX THE DEMANDS OF A NEW BISHOP 1684–1689
    (pp. 114-137)

    While the Congregation was dealing with the crisis provoked by the fire and with its aftermath, a new, or perhaps a very old, problem was making itself felt in New France. The return to the stable was not the only circumstance that must have reminded Marguerite’s first companions of the late 1650s and early 1660s. Since the arrival of the Carignan-Salières regiment in 1665, Montreal had been free of the constant fear of Iroquois attack, but that situation was changing. With the English established at Hudson Bay to the north and controlling the Hudson River to the south, the French,...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN THE DARK YEARS 1689–1694
    (pp. 138-165)

    In November 1689 Marguerite Bourgeoys was some five months short of her seventieth birthday. Almost fifty years had passed since that October Sunday in Troyes when she had been inspired, she said, to give herself to God. Almost thirty-seven years had gone by since her decision to accept the invitation to come to teach the children of Ville-Marie. Arriving alone with nothing but a bundle containing the bare necessities of life, she had built a self-supporting community of women who were offering religious and elementary education not only on the island of Montreal but in many other villages along the...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT THE QUESTION OF THE RULE 1694–1698
    (pp. 166-199)

    The elections of 1693, the surrendering of authority, even the disappearance of her sense of separation from God, were not the end of the struggles Marguerite Bourgeoys faced in the last decade of her life, struggles that were both internal and external. As she does not seem to have anticipated, she found the loss of power a very difficult experience. She expected, as have so many others accustomed to the exercise of authority, that though she would be relieved of its burden, her successor and the new council would consult her and follow her advice. She quickly discovered that this...

  14. CHAPTER NINE DEPARTURE IN PEACE 1698–1700
    (pp. 200-214)

    As Marguerite Bourgeoys approached her eightieth birthday and as her life ebbed away, not just a decade but a century was drawing to a close. The Treaty of Ryswick, signed on 1 October 1697, had brought the war between the European powers to an end, at least for a time. Frontenac, still governor though just two years Marguerite’s junior, saw the arrival of peace in Europe but died at the end of 1698. Like him, Marguerite would not see the first year of the new century, which would bring the Great Peace with the Native tribes. The treaty that brought...

  15. APPENDIX: REPRESENTATIONS OF MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS
    (pp. 215-234)
  16. NOTES
    (pp. 235-266)
  17. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 267-282)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 283-292)