The Makers of Canada: Bishop Laval eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 233 pages of information about The Makers of Canada.
as to martyrdom, for your affection for me would incline you to desire it for me, but I mean as to other outrages.  I see no reason for apprehension; all that I hear does not dismay me.’  When she was cast out upon the snow, together with her sisters, in the middle of a winter’s night, by reason of a conflagration which devoured her convent, her first act was to prevail upon her companions to kneel with her to thank God for having preserved their lives, though He despoiled them of all that they possessed in the world.  Her strong and noble soul seemed to rise naturally above the misfortunes which assailed the growing colony.  Trusting fully to God through the most violent storms, she continued to busy herself calmly with her work, as if nothing in the world had been able to move her.  At a moment when many feared that the French would be forced to leave the country, Mother of the Incarnation, in spite of her advanced age, began to study the language of the Hurons in order to make herself useful to the young girls of this tribe.  Ever tranquil, she did not allow herself to be carried away by enthusiasm or stayed by fear.  ’We imagine sometimes,’ she wrote to her former superior at Tours, ’that a certain passing inclination is a vocation; no, events show the contrary.  In our momentary enthusiasms we think more of ourselves than of the object we face, and so we see that when this enthusiasm is once past, our tendencies and inclinations remain on the ordinary plane of life.’  Built on such a foundation, her piety was solid, sincere and truly enlightened.  In perusing her writings, we are astonished at finding in them a clearness of thought, a correctness of style, and a firmness of judgment which give us a lofty idea of this really superior woman.  Clever in handling the brush as well as the pen, capable of directing the work of building as well as domestic labour, she combined, according to the opinion of her contemporaries, all the qualities of the strong woman of whom the Holy Scriptures give us so fine a portrait.  She was entrusted with all the business of the convent.  She wrote a prodigious number of letters, she learned the two mother tongues of the country, the Algonquin and the Huron, and composed for the use of her sisters, a sacred history in Algonquin, a catechism in Huron, an Iroquois catechism and dictionary, and a dictionary, catechism and collection of prayers in the Algonquin language.”



The smaller seminary, founded by the Bishop of Petraea in 1668, for youths destined to the ecclesiastical life, justified the expectations of its founder, and witnessed an ever increasing influx of students.  On the day of its inauguration, October 9th, there were only as yet eight French pupils and six Huron children.  For lack of teachers the young neophytes, placed under the guidance of directors connected with the seminary, attended during the first years the classes of the Jesuit Fathers.  Their special costume was a blue cloak, confined by a belt.  At this period the College of the Jesuits contained already some sixty resident scholars, and what proves to us that serious studies were here pursued is that several scholars are quoted in the memoirs as having successfully defended in the presence of the highest authorities of the colony theses on physics and philosophy.

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The Makers of Canada: Bishop Laval from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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