The Jesuit Missions : A chronicle of the cross in the wilderness eBook

Thomas Guthrie Marquis
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 100 pages of information about The Jesuit Missions .

Not in vain did the Jesuits labour among the Five Nations.  They made numerous converts, and persuaded many of them to move to Canada.  Communities of Christian Iroquois and Hurons who had been adopted by the Five Nations settled near the Bay of Quinte, at La Montagne on the island of Montreal, and at Caughnawaga by the rapids of Lachine.  The large settlements of ‘praying Indians’ still living at Caughnawaga and at St Regis, near Cornwall, are descendants of these Indians.



While the Jesuits carried the Cross to the Hurons, the Algonquins, and the Iroquois, other crusaders, equally noble and courageous, planted it on the spot where now stands the foremost city of the Dominion.  The settlement of the large and fertile island at the confluence of the Ottawa and the St Lawrence had a motive all its own.  Quebec was founded primarily for trade; and so with practically all other settlements which have grown into great centres of population.  But Montreal was originally intended solely for a mission station.  Its founders had no thought of trade; indeed, they were prohibited from dealing in furs, then the chief marketable product of the colony.

We have seen that the men and women who founded the Sillery mission, and the Hotel-Dieu and the Ursuline convent at Quebec, received their inspiration from the Relations of the Jesuits.  So likewise did the founders of the settlement on the island of Montreal.  Jerome le Royer de la Dauversiere of La Fleche in Anjou, a receiver of taxes, and Abbe Jean Jacques Olier of Paris, were the prime movers in the undertaking.  Each independently of the other had conceived the idea of establishing on the island of Hochelaga a mission for the conversion of the heathen in Canada.  Meeting by accident at the Chateau of Meudon near Paris, they planned their enterprise, and decided to found a colony of devotees, composed of an order of priests, an order of sisters to care for the sick and infirm, and an order of nuns for the teaching of young Indians and the children of settlers at the mission.  These two enthusiasts went to work in a quite practical way to realize their ambition.  They succeeded in interesting the Baron de Fancamp and three other wealthy gentlemen, and soon had a sum—­about $75,000—­ ample for the establishment of the colony.  While they were busy at this work, Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance, a courageous and devout woman, was moved by one of Father Le Jeune’s Relations to devote her life to the care of the wounded and suffering in the wilds of New France; and the projected colony on the island of Montreal offered an opportunity for the fulfilment of her desire.  Madame de Bullion, a rich and very charitable woman, had agreed to aid Olier and Dauversiere by endowing a hospital in the colony, and Jeanne Mance offered her services as nurse and housekeeper.  A leader was needed, a man of soldierly training and pious

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The Jesuit Missions : A chronicle of the cross in the wilderness from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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