In 1645, the population of New France was catholic and had a number nuns and monks. But religious communities were still scarce at the time. The largest of these communities was the Jesuits, who had been established in the colony since 1625.

The Jesuits

Jesuits could be found in Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montréal, as well as among some Indigenous Nations. They created missions to convert Indigenous people to Catholicism. The Jesuits were particularly active among the Wendats (Hurons). From 1632 to 1672, they published annual accounts of their work in the colony, entitled Relations. In addition to their missionary work, they founded a college for boys in the town of Québec in 1635.

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The Ursulines and Hospitallers

Two religious communities of women were also present in the colony in 1645: the Ursulines and the Hospitalières de la Miséricorde de Jésus (Hospitallers of the Mercy of Jesus). They arrived in the town of Québec in the same boat in 1639. The Ursulines taught the French and Indigenous populations, while the Hospitallers ran the Hôtel Dieu hospital in Québec.

In later years, other communities such as the Sulpicians and the Recollects would arrive or return to New France.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

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