Devenir "missionnaire des Sauvages" : origines, formation et entrée en fonction des sujets dans les missions amérindiennes du Canada et de l'Acadie (1700-1763)

Authors: Morin, Maxime
Advisor: Dubois, Paul-André
Abstract: Following the Treaty of Ryswick, signed in 1697, the on-going rivalry between France and England for control of Atlantic colonial trade directly impacted the North- American political climate. As a result, French authorities established various policies to protect the lands they had claimed from the British until the fall of New France in 1763. One of those policies consisted in strengthening alliances with Native populations settled in the buffer zones between French and British settlements, such as Acadia and the southern part of the Laurentian Valley. As these allies formed the main military forces of the colony until the French and Indian War, the French used all means at their disposal to convince the Natives to aid their cause. In this troubled climate, the relationships between French Catholic missionaries and converted Natives had an undeniable political influence. To preserve loyalty to the Crown, a small number of missionaries were called upon to collaborate with the French administration. In the 18th century, the evangelized Natives included the Praying Indians of Canada, the Abenaki, the Maliseet, the Passamaquoddy and the Mi’kmaq of Acadia. In addition to exercising their expected ministry duties, some of the well-established missionaries also acted as diplomats, informers, interpreters, or chaplains when accompanying the Native warriors. Having analysed 25 profiles of missionaries who contributed to the French-Native relationship during this period, this doctoral thesis explores the pathway leading to a missionary vocation, beginning with its presentation in the educational context to its actual implementation in the field by young priests. It examines and explains the step-by-step process of becoming a “missionnaire des Sauvages” – as they were called in documents at the time – in Canada and Acadia between 1700 and 1763. By retracing the individual journeys of Jesuit, Recollect, or Sulpician missionaries, and also priests from the Seminary of Foreign Missions, we revisit each of the main achievements of this small group, from their origins to their first steps amongst the Natives. This comparative analysis shows that before a missionary from these communities was sent to work with Indigenous populations, candidates first had go through a long selection process, which was constantly altered by the evolving context of the missions. Although these individuals all initially followed a similar path leading them to ministry in Indian communities, their individual experiences were nonetheless unique and bear witness to the wide range of personal itineraries converging towards New France at the time. Whether born in France or in Canada, the missionaries came from various socioeconomic backgrounds. Their academic, ecclesiastical, and religious education shaped them into missionary-priests. Hand-picked during their preparatory studies, the selected individuals had to go through a transit screening process before heading to New France. Once having arrived at their destination, their introduction amongst the Natives of Canada and Acadia was overseen and supervised by their superiors. With their assignment in hand...
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2018
Open Access Date: 17 October 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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