In section: SNJM Life

Who is Jeanne Mance, co-founder of Montreal?

The lecture series “Portrait of a Woman” began its season at Maison Jésus-Marie with a presentation on the life of Jeanne Mance, co-founder of Montreal. Associate of the Congregation of the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph (RHSJ) and co-director of the Centre Jeanne-Mance, Madame Monique Lanouette Beaucage, captivated her audience by recounting the key moments in the life of this extraordinary woman. 

Recognizing that she had a missionary vocation, Jeanne Mance became part of the first French group, led by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, with the goal of setting up a colony in Montreal. Arriving in Montreal on May 17, 1642, she would provide care for the workers and aboriginal people who despite the hazardous equipment, were in charge of building the fort.

Commissioned to build a hospital, Jeanne Mance would oversee the construction of the first hospital which was inaugurated on October 8, 1645. The building soon became too small and was replaced by another in 1654. Five years later Jeanne Mance, while still maintaining her secular state, was assisted by the Religious Hospitallers. She continued to manage the hospital until her death in 1673.

Among some anecdotal facts, it was pointed out that Jeanne Mance was a Godmother 41 times for the girls of the colony. She made her last official appearance at the ceremony which brought civil and religious leaders together to lay the fifth cornerstone for Ville-Marie’s first church on 30 June 1672. She was declared Venerable in 2014.

Monique Lanouette Beaucage’s presentation drew the interest of the entire audience who did not hesitate to ask questions and to continue their discussion while light refreshments were served.

This activity, from the new program organized by the Recreation Committee of Maison Jésus-Marie, was an opportunity to highlight the 375 years of the City of Montreal. 

Photo album – Photo credits: Sister Gisèle Lalande


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