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.