Opened 1966. Architect: Victor Prus. Artworks: vertical bands by Charles Daudelin and mural by Les Industries perdues.
The Time and Place
Summer 1535 – Hochelaga – Jacques Cartier visits the Huron village of Hochelaga and names the mountain nearby “Mont-Royal”
[In] the middle of these fields is situated and stands the village of Hochelaga, near and adjacent to a mountain, the slopes of which are fertile and are cultivated, and from the top of which one can see a long distance. We named this mountain “Mont Royal”. The village is circular and is completely enclosed by a wooden palisade in three tiers like a pyramid. The top one is built crosswise, the middle one perpendicular, and the lowest one strips of wood placed lengthwise. The whole is well joined and lashed after their manner, and is some two lances in height. There is only one gate and entrance to this village, and that can be barred up. Over this gate and in many places about the enclosure are species of galleries with ladders for mounting to them, which galleries are provided with rocks and stones for the defence and protection of the place. There are some fifty houses in this village and each about fifty or more paces in length, and twelve or fifteen in width, and built completely of wood and covered in and bordered up with large pieces of the bark and rind of trees, as broad as a table, which well and cunningly lashed after their manner. And inside these houses are many rooms and chambers, and in the middle is a large space without a floor, where they light their fire and live together in common. Afterwards the men retire to the above-mentioned quarters with their wives and children. And, furthermore, there are lofts in the upper part of their houses, where they store the corn of which they make their bread. (The Voyages of Jacques Cartier, ed. Ramsay Cook (Toronto: UTP, 1993)
1635 – Notre-Dame, Paris Jérôme le Royer de la Dauversière receives his second vision
Jérôme le Royer de la Dauversière receives his second vision. This one from the Holy Family, convinces him to establish a missionary colony at Mont-Royal to convert and civilize the people in New France. Not knowing how to proceed, he seeks the guidance of Father François Cheauveau, also in Paris. After a wait of three years Cheauveau confirms the providential mandate and, making up for lost time, urges the tax collector, “Allez, Monsieur, allez en Canada. Dieu le veut!” (Marie-Claire Daveluy, La Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal, 1639-1663 (Montréal: Fides, 1965), 20.
1640 – Langres, France – Jeanne Mance learns of opportunities in New France
In April 1640 Nicolas Dolebeau, chaplain at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and preceptor to Richelieu, visiting his parents in Langres, the town his uncle founded in 1602, sees his cousin, Jeanne Mance. At thirty-eight, Jeanne, who grew up with the town itself, receiving her education at the Ursuline convent in Lingon, has spent eighteen years looking after the education of her younger brothers and sisters (the family has eleven children all told) and seen life in a border town during the Thirty Years’ War probably as a nurse, is probably looking either for rest or a challenge. She takes the latter course a few months after her cousin had tells her of the hospital, the Duchesse d’Aiguillon, Richelieu’s aunt, established in New France and the Ursuline convent established in Quebec by Madame de la Peltrie, goes to Paris to find Father Lalement, lately returned from New France. (“Jeanne Mance“, DCB)
1641 – La Rochelle – Jeanne Mance and Paul Chomedy de Maisonneuve embark for Québec with Madame de la Pelterie
Mance meets de la Dauversière. For his part he persuades her to enter the Société de Notre-Dame de Montreal as a household manager and nurse. For hers, she persuades him to extend the membership of the Société and write a plan for the Montreal Company. In the meantime, she awaits the details of her voyage led by de Maisonneuve, a man we may presume she had only just met. They set sail in the spring of 1642, arriving at Quebec in August. Such was the excitement of their project that Madame de la Pelterie decides to travel with them to found her second Ursuline convent in New France.(“Jeanne Mance“, DCB)
1641 – Quebec – arrival of the Montreal party with Madame de la Pelterie in September to the evident distress of Marie de l’Incarnation
… it is people who have come in the past year to establish an inhabitation at Mont-Royal [who have delayed our progress building a church.]. They are a gentleman and a young woman who were not long arrived before she [Madame de la Pelterie] retired with them. She took back her furniture and many other things that had served the church and seminary which she had give to us. We let them go without any repugnance, but to speak my heart, in giving them I felt a great joy in myself imaging that our good Lord treated me like Saint Francis when his father abandoned him and he gave up even his clothes. I heartily unburden myself and leave the seminary in very great poverty … To say that our good foundress has erred, I cannot, and do as God does, as on the one hand, I see that she hasn’t the means to help us, being separated from us, and her good will was not sufficient to maintain the voyages she makes. Besides as she returned to the world it is right that she be accommodated according to her quality. After all, we nothing to complain about if she reclaims her furniture, and finally she has such piety and fear of God that I cannot doubt that her intentions are good and holy. But this is what sensibly afflicts me: it is that at her establishment at Montreal, she is in obvious danger of her life because of the attacks of the Iroquois and that there are no Savages [Hurons, allied to the French against the Iroquois] there. And this is what touches me most, she stays there against the advice of the Reverend Fathers and Monsieur le Gouvernour who have done all they can to make her come back … This great change has put our affairs in a very bad state. (Marie de l’Incarnation, Correspondence, To Mademoiselle de Luyens, 29 September 1642.)
1642 – Ville-Marie, now Montreal – Paul Chomedy de Maisonneuve founds the settlement
On the seventeenth of May of the present year, 1642, Monsieur the Governor placed the sieur de Maison-neufve in possession of the Island, in the name of the Gentlemen of Mont-real, in order to commence the first buildings thereon. Reverend Father Vimont had the Veni Creator chanted, said Holy Mass, and exposed the Blessed Sacrament, to obtain from Heaven a happy beginning for the undertaking. Immediately afterwards, the men were set to work, and a redout was made of strong palisades for protection against enemies. (Jesuit Relations, cited in”Paul Chomedy de Maisonneuve”, DCB)
1642 – Montreal – Jeanne Mance founds the Hotel-Dieu in the autumn.
“The founding of the Hôtel-Dieu at Montreal took place in the autumn of the same year. Here again it is a text of the Relations that fixes the date: “Of all the Savages, there remained with us [in the spring of 1643] but one, Pachirini. . . . he had always wished to live with us, together with two other patients, in the little Hospital which we had erected there [in the fort] for the wounded.” The construction of the hospital proper, however, took place only in 1645.” (“Jeanne Mance“, DCB)