Jeanne MANCE
1606 - 1673
Foundress of the Hôtel-Dieu in Montréal


Jeanne MANCE was born on 12 Nov 1606 at Langres, of a noble bourgeois family, Charles MANCE & Catherine EMONNOT. She was orphaned at age 20 and supervised the education of her brothers and sisters. Pious, devout and generous, she was touched by the accounts of her cousin Nicolas DOLEBEAU, a priest and teacher, who told her about the departure of the Hospitalies and Ursulines for service among the native Canadians. She was filled with the desire to go there also, to work at their evangelization. During a visit to Paris, she met Angélique Faure who suggested that she should found a Hôtel-Dieu in New France for this purpose. She prepared to set out to New France in 1641, along with De Maisonneuve. A reputation of holiness accompanied her. After a winter of preparation at Québec, Ville-Marie began on 17 May 1642. Jeanne had the use of a bark-covered dispensary constructed at the establishment, and as early as the following year began to care for those who were wounded in the Iroquois war. One of these was Charles PACHIRINI, whom Jeanne would serve as sponsor at his baptism on 2 April 1643. The Hôtel-Dieu in Montréal was built in September 1645. She made frequent trips back to France in the service of Montréal. She brought over the first Hospitaliers in 1659. Jeanne was buried on 19 June 1673 in Montréal, at the age of 66. (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)

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(1) Biographical Dictionary for The Jesuit Missions in Acadia and New France: 1602-1654, Lucien Campeau, S.J., translated by William Lonc, S.J. & George Topp, S.J., summer 2001, p. 277.
(2) PRDH, Certificat de famille No. 28.
(3) Ibid., Certificat d'individu No. 104785.
(4) Ibid., Certificat de sépulture No. 48972.
(5) Ibid., Certificat de baptême No. 39356.