Religious life in French Newfoundland to 1714

Taylor-Hood, Victoria (1999) Religious life in French Newfoundland to 1714. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis examines the religious life of the French colony of Plaisance (Placentia) in Newfoundland during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The secular clergy who served the colony during its early years were replaced in 1689 by a group of friars from the Franciscan Récollet province of Saint-Denis (Paris). The Récollets of Saint-Denis were, in turn, replaced by Récollets from Brittany in 1701. Both groups of friars engaged in missionary work in Plaisance and the surrounding areas and often found themselves dealing with problems such as conflict with the secular authorities of the colony, a lack of religious participation by the inhabitants, insufficient or inconsistent funding, an inability to control religious passing through Plaisance aboard ships, and problems of recruitment within their own ranks. -- The religious history of French Newfoundland is examined using a multiplicity of approaches including a study of the documentary evidence surrounding the tangible forms of religious life in Plaisance, a demographic examination of the population background in Plaisance, and an examination of the religious history surrounding the French colonies. Further, the economic and social realities of a populace with close ties to the fishery and the impact of life in a military establishment impinged upon the religious and spiritual life in the communities. -- The first portion of this thesis deals with life prior to 1689, and includes a study of the migratory religious systems of the colony. Links between the fishery and the religious community are established, as are such factors as Protestantism in the North American colonies, connections between religious life and economic means, religious life elsewhere in New France, and the roles of the governors in establishing the religious atmosphere in Plaisance. -- The third through to the fifth chapters examine the establishment and development of the Récollet mission from 1689 to 1701, a significant evolution in the history of the community. The introduction of the Récollets from St.-Denis shifted the social mechanisms within the colony. In attempting to understand the vagaries of the roles played by the monks in Plaisance, an understanding of the nature of the Gallican Church from whence these monks emerged is necessary, as is a study of the political and military events which enveloped their daily lives. -- The shift of jurisdiction to the Récollets of Brittany in 1701 is discussed in chapter six, with emphasis on dynamics between the two provinces of Franciscans and the distinctive ways in which the respective groups of friars made their niches. The Récollets from Brittany appear to have had a more numerous presence in the community and seem to have been of a similar social background to the inhabitants of Plaisance. -- This history of religion in French Newfoundland ends with the movement of the community of Plaisance to Ile Royale (Cape Breton) in 1714. The Récollets of Britanny were instrumental in assisting the secular authorities and the colonists with both the journey and the reestablishment of the colony in what was later to be known as Louisbourg. An understanding of the religious life of the French during their formative years in Newfoundland yields a more fruitful insight into the religious histories of Newfoundland, Ile Royale and New France.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9696
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 329-339.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Religious Studies
Date: August 1999
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--Placentia
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Catholic Church--Newfoundland and Labrador--Placentia; French--Newfoundland and Labrador--Placentia; Placentia (N.L.)--History; Placentia (N.L.)--Religious life and customs

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