MSS-043-The Role of Religion in New France (Hélène’s World-Part 3)

Episode 043-February 2, 2016


Susan McNelley, author of Hélène’s World: Hélène Desportes of Seventeenth-Century Quebec and our guest in episodes 20 and 33, rejoins us to explore the theme of religion in New France. She’ll explain that the role of the religious went far beyond tending to the souls of our ancestors.

French-Canadian News

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The American-French Genealogical Society

The AFGS has a class coming up on Saturday, February 20, at 9 AM. Patty Locke will present ‘The Resources to Use When Researching Native American and Metis Ancestors.’ Classes take place at the AFGS library in Woonsocket, RI.

The Franco-American Centre, Manchester, New Hampshire

  • February 2, 2016, at 7:00 PM, at the Dana Center Lecture Room, the Franco-American Centre of Manchester will present information on their upcoming Quebec Heritage and Culture Trip in July to Trois-Rivières, Montreal, and Québec. If you can’t make the meeting, information and the itinerary are on their website.
  • February 6, 2016, from 1-3 PM, at the Currier Museum in Manchester, NH- Another French Adventure will take place at the Currier Museum in Manchester, NH. Click here for details.
  • February 9, 2016, 6-10 PM, come celebrate Mardi Gras. Details are in the works, so check back for more info.
  • February 18, 2016, from 7:30-9:00 PM, at the Dana Center in Manchester, come listen to Ten Strings and a Goatskin. They will perform a blend of Irish, French and original creations.

The Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society

Classes at the library in Colchester, VT

  • February 6, 2016- Sheila Morris will conduct a “Beginning Genealogy” class.
  • February 13, 2016- Ed McGuire will present “DNA Tests: How They Work.”

The Role of Religion in New France (Hélène’s World-Part 3)

Today’s episode covers the theme of Religion in New France. The religious culture was pervasive in our ancestor’s lives, providing support to the new colony in a variety of areas.

Here are the topics we discussed:

  • The religious wars of 16th-century France and how they affected France and the colonists who came to the New World
  • The first religious groups which came to Québec – the Recollets and the Jesuits
  • The treatment of the Huguenots in Québec
  • Cardinal Richelieu’s role in the development of the colony
  • Marie de l’Incarnation and the role of the Ursulines
  • The arrival of the Augustinian nuns and their role in the colony
  • Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, Jeanne Mance, and their religious community in Montréal
  • The impact of the religious institutions on the economic development of the colony
  • Bishop Laval’s arrival and his impact on the colony
  • Religious influence on the culture, traditions, and daily life of Hélène and the other colonists



Records of abjuration-Available from the PRDH database. In the record below, you can see in the narrative that Pierre gave up “the heresy of Calvinism.” (For information on the PRDH, see episode #26.)




Sick lists-Available from the PRDH database. Below are the first five people from a list of thirty-two who were patients at the Hotel-Dieu de Québec on June 1, 1689.

Sick list-1689-06-01

From PRDH,


Sick lists, or the Registre des Malades-These are located at the Family History Library in two forms:

  • A CD-Rom covering the years 1689-1730
  • Seven rolls of microfilm covering the years 1689-1876


The original sick lists-Located in the archives at the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec in Québec City, you must make an appointment to view these. Contact information is on this Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec web page. The page is in French, but if you scroll down, you’ll recognize the address, and under that is the name and phone number of the contact person.

  • Gabriel Sagard’s L’histoire du Canada-The Kindle edition of the French Edition of this book is available free on
  • First Establishment of the Faith in New France by Father Christian Le Clercq-This is available in paperback or Kindle editions
  • From Mother to Son: The Selected Letters of Marie de l’Incarnation to Claude Martin by Mary Dunn
  • Word From New France: the Selected Letters of Marie de l’Incarnation edited by Joyce Marshall

Susan and Hélène’s World

Survey 42

Only one suggestion came in from this survey, so I decided to make that the topic of the next survey. I received the following suggestion: I think the announcements should be shorter and just basic material. You could list them in the show notes and direct your listeners to them but not talk so much about them.

Survey 43

So that leads to our next survey question. Regarding the announcements that I make at the beginning of every episode about upcoming meetings of various French-Canadian genealogy or cultural societies, would you rather I: 1) leave the announcements the way they are, 2) shorten the announcements as this person suggests, 3) eliminate the announcements altogether, or 4) move the announcements as they are to the end of the podcast? I’d really like to know how the majority of listeners feel about this, so if you have a few seconds, please head over and let your opinion be known.

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11 comments on “MSS-043-The Role of Religion in New France (Hélène’s World-Part 3)

  1. Suzanne Boivin Sommerville

    Hospital sick lists are available. I have made extensive use of the Family History microfilms on permanent loan, especially regarding the soldiers who were hospitalized after their long sea voyages coming to New France. And some have been digitized, but not all are currently available as they once were on FamilySearch. I have many printouts that I have used in my articles.

    See also
    Gail Moreau-DesHarnais’ Series of Articles Transcribing and Translating the Confirmation Records in the St. Lawrence Settlements:

  2. Suzanne Boivin Sommerville

    Yes, Sandra, this is what I have read, but thanks for asking. Trying to locate an article I read long ago by François Rousseau, I discovered his more recent 1983 book on Our Roots, Nos Racines on the web:
    L’ oeuvre de chère en Nouvelle-France
    le régime des malades à Hôtel-Dieu de Québec
    I will be merrily reading it as time permits. If you would like to see one of my articles that uses and describes the registers of Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, see my _Estienne “sando dit major” at Hôtel-Dieu, the Hospital in Québec City_

    1. Sandra Goodwin

      Thanks, Suzanne. I’ve added to my reading list. Now if only I could find time to dig into that list!

  3. Susan McNelley

    Hi, Sandra
    Thank YOU for giving me an opportunity to talk about another theme in my research for Hélène’s World!
    The comments from Suzanne Boivin Sommerville are also greatly appreciated. I have read a number of her articles; they are always thoroughly researched and well written.
    With respect to survey question #43, my vote is for (2) shorten the announcements at the beginning and refer people to more information on the topic in the shownotes.

  4. William Couture

    Great episode of Helene’s World. Please keep them coming. Helene Desportes is my 11th great-grandmother.

    William Couture

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