In 1635, a fortuitous encounter between Jérôme Le Royer de la Dauversière, founder of the Filles hospitalières de Saint-Joseph de La Flèche and Jean-Jacques Olier, who founded the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in 1642, led to the creation of Société Notre-Dame de Montreal in 1641, and the acquisition of a part of the Island of Montreal. The two men wanted to build a colony there and participate in the evangelization of the Amerindian people. They set out to bring several settlers, mainly from France. On May 17, 1642, the settlers officially took possession of the Island of Montreal. Jeanne Mance and Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve were members of the colony. They would play a crucial role in the founding of Montreal.

 

Chomedey de Maisonneuve has a statue in his honor at the Place d'Armes, opposite the Basilica, inaugurated in 1895 (see picture above). Some of the aforementioned people, as well as the major stages of the founding of the City are in several paintings and stained glass windows at the Basilica.

Take part in the guided tours or The Grand Tour to find out more.

 

The Sulpician Fathers and the parish

Jean-Jacques Olier, a priest of the parish of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, devoted himself to the spiritual formation and pastoral initiation of future priests. By associating himself with the founding of the Compagnie des prêtres de Saint-Sulpice in Montreal, he brought the first four representatives to Montreal in 1657, replacing the Jesuit missionaries who had previously ministered there.

In 1663, the Sulpician Fathers acquired the lordship of the Island of Montreal by donation and administered it until 1840. With their incomes, the Sulpician Fathers participate in the maintenance of their community and the development of the infrastructures of Montreal.

It was in 1678 that the canonical institution of the parish of Notre-Dame de Montreal was created.  The superior of the Sulpician Fathers was the parish priest. The Sulpician Fathers then undertook the construction of at least six churches in the various districts of Montreal until 1865, when the parish of Notre-Dame was dismembered. New parishes were erected.

The work on Notre-Dame Church, one of the first churches in Montreal, began in 1672…

 

Read part 2: The creation of a Basilica