By Timothy G. Pearson
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Additional resources for Becoming Holy in Early Canada
Sadly, such works from New France are rare – limited to just two examples, this one and a life of the hospital nun Catherine de Saint-Augustin, discussed in chapter five. 43 The faith community of New France, as we shall see, also had their own ways of engaging with these holy women without the mediation of texts that were not, at any rate, written for them. Although formal holy biographies from New France are rare, hagiographic discourses nevertheless survive in significant volume in other forms.
Despite Poutrincourt’s plan to build an agricultural settlement, interests at the French court leaned precipitously toward trade and religion in the new world, rather than toward settlement. For much of the first half of the seventeenth century, New France was little more than a fur-trading and fishing post. But for missionaries and those who supported them in France, New France was first and foremost a mission field. Male and female missionaries travelled there with the intention of sanctifying themselves, the land, and those who lived there, and building a new society among French settlers and Indigenous converts on the basis of an ideal Tridentine model of Catholicism.
When read with an attention to detail and nuance, these various texts and discourses reflect the attitudes and reactions of local audiences at all levels of society to the performances they had witnessed. indd 33 2014-06-03 13:13:45 34 Becoming Holy in Early Canada reveal much about the idiosyncrasies of everyday life and belief that originally endeared local holy persons to their communities. C o n c l u s ion In the years following the Reformation, Europe experienced a devotional revolution that was accompanied by dramatic changes in religious vocations, holy performances, and hagiographic writing.