Montreal, Quebec, Canada

[coat of arms of the city of Montreal] (French: mont real, mount royal)

While New France was still in its infancy the Compagnie de Notre-Dame-de-Montreal was formed in Paris by M. Olier, founder of the Society of Saint-Sulpice, and a layman, M. de la Dauversiere. Urged by a desire to carry the Faith to the new colony, they found a staunch supporter in Maisonneuve who purchased the island of Montreal from the Compagnie des Cent-Associes, 1640, for purposes of colonization. He arrived at the foot of Mount Royal, 1642, and named his colony Ville-Marie, now Montreal; in his party was Mlle. Mance, founder of the Hotel Dieu, later confided to the care of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, of La Fleche. She was followed, 1653, by Marguerite Bourgeoys who, five years later, established the Sisters of the Congregation, for the education of girls, and, 1694, the Charron Brothers came to establish the General Hospital of Montreal. It was not until 1657 that the Sulpicians, four in number, came to the colony, under the direction of M. de Queylus. A few years later, 1663, the original Compagnie de Notre-Dame, now reduced to eight members and weary of the losing struggle to carry on their colony, ceded their rights and duties to the Society of Saint-SuIpice. With assistance from France the priests paid off many of the debts, and by 1668 eleven Sulpicians were laboring in ¥ontreal. They were entrusted with the mother parish of Notre Dame, canonically erected, 1678, and now marked by the beautiful church built by M. Roux, 1825-30, containing the tomb of Laverendrye. The superior filled the position of vicar-general to the bishop, and it was in their house that Bishop Pontbriand took refuge after the English victory on the Plains of Abraham. Although the new governors forbade the reception of novices into tbe Order, they permitted the priests driven out of France during the Revolution, to enter Canada, and among those who came were twelve Sulpicians; thus the Congregation of Montreal was saved from complete extinction. The College of Montreal had been founded, 1767, the Hotel Dieu and the house of the Sisters of the Congregation, both destroyed by fire, were rebuilt, 1765 and 1769, and in 1836 Montreal was erected into a diocese. This event was followed by rapid progress in the work of education; the Brothers of the Christian Schools arrived the following year; the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, 1841; the Grand Seminaire, founded, 1840, was followed by the Seminaire de Philosophie, 1894; by order of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples a branch of Laval University was opened in Montreal, 1876, and in 1896 the Jesuits established Loyola College. Among recent events of importance to the city were: the twenty-first Eucharistic Congress, held there, 1910, and the raising of the cathedral to a basilica, 1919, the same year in which Laval University became the University of Montreal. See also,
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