Shortly after the foundation of the colony by Champlain in 1608, the Recollects came from France in 1615 to establish missionary headquarters there.
They were joined by the Jesuits in 1625, who were sent out through the influence of the Duchesse d'Aiguillon under whose patronage the Sisters of the Hotel Dieu also came in 1639.
The early missionaries depended directly upon the Holy See until 1632, when the Archbishop of Rouen was given jurisdiction.
His authority continued until 1659, when Francois de Montmorency Laval, Bishop of Petrrea and Vicar Apostolic of New France, landed in Quebec.
The parish church of Quebec, begun in 1647, was consecrated in 1666, became and still remains the cathedral, having been thrice reconstructed: 1744-1749; 1767-1771, after beibg practically destroyed during the siege; and in 1925, when, after being burned down in 1922, an exact replica of the former church was rebuilt.
In 1847 it was honored with the title of basilica.
The Jesuit college, opened in 1635, was the seat of higher education, and all pupils of the seminary, founded in 1663, were trained there until after the conquest.
Upon the inauguration of British rule tbe Canadians requested the King to maintain the Catholic Hierarchy and permission was given for the consecration of Bishop Briand, in Paris in 1766, but the Recollects and Jesuits were forbidden to receive novices; the latter were left in possession of their estates, however, until the death of the last priest, when they were confiscated.
Their college having been turned into military stores and barracks, the responsibility of education devolved upon the seminary where classes were opened in 1765.
Through Bishop Briand's loyalty to England religious freedom was finally won for Canada, and in 1775 he wrote "Religion is perfectly free. I can exercise my ministry without any restriction."
The government granted him an annuity of £250 and £150 for rebuilding the episcopal palace.
Other historic monuments are:
During the celebration of the tercentenary of the founding of Quebec in 1908, a monument was erected to Bishop Laval.
Since 1907 L'Action Catholique, a branch of L' Action Sociale Catholique has been published here.
Saint Anne is the patroness of the city.
- the church of Notre Dame des Victoires which dates from 1690, when, after several unsuccessful attacks upon the city, Admiral Phipps withdrew, and Bishop Saint-Vallier dedicated the church to Our Lady of Victory
- the Ursuline church and convent, the oldest educational establishment for women in North America, occupying the same ground granted to the religious by the Company of New France upon their arrival in 1639; here Montcalm is buried
- the General Hospital of Quebec, established in 1693
- the Hotel Dieu, rebuilt after the fire which destroyed it in 1755
- Laval University, founded in 1852, the outgrowth of the first Council of Quebec, held in 1851
New Catholic Dictionary