By Timothy G. Pearson
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Indd 13 2014-06-03 13:13:45 14 Becoming Holy in Early Canada about the competing meanings and intentions that went into creating original events, rituals, and performances. The creation of the local saint is the result of all the ideas present in and around the original performance and reactions to it. This approach takes us into the spaces between performers and the various participants in the rituals of holiness, the performance itself, and its representation in surviving historical sources. ) After a brief introduction to Early Modern Catholicism, the colonial Church, and holiness in the first chapter, I proceed through in-depth case studies that illustrate the issues raised in each chapter.
These hagiographic accounts nevertheless have their limitations. The burden of tradition and official expectation weighs heavily upon them. For the most part, male ecclesiastical authorities dominated the writing of hagiography and used it to promote the colony. However, women were also authors, and nuns at times intervened in the processes of becoming holy in order to impose their own ideas and ideals on the foundress and sisters of their orders. Marie de l’Incarnation, for example, was not just a holy woman in her own right; she was also the author of several texts about the lives and virtues of three of her contemporaries: Marie-Madeleine de Chauvigny, Madame de la Peltrie, the lay foundress and primary financial backer of the Ursulines in Canada: Marie de Savonnières de la Troche de Saint-Joseph, a founding member of the Ursuline convent; and Anne Bataille, a lowranking Ursuline nun whom Marie noted for her great piety.
This initiative also marked the beginning of the involvement of wealthy and highly devout laymen and women, known as les dévot(e)s, in the religious project of New France. indd 27 2014-06-03 13:13:45 28 Becoming Holy in Early Canada ethos after the end of the civil wars. 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.