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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > C > Catholicity in Canada

Catholicity in Canada

The subject will be treated under three headings: I. Period of French domination, from the discovery of Canada to the Treaty of Paris, in 1763; II. Period of British rule, from 1763 to the present day; III. Present conditions.

Period of French domination

To France belongs the honour of having planted Catholicism in Canada. Today there seems little doubt that Basque, Breton and Norman sailors had raised the cross on the shores of this country before the landing of the Venetian, Cabot (1497), and the Florentine, Verrazzano (1522), and above all before Jacques Cartier, of Saint-Malo, who is regarded as the discoverer of the country, had reached Canada and made a brief sojourn on its shores. This celebrated explorer, spurred on by the favour of Francis I, made three voyages to Canada. On the first he discovered Gaspé Peninsula, and had Mass celebrated there (7 July, 1534); on the second he sailed up the St. Lawrence, which he named (10 August, 1535), reached Stadacona (Quebec), and even proceeded as far as Hochelaga, on the site of which now stand the flourishing city of Montreal. His last voyage (1541-42) is unimportant. If Cartier did not succeed in founding a colony in the territory which he added to his country's possessions, it is due to him to state that the thought of spreading the Catholic Faith in new lands, far from being foreign to his undertaking, was its principal incentive.

The second half of the sixteenth century witnessed some attempts at settlements in Acadia which resulted in the foundation of Sainte-Croix and Port Royal (Annapolis in Nova Scotia). The appearance in this country of the first missionaries, secular priests and Jesuits, is worthy of note, though internal divisions and the hostility of England prevented their success. We must come down to Champlain and the opening of the seventeenth century to find traces of a regular colony. Samuel de Champlain, after several voyages to Canada, settled there in 1608, and that same year laid the foundations of Quebec. Being a fervent Catholic he wished to spread the blessings of the Faith among the pagan savages of the country. With this object in view, he sought aid from the Franciscan Recollects, who arrived in 1615, and inaugurated in the interior of Canada the missions so famous in the seventeenth century, in which the Jesuits (1625) as well as the Sulpicians (1657) were soon to have so glorious a share. The Canadian Indians, to whose conversion the Catholic missionaries devoted themselves, were divided into two quite distinct stocks: The Algonquins and the Huron-Iroquois. The former were found under various names north of the St. Lawrence and in the basin of Ottawa, from the mouth of the great river to the prairies of the North-West; the latter were settled south of Lake Ontario and in the Niagara peninsula. Their total population does not seem to have exceeded 100,000 (See ALGONQUINS).

On the arrival of the Recollects (1615), Father d'Olbeau began his labours among the Montagnais of the River Saguenay, and Father Le Caron, ascending the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, carried the Faith into the heart of the Huron country, while two of their companions remained at Quebec to look after the colonists and the neighbouring Indians. For ten years they made repeated journeys, opened schools for the young Indians, summoned recruits from France, among them Friar Viel, who was hurled into the Ottawa by an apostate Indian and drowned, and Friar Sagard, the first to publish a history of Canada. Feeling themselves unable to carry on unaided a work of such importance, the Recollecgts sought the assistance of the Jesuits, whereupon Fathers Brébeuf, Charles Lallemant, and several others went to Canada (1625). But the united efforts of the missionaries were thwarted in a measure by the Merchant Company to which the King of France had conceded the colony. As the spirit of gain prevented the Company from helping the missionaries, and co-operating with them for the welfare of the country, it was suppressed by Louis XIII and Richelieu (1627), and replaced by the "Company of New France", also known as the "Company of the Hundred Associates", which pledged itself "to bring the peoples inhabiting Canada to a knowledge of God and to instruct them in the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Religion". These promises bore no fruit. In less than two years (1629) Quebec fell into the hands of David Kertk (Kirk) a native of Dieppe, who was battling for English interests. Acadia, with the exception of Fort Saint-Louis, had surrendered the preceding year. All the missionaries returned to France.

Canada belonged to England until 1632, when the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye restored it to France. Thereupon Cardinal Richelieu gave to the Jesuits the privilege of resuming their missions, and several of them set sail for Canada. Champlain, the governor, and Lauson, president of the 'Company of the Hundred Associates" (Les Cent Associés) lent them all possible aid. Father Lejeune organized religious services in Quebec, founded a mission at Three Rivers, and opened the College of Quebec (1635). In the meanwhile other Jesuits had established a mission at Miscou, an island at the entrance of the Baie des Chaleurs, whence they evangelized Gaspé, Acadia, and Cape Breton. For more than thirty years (1633-64) the chief results of their sacrifices were the baptism of children in danger of death and the conversion of some adults. In 1664 the Recollects once more took charge of Acadia and of Gaspé. In the meantime Champlain had died (25 Dec., 1635) in the arms of Father Lallemant, rejoicing at the spread of the Faith. The ardour of the missionaries did not cool. Father Lejeune followed the wandering tribe of the Montagnais and returned with a definite plan of evangelization. It was profitable and even necessary, he argued, to establish missions among fixed and settled tribes like the Hurons, but this was useless among nomadic tribes. These wandering Indians must be induced to group themselves in villages near the French settlements, where they could be protected from hostile invasion and be taught to lead an industrious and settled life. Two settlements were made on this plan: one at Three Rivers and one near Quebec. In 1640, a new mission was opened at Tadousac, and it soon became a centre of Catholic evangelization.

About this time nursing sisters and the first Ursulines arrived in Quebec from France. The former took charge of the Hôtel-Dieu, which had been endowed by the Duchesse d'Aiguillon, a niece of Richelieu; the latter, under the celebrated Marie de l'Incarnation, devoted themselves to the education of girls. Their protectress, Madame de la Peltrie, followed them. These heroic women vied with one another in their zeal for the conversion of the savages. Meanwhile, the "Company of Associates" paid no more regard to its obligations than had its predecessors. It attracted few colonists, did nothing towards the civilization of the Indians, and showed no interest in the spread of the Faith. On the other hand the Iroquois were daily becoming more menacing. In 1641 Governor de Montmagny had to conduct a campaign against them. At the juncture the "Company of Montreal" was formed, which proposed, without laying any burden on the king, the clergy, or the people "to promote the glory of God and the establishment of religion in New France". This inspiration of two men of God, Jean-Jacques Olier and Jérôme de la Dauversiere, encouraged by Pope Urban VIII, found in Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve a faithful instrument of its purpose. The new association purchased from M. de Lauson of the old company the island of Montreal (1640). Less than two years later Maisonneuve, at the head of a little band of chosen Christians, among them Jeanne Mance, future foundress of the Hôtel-Dieu, landed on the island and laid the foundations of Ville-Marie, or Montreal (18 May, 1642). We shall not recall the energy, vigilance, and resourcefulness required of Maisonneuve to strengthen and develop the infant colony, nor recount the heroic struggles made for thirty years by the colonists against the Iroquois. In 1653 there arrived at Montreal Marguerite Bourgeoys, foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame, which has been so great an educational factor in Canada and the United States. Four years later M. Olier, then on his death-bed, sent the first four Sulpicians, with M. de Queylus at their head, to Montreal, whither he himself had ardently desired to go.

Meanwhile the Jesuits were actively prosecuting their labours among the Indians. For them the era of martyrdoms had arrived. The years 1648-49 saw the destruction of the flourishing mission of the Hurons, at which eighteen Jesuits had toiled for nearly ten years. In the course of their apostolic journeys they traversed the region lying between Georgian bay and Lake Simcoe, scarcely every meeting in their residence of Sainte-Marie, save for their annual retreat. They had won many Christians to the Faith before the incursion of the Iroquois, a massacre of extermination to which Fathers Daniel, Brébeuf, G. Lallemant, Garnier, and Chabanel fell victims. Fathers Brébeuf and Lallemant succumbed before the atrocious tortures practised upon them, mingled with buffoon gibes at their religion. They were burned at a slow fire, lacerated, and mutilated with a devilish ingenuity which aimed to prolong life and drag out their sufferings. Their firmness in supporting all these horrors in order to strengthen the faith of the Hurons doomed to death like themselves has earned for them from the people the title of martyrs. The Hurons who escaped from the fury of the Iroquois took refuge, some in Manitoulin Island, others in Ile Saint-Joseph (Christian Island) in Georgian Bay. In the spring of 1650 this remnant came down to the Ile d'Orléans, near Quebec. Three years prior to the massacre of the Hurons, the Iroquois had murdered Father Isaac Jogues (18 Oct., 1646), who had attempted a third missionary journey to one of their tribes, the Agniers. It should be said that Father Bressani had escaped from these barbarians only with the greatest difficulty, and that Father Buteux perished in one of their ambushes (1652). These and other acts of violence had made the Iroquois a terror to the French colony. Montreal owed its safety solely to the heroic courage of Maisonneuve and Lambert Closse, and to the heroism of young Dollard.

The year 1659 marks the beginning of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in Canada. Up to that time the missionaries regarded themselves first as directly dependent on the Holy See, and afterwards for some time as under the authority of the Archbishop of Rouen. Rightly or wrongly, the latter looked upon Canada as subject to his jurisdiction in matters spiritual, and acted accordingly. Neither the French Government nor the sovereign pontiff opposed this as an illegitimate pretension. When M. de Queylus was sent to Montreal by M. Olier, he received from the Archbishop of Rouen (1657) the title of vicar-general, nor did anyone in Canada think of questioning his authority. The arrival (1659) of François de Montmorency-Laval, appointed by Alexander VII titular Bishop of Petræa and Vicar Apostolic of New France, caused a conflict of jurisdiction between the new and the old authority, resulting in the suspension of M. de Queylus for disobedience and obstinacy, and in his consequent return to France. When he came back five years later Bishop Laval received him with open arms, and conferred upon him the title of vicar-general (cf. Aug. Gosselin, "Vénérable François de Laval-Montmorency", Quebec, 1901, 286-87). The new bishop encountered many difficulties. They arose in the first place from the sale of intoxicating liquors, a traffic which the governors, d'Argenson, d'Avaugour, and Mésy abetted, or at least did not prohibit, and which was a perpetual source of conflict between the civil and the ecclesiastical authorities. The Church braved the disfavour of those in power rather than surrender the interests of souls and of Christian morality. Bishop Laval had other dissensions with M. de Mésy on occasions when the episcopal rights of the former clashed with the despotic administration of the governor. The governor had recourse to violent measures. He forced Maisonneuve to return to France, where he died at Paris, poor and unknown (1677).

Mésy, who ws reconciled with Bishop Laval before his death, was succeeded by Courcelles. He had come to Canada in the company of Tracy, who bore the title of Viceroy, and the Intendant, Talon. They came to a satisfactory understanding with the bishop, carried on two campaigns against the Iroquois (1665-66), whom they reduced to an inaction of twenty years, and promoted in many ways the colony's interest, above all by attracting to it new settlers. In 1668 Bishop Laval had begun a preparatory seminary (petit séminaire). Ten years later he opened a seminary (grand séminaire) for the training of his clergy. The increase in population necessitate a more numerous clergy as well as a better arrangement of parishes. In 1672 outside of Quebec the parishes numbered twenty-five, each with a resident priest. To provide for the support of the clergy the bishop imposed a tax on the faithful, which by an act of 1663 was fixed at a thirteenth part of the crops; later this was reduced to one twenty-sixth, the king agreeing to make up the rest. The parish priests then formed with the seminary of Quebec a sort of corporation, the respective rights and duties of whose members were legally established. The progress of the missions had not ceased between 1660 and 1680. The Jesuit, Father Allouez, penetrate to Lake Superior, and there founded two missions (1665). Fathers Dablon and Marquette planted the cross at Sault Sainte Marie. Other Jesuits allying themselves with the discoverers Saint-Lusson and Cavelier de la Salle, took possession of the western shores of Lake Huron; two years afterwards Father d'Albanel pierced the wilderness as far as Hudson Bay. The Jesuits also restored the Iroquois missions south of Lake Ontario, and founded, south of Montreal, the permanent mission of "La Praierie de la Madeleine". This was the home of Catherine Tegakwitha, the "Lily of Canada", who died at the age of twenty-three in the odour of sanctity. The Third Council of Baltimore asked to have the cause of her beatification introduced. The Christian community, transferred to Sault Saint Louis (Caughnawaga), is still flourishing, and numbers more than 2000 souls. After many changes it was once more placed under the care of the Jesuits (1902). We may note here that it was from Canada that L. Jolliet and the famous Father Marquette set forth for the discovery of the Mississippi (1673). The missions of the Sulpicians, who were already engaged in evangelizing the savages, will be treated in the articles SULPICIANS and MONTREAL. The Recollects (Franciscans) had returned to Canada in 1670, and from their establishment at Quebec, had founded four missions: Three Rivers, Ile Percée, River St. John, and Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario. In 1682 M. Dollier de Casson invited them to Montreal. Later Bishop Saint-Valier entrusted to them the Cape Breton mission and that of Plaisance in Newfoundland.

During this development of the missions, Bishop Laval had prevailed upon Clement X to make Quebec an episcopal see (1674); he had confirmed the affiliation of his seminary with that of the Missions Etrangères in Paris, had erected a chapter of canons, organized his diocese, and maintained a struggle against Governor Frontenac for the rights of the Church and the prohibition of the sale of liquors to the savages. In 1684 he placed his resignation in the hands of Louis XIV. On his return to Quebec in 1688, he lived twenty years in retirement and died (1708) in odour of sanctity. In 1878 his body was removed from the cathedral to the chapel of the seminary where he wished to lie, and a process for his canonization was begun and submitted for the approbation of Leo XIII. Bishop Laval was succeeded by Bishop Saint-Vallier, to whom Quebec owes the foundation of its General Hospital, a work of no little labour and expense. He freed the seminary from the parochial functions imposed upon it by his predecessor, so that it might be thenceforth devoted solely to the education of the clergy. Meanwhile the English admiral Phipps, had attacked Quebec (1690) with thirty-two ships. While Frontenac made preparations for its defence the bishop in a pastoral letter exhorted the Canadians to do their duty valiantly. After fruitless attacks the enemy withdrew, whereupon the bishop, in fulfilment of a vow, dedicated to Our Lady of Victory the church in the lower town. It is still standing. The era of the great missions had come to an end, yet de la Mothe-Cadillac with a hundred Canadians and a missionary founded, in 1701, the city of Detroit. The Seminary of Quebec sent apostles to the Tamarois, between the Illinois and the Ohio rivers. The Recollects took over the missions of the Ile Royale, or Cape Breton. The Jesuits on their part evangelized the Miamis, the Sioux, the Outaouais (Ottawas), and the Illinois.

In the meantime England continued to cast envious eyes on the Catholic colony of Canada, which France, with her lack of foresight, was neglecting more and more. After the close of the seventeenth century there was scarcely any emigration from the mother country to New France, and Canada was forced to rely on her own resources for her preservation and growth. Her population, which in 1713 was 18,000, had increased to 42,000 by 1739, the year of the last census taken under French administration. This was a small number at best to stand out against the colonists of New England, who numbered 262,000 in 1706. Acadia was especially weak, having only 2000 inhabitants, and against her the efforts of England and her American colonies were first directed. Port royal was taken in 1710, and three years later, by the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), France ceded to England Acadia, Newfoundland, and the Hudson Bay territory. As early as 1604 Catholic missionaries had gone to Acadia and converted to the Faith its native Indians, the Micmac and the Abnaki. The English conquest did not interrupt their missionary activity, but it often rendered their labours more difficult. Fortified by them, the Acadians increased in number, despite English persecution, and about 1750 their number had risen to 15,000. The company of Saint-Sulpice and the Seminary of Quebec supplied them with their principal missionaries. The incredible vexations to which the unhappy Acadians were subjected by unworthy English governors will not be recounted here. History has branded their memory with infamy, especially that of Lawrence, who with calculating violence embarked (1755) the Acadians on English vessels and scattered them throughout the American colonies. This act of barbarism, which has caused his name to be execrated by all men, furnished Longfellow with the inspiration for his touching poem, "Evangeline". Canada in the meantime enjoyed comparative peace. There was a presentiment, however, that England would soon make a final effort to conquer the country. Instead of sending colonists and troops the French Government persisted in constructing at great expense fortifications at Louisburg and at Quebec.

After making rich donations to the religious establishments of Quebec (estimated at 600,000 livres, about $120,000), Bishop Saint-Vallier died in 1727. His successor was Bishop Duplessis-Mornay, whom infirmities prevented from coming to Canada. Bishop Dosquet, his coadjutor and administrator from 1729, succeeded him in 1733, and laboured earnestly for education and for the increase of religious communities. The education of girls was in the hands of the Ursulines, who had one boarding -school at Quebec and another at Three Rivers, and of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, of Montreal, who had fourteen houses. Primary instruction for boys was conducted by male teachers. Prematurely exhausted by the rigour of the climate, Bishop Dosquet resigned his office and left Canada. His successor, Bishop Lauberiviere, died on his arrival at Quebec, a victim of his devotion to the sick soldiers on the voyage from France. With Bishop Pontbriand (1741-1760) we reach the end of the French rule. He restored the cathedral of Quebec then falling into decay, went to the assistance of the Ursulines of Three Rivers and the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec on the occasion of disastrous fires, administered his diocese wisely, and was a model for his clergy in wisdom and virtue.

At Montreal the Sulpicians still pursued their beneficent work. To their superior, M. de Belmont (1701-32) must be ascribed the construction of the Fort of the Mountain and of the old seminary which is still in existence, and the opening of the Lachine canal. M. Normant du Faradon, his successor (1732-59), saved the General Hospital from ruin, and entrusted it to the "Grey Nuns", whose founder he may be called, together with the Venerable Mère d'Youville. The Abbé François Piquet, honoured by the city of Ogdensburg as its founder (1749), was also a . The well-known events which hastened the fall of the colony are a part of general history. After the capture of Quebec by Wolfe (1759), Bishop Pontbriand took refuge with the Sulpicians at Montreal, where he died before that city fell into the hands of the English. On 10 February, 1763, the Treaty of Paris was signed, ceding Canada to England, closing for the Church in Canada the period of establishment and settlement, and opening the period of conflict and development.

Period of British rule (1763—)

At the time of the Treaty of Paris (see QUEBEC) the Catholic population of Canada, all of french descent, scarcely numbered 70,000. Abandoned by their civil rulers and representatives, who had returned to France, they owed to their clergy the preservation of their Faith and in great measure the recovery of their political and civil rights. While the clauses of the Treaty of Paris were still under discussion a memorial had been laid before the French ambassador in London concerning the religious affairs of Canada. This demanded, among other things, security for the See and Chapter of Quebec. The intentions of the British Government were quite different. It proposed to substitute the Anglican hierarchy for the Catholic, and English Protestantism for Catholicism, and it flattered itself that it could easily overcome the scruples of a handful of French colonists. With this end in view it spared priests and laity no vexation. The government policy was especially active against the young, who were to be educated in schools of a marked Anglican tone. The Canadians, who had good cause for anxiety, sent a deputation to King George III, to demand the maintenance of their ecclesiastical organization and to complain of violations of the Treaty of Paris, which assured them religious liberty.

In the meantime the Chapter of Quebec proceeded to elect M. de Montgolfier, superior of the Sulpicians of Montreal, bishop. The English authorities refused consent to his consecration. Oliver Briand, vicar general to Bishop Pontbriand, was then consecrated with only the tacit consent of the Government, which always refused him the title of Bishop, which it reserved for the head of the Anglican hierarchy; instead of bishop they used the term Superintendent (Surintendant) of Catholic Worship. The communities of men, Recollects, Jesuits, and Sulpicians, were forbidden to take novices in Canada, or to receive members from abroad. They were marked out for extinction, and the State declared itself heir to their property. The English confiscated the goods of the Recollects and Jesuits in 1774, and granted the religious modest pensions. The Sulpicians fared better. In 1793, of the thirty Sulpicians living in 1759 there remained only two septuagenarians, whose last moments were being eagerly looked for, when the British Government relaxed its rigour in favour of the victims of the French Revolution, and opened Canada as a place of refuge for persecuted French priests.

While Catholic interests on the banks of the St. Lawrence were thus menaced by the new English masters there was brewing an event, big with consequences, that counselled more moderation. The British American colonies were threatening revolt. England realized that she must conciliate the Canadians at any cost, and by the Quebec Act of 1774 she granted them many liberties hitherto withheld or suppressed. (See QUEBEC). This was due chiefly to Governor Guy Carleton (1769-96), who was wise, judicious, and tolerant, very sympathetic toward Catholicism, and loved by Bishop Briand and his flock. The Americans were unable to induce the French Canadians to take part in the American Revolution, and Montgomery's invasion (1775) was checked at Quebec. Led by Bishop Briand, the champions of loyalty were the Catholic priests, whom Great Britain had hitherto regarded with suspicion. Bishop Briand resigned in 1784. By this time Catholics numbered 130,000. The Maritime Provinces — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and even the Ile Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island) — were being peopled by Scotch and Irish Catholics (see EDMUND BURKE). Bishop d'Esglis succeeded Bishop Briand, who, to forestall a vacancy hastened to secure a successor in the person of François Hubert (1788). The diocese now contained 160 priests, among them the Abbés Desjardins, Sigogne, Calonne, and Picquart, who gathered again the scattered remnants of the Acadians, a race supposed to be practically extinct. There is an interesting memorial of Bishop Hubert to the Holy See (1794), in which he notes the fidelity of the Catholics to their religion, and dwells upon the necessity of creating new sees. The opposition of the British Government continued inexorable, so that it was necessary to wait for more propitious circumstances. This opposition was all the more unjustifiable, becoming evident, as it did, shortly after the constitutional Act of 1791. This was the famous act which granted Canada a constitutional government, and divided the country into two provinces, Upper and Lower Canada, each having a governor, an assembly, and a legislative council. Concerning the french Catholic inhabitants of Lower Canada the Act read: "All possible care must be taken to ensure them the enjoyment of the civil and religious rights guaranteed them by the terms of the capitulation of the province, or since accorded them by the liberal and enlightened spirit of the British Government" (Christie, op. cit. infra, 16; Pagnuelo, 69).

During the episcopate of Bishop Denaut (1797-1806) and Bishop Octave Plessis (1806-1825) the antagonism of Anglican Protestantism manifested itself in two very different forms. Under the name of "Royal Institution" Dr. Mountain, the Anglican Bishop of Quebec, devised a corporation which was to monopolize instruction in all its stages by concentrating all educational authority in the hands of the governor. In this way the entire educational system was to be withdrawn from the Catholic clergy and fall under Protestant control; the natural result would be the easy seduction of childhood and youth. The vigilance of the clergy and of Bishop Denaut balked these astute machinations (Pagnuelo, "Etudes historiques et légales sur la liberté religieuse en Canada", Montreal, 1872). The difficulties which beset Bishop Plessis were a different kind. He had to deal with a powerful and fanatical oligarchy determined to reduce the Church to a condition of servitude to the civil power, to make it, as in England, a docile instrument of the Government, in a word, to insensibly render Canada Protestant by administrative pressure. The chief spirit of this coalition was a certain Witzius Ryland, secretary to the governors of Canada from 1790 to 1812. His policy was the confiscation of all ecclesiastical property and the exclusion of Catholicism from its dominant position. It was to be treated as a dissenting sect, tolerated by the condescension of the authorities. Chief Justice Monk, Attorney-General Sewell, and the Anglican Bishop Mountain shared the same ideas, and they had no difficulty in converting to their opinions the governor, James Craig, whose administration has been called a "reign of terror". Bishop Plessis was given to understand that he must recognize the royal authority in religious matters, renounce his jurisdiction in parochial matters, and subordinate his administration to state supremacy. The bishop was quite able to hold his own against his opponents. Firm yet gentle, he knew how to maintain his independence, abdicate no right, and renounce no just claim, yet he never wounded English feeling. In the end he was successful. It must be admitted indeed that Providence sent him unexpected support. The War of 1812 had just broken out between Great Britain and the United states. Bishop Plessis took the same stand as Bishop Briand thirty years before. He did all in his power to maintain the loyalty of Catholics and to promote the defence of Canada. When the American invasion had been repelled, the governor, Sir George Prévost, felt that a renewal of the early conflict would be a poor return on the part of the Government. He conceded to the Bishop and his successors the official recognition of the title of Catholic Bishop of Quebec (1813), and granted them a yearly stipend of $5000. For some years (1814-20) the Catholic Church enjoyed a certain degree of favour. During this time the Vicariate Apostolic of Nova Scotia was erected (1817), and the Bishop of Quebec given the title of Archbishop, with auxiliary bishops (1819). Upper Canada was placed under Bishop Alexander MacDonnell (q.v.) and Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick under Bishop McEachern (q.v.) Bishops were later placed over the North-West and the district of Montreal (1820).

The favour granted to the Catholic Church could not fail to arouse some dissatisfaction. A group of fanatics resolved to abrogate the Constitution of 1791, which had separated Upper from lower Canada, and to bring about the union of the two provinces, the one Catholic, the other Protestant, on the most unjust terms, with a view to destroying the influence of the Catholic and French population. The plot found a powerful agent in England in a certain Ellice, who succeeded in having a bill to this effect brought before the House of Commons (1822). It could have passed almost unnoticed had not one Parker, an enemy of Ellice, put the ministry on its guard. The news of this attempt caused great excitement in Lower Canada. Bishop Plessis and the clergy drew up protests, which were quickly endorsed with 60,000 signatures, and were taken to London by Papineau and Neilson, legislative councillors. Their mission was successful, and the bill was withdrawn.

Meanwhile the Canadian population continued to increase. In 1832 the French Canadians alone numbered 380,000. Primary schools multiplied everywhere, promoted by the Educational Society (Société d'éducation) of Quebec and by the law of the parish schools (Ecoles de fabrique). Colleges for secondary instruction were founded wherever needed, and several episcopal sees were erected: Kingston (1826), Charlottetown (1829), and Montreal (1836). In all these movements Bishop Panet (1825-32), successor to Bishop Plessis, took a leading part. He died the year of the cholera, which carried off 4000 in five weeks, and was succeeded by Bishop Signay, whose episcopate was marked by several calamities: a second scourge of the cholera (1834); civil war (1837-38); disastrous fires which reduced Quebec to a mass of ruins (1845); and the typhus fever brought by the Irish immigrants, driven from their country by the terrible famine and evictions of 1847.

This period is marked by the solution of a question which had been agitated since the conquest: the recognition by the British Crown of the property of the Sulpicians, which being of considerable value, aroused great cupidity. The bigoted counsellors who surrounded Sir James Craig at the beginning of the nineteenth century urged its confiscation. Sewell made reports and suggested plans; Ryland made vigorous use of his pen and was most active in promoting the cause; he went to London for the same purpose. The British Government did not reply. In his memoir of 1819 M. Roux, superior of Saint-Sulpice at Montreal, answered every adverse claim, and Bishop Plessis pleaded the same cause with great force before Lord Bathurst (1821). The attacks were renewed in 1829, and the seminary was on the point of giving up its rights in exchange for an annual income. Rome, when appealed to, refused to ratify any such transaction, and the matter dragged on. Finally Queen victoria, by an ordinance of the Privy Council, declared the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice the lawful owner of its holdings, an act of justice which permitted the Sulpicians to continue their beneficent work. Montreal owed to them its prosperity, the settlement of the surrounding districts, its flourishing college and great church of Notre-Dame, the work of M. Roux (1825-30). It owed to them also its schools. A short time previous M. Quiblier, successor of M. Roux, had brought to Canada the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The Grand Séminaire, now so prosperous, was soon to open (1840).

In 1840 the union of Upper and Lower Canada, so long fought off by the latter as an act of gross injustice, was accomplished. The avowed aim of the Protestants of Ontario was to make Quebec subject to Ontario, the French element to the English, the Catholic to the Protestant. Contrary to all expectation, this act turned out favourable to the liberty and progress of Catholicism. Far from abrogating the provisions of the constitution of 1791 concerning the Catholic religion, it extended them, at the same time providing for their enforcement. For in 1840, after the guarantees of liberty given the Catholic Church by the British Government, the spiritual supremacy of the king in religious affairs could not be maintained as defined in the Royal Instructions of 1791. Let us add that Lord Elgin, a broad-minded governor, appeared on the scene, and recognized that it was time to put an end to a system of government based on partiality and the denial of justice.

To this governor Canada is indebted for her religious liberty, plainly granted in an act of 1851 issued by the King of Great Britain and published in the Canadian press, 1 June 1852. Here it is formally stated that the "free exercise and enjoyment of profession and religious worship, without distinction or preference, are permitted by the constitution and laws of this province of Canada to all the subjects of His Majesty in the said province."

The fifteen years that followed the Act of Union were therefore very productive for Canadian Catholicism. Archbishop Signay of Quebec, his successor, Archbishop Turgeon (1850), and in an especial manner Bishop Ignace Bourget, the successor Bishop Lartigue in the See of Montreal, gave a great impetus to the religious life of Canada. During their episcopates five religious communities of men and sixteen of women either arose on Canadian soil or came thither from France. The following may be mentioned: Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate, who were to repeat among the savages of the "Far West" the missionary successes of the Society of Jesus during the seventeenth century; The Jesuit Fathers (1842), whom Canada had been calling in vain for over fifty years; the Clerics of St. Viator, and the Fathers of the Holy Cross. In this period were founded at Montreal: the Sisters of Providence (1843), the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (1843), the Sisters of Mercy (1848), the Sisters of St. Anne (1850); at Quebec, the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (1850). The number of sees was increased by the foundation of Toronto (1841), Halifax (1842), raised to an archdiocese in 1852, St. John, New Brunswick (1842), Arichat, Nova Scotia (1844), transferred to Antigonish in 1886, Bytown or Ottawa (1847), St. John's, Newfoundland (1847). The First Council of Quebec, since 1844 a Metropolitan See, with Montreal, Kingston, and Toronto for suffragans, was held in 1851. The Sees of Three Rivers and St. Hyacinthe were erected in 1851. This decade was also marked by: (1) the celebrated "missions" of Monsignor de Forbin-Janson, former Bishop of Nancy, and the institution of parochial retreats; (2) the adoption of a school system that assured separate primary and normal schools for Catholics and Protestants (1841); (3) a genuine crusade for the promotion of temperance (1843) and the founding of societies for the suppression of alcoholism; (4) the establishment of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Work of the Holy Childhood; (5) colonization societies to provide for the surplus of the Canadian population (1848).

The Catholic population now needed more primary schools; the need was met chiefly by Meilleur, the superintendent of education. On assuming office he found a school attendance of only 3000, which, when he retired in 1855, thirteen years later, had increased to 127,000. New centres of secondary education has been opened: the college of Joliette (1846), Saint-Laurent (1847), Rigaud (1850), Sainte-Marie de Monnoir (1853), and Lévis (1853). The following year (1854) the inauguration of a Catholic university, the Laval University at Quebec, crowned all the generous efforts already made for the cause of education. This was also due to the Canadian clergy. The First council of Quebec had manifested the need and desire for such an institution; less than ten years later all the difficulties had been surmounted, and the Seminary of Quebec, which had undertaken this difficult task, could exhibit fresh proof of its devotion to Church and country. Laval University had already proved its worth and accomplished much good when it was canonically established by a Bull of Pius IX (1876).

While the Church was thus progressing in Eastern Canada, in the West it was only beginning its work. About 1818 a priest of the Diocese of Quebec, the Abbé Provencher, founded on the banks of the Red River the first Western Canadian missions beyond the pale of civilization. Two years later he was consecrated bishop, and for the remaining years of his life Bishop Provencher multiplied his labours, called to his aid assistants, and sent missionaries as far as British Columbia. In 1844 he was made Vicar apostolic of the North-West, and in 1847 Bishop of St. Boniface. The same year another missionary from Quebec, Modeste Demers, was named Bishop of Vancouver. To establish his missions securely Bishop Provencher invited to his diocese the Oblate Fathers, recently established at Montreal. They accepted the invitation, and in 1853 one of their number, Bishop Taché, succeeded the first Bishop of St. Boniface. In 1862 the Vicariate Apostolic of Athabaska was erected, with Bishop Faraud (1828-90) as titular. The ecclesiastical province of St. Boniface (Manitoba) was created in 1871. Bishop Taché was raised to the rank of archbishop by Pius IX, and his coadjutor, Monseigneur Grandin (1829-1902), was named Bishop of the newly-erected see of St. Albert. To the See of St. Albert and the Vicariate Apostolic of Athabaska were added in 1890 the Vicariate Apostolic of Saskatchewan, raised in 1908, to the rank of a bishopric, with the title of Prince Albert, and the See of New Westminster (British Columbia), and in 1901 the Vicariate Apostolic of Mackenzie and the Yukon. The last department, by a Brief of Leo XIII (1903), was detached from St. Boniface and attached to Victoria (Vancouver), which was raised to archiepiscopal rank, and has been known since 1904 as the archdiocese of Victoria.

While the ecclesiastical hierarchy was forming in the West the Church was pursuing her beneficent work in Eastern Canada. At the Second Council of Quebec (1854) the bishops promulgated disciplinary regulations concerning primary schools, secret societies, temperance, educational institutions, politics, erroneous Bibles, immoral books, and parochial libraries. The definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (8 Dec., 1854) brought joy to the hearts of pastors and faithful. During the ensuing years the Catholics of Canada watched sadly the march of ideas and events in Europe, and bishops drew attention in the pastorals to errors condemned by the head of the Church. Canadian Catholics were indignant at the invasion of the Pontifical States by the Piedmontese, and seven corps of Zouaves were spontaneously formed to hasten to the defence of the common father of the faithful (1868-1870). The division of Montreal into parishes should be mentioned as belonging to this period. Until then the Sulpicians had been able to minister to the city. But in 1866 an Apostolic decree authorized Bishop Bourget to divide the city into as many parishes as he thought proper. Montreal contained 199,000 Catholics. By 1908 Montreal had more than trebled its population of 1866, and there were over forty parishes in addition to the mother-parish of Notre Dame, of which the Sulpicians have had charge for over two hundred and fifty years. New sees were created: Rimouski (1867), Sherbrooke (1874), Chicoutimi (1878), and Nicolet (1885). In 1870 Toronto was made an archdiocese, with Kingston (1826) and Hamilton (1856) as suffragan sees. In 1889 Kingston was erected into an archdiocese, with Peterborough (1882) as suffragan. Alexandria (1890) and Sault Sainte Marie (1904) were erected and added later. London (1855) was made suffragan to Toronto. In 1886 Ottawa was made an archdiocese, and assigned as suffragan Vicariate Apostolic of Pontiac, which since 1898 has been the See of Pembroke, and finally Leo XIII honoured Archbishop Taschereau of Quebec with the cardinal's hat (1886).

A few special points deserve a brief separate treatment.

The restoration of the Acadians

At the time of Lawrence's violent dispersion of the Acadians (1755) 1268 of them had escaped, and by 1815 formed a nucleus of 25,000 souls; in 1864 they numbered 80,000. A Canadian priest, Father Lefebvre gathered them together, founded for them the college of Memramcook (New Brunswick), provided for them primary schools, organized them, and awoke in them a consciousness of their strength. In 1880 seventy Acadian delegates represented their compatriots at the great national reunion. The national society of the Acadians is called "The Society of the Assumption". By 1899 the Acadians amounted to 125,000; they had six deputies in the local legislatures of the Maritime Provinces and two in the Federal Parliament at Ottawa. If to the Acadian population of 139,006 be added the Catholic Acadians of the Gaspé coast and the Magdalen islands, the total will easily reach 155,000, surely an element of Catholic strength for the future.

Schools of New Brunswick and Manitoba

Prior to the confederation of the Canadian Provinces (1867), New Brunswick legislation rendered possible the establishment of religious schools. This privilege was abolished in 1871 by the Provincial Legislature. The Catholics, thus forced either to send their children to public schools or to pay a double school tax, appealed to the Federal parliament. Sir John MacDonald, who was all-powerful at the time, made promises, which, however, failed to satisfy Bishops Sweeney and Rogers, who organized for resistance and opposed the tax collectors. This convinced the Protestants that it was advisable to reach a satisfactory agreement. The unjust law was not repealed, but enough concessions were made to restore peace (1874). A parallel act of injustice was done against the rights of Manitoban Catholics in 1890. The British North America Act, which consolidated the Dominion of Canada, gave each province the right to exclusively make laws in relation to education, but safeguarded all rights or privileges granted by the law at the time of legislative union to any class of persons enjoying denominational schools. Moreover, when Manitoba entered the confederation (1870) the Catholic delegates, guided by Archbishop Taché of St. Boniface, had taken steps to have the rights of their coreligionists respected. Despite these precautions, separate schools were abolished by an intolerant ministry (1890). In 1894 the bishops of the Dominion sent a petition to the Governor-General in Council. On appeal, the British Privy council decided that this appeal was admissible, but referred its settlement to the Governor-General in council. In 1896 a pastoral letter appeared, signed by Cardinal Taschereau and the bishops of the Quebec province, protesting against the injustice done their Manitoban coreligionists. The issue in the general elections of 1896 was whether the wrongs of the Manitoba Catholics should be removed by remedial legislation of the Dominion Parliament, as the Conservatives proposed, or by conciliation and compromise with the provincial authorities, as the Liberals suggested. The Liberal party came into power under Sir Wilfred Laurier, and a compromise was effected which, without repealing the law, lessened its disastrous results. The Catholic Liberal members of the dominion Parliament petitioned the Holy See to send an Apostolic delegate, and Leo XII confided the delicate mission of making a full investigation to Monsignor Merry del Val, after 1903 Cardinal Secretary of State. The first permanent Apostolic Delegate to Canada was Monsignor Diomede Falconio, later Apostolic Delegate at Washington, who was succeeded in turn by Monsignor Donato Sbaretti, former Bishop of Havana. The seat of the delegation is at Ottawa.

Foundation of the University of Laval at Montreal

The ever-increasing importance of Montreal made it desirable that the city should have a Catholic university. Bishop Bourget addressed a petition to the Propaganda, asking for its establishment. By a decree of 1 February, 1876, the Sacred Congregation gave permission to erect at Montreal a branch of the University of Laval of Quebec. In 1889 Leo XIII established the administrative autonomy of the new university by the decree "Jam dudum". M. Colin, superior of Saint-Sulpice (1880-1902) took the foremost part in the establishment and organization of the Laval University at Montreal. He even induced his society to give the site needed for the university buildings and to subscribe almost half of the sum considered necessary for their construction.

Colonization

The first colonists in Canada settled along the great rivers, especially the St. Lawrence. There each family was wont to clear a strip of land, quite narrow as compared with the extent of the country, leaving intact the interior forest. About 1835 all the cleared portions were occupied by the growing population, and the surplus for forced to migrate to the cities or the United States to find some readier means of subsistence. The emigration movement threatened to become general and disturbed the Canadian patriots. The clergy organized a veritable crusade to keep the people on their own soil. The colonizing priest is a type found only in Canada. None is better known than the Curé Labelle, who devoted his life to the work of colonization, founding by his own efforts more than thirty parishes in the Province of Quebec. Wherever the work of colonization has been carried on, at Temiscamingue, on the shores of Lake St. John or of the river Saguenay, in Gaspé, or north of Montreal, priests and religious are found, directing and helping the settlers. It is they who still form a majority of the deputies and members who attend the annual agricultural congresses at the Trappist monastery of Notre-dame d'Oka, the colonization congresses and societies. We may add that the agricultural schools of Notre-Dame d'Oka, Sainte-Anne de la Pocatiere and the Assumption are conducted by ecclesiastics.

Present conditions

Ecclesiastical provinces

Canada has eight ecclesiastical provinces: Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Halifax, St. Boniface, and Victoria. To each archiepiscopal see are attached as suffragans one or more episcopal sees or vicariates Apostolic. There are twenty-three bishoprics and three vicariates Apostolic. Newfoundland, which has not yet joined the Dominion, has an archdiocese and two dioceses, and since 1904 has been an ecclesiastical province. The Catholic Church in Canada is immediately dependent on the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda, and contains about 3500 priests and 2,400,000 faithful. On the death of a bishop his colleagues of the same ecclesiastical province send to Rome a list of three names, arranged in order of merit: dignissimus, dignior, dignus, together with a similar list left by the deceased prelate, if an archbishop, and it rests with the Holy See, after making inquiries, to name the bishop. It is different if during his lifetime the bishop is given a coadjutor cum futurâ successione. The coadjutor is chosen by the bishop, who proposes his name to the Holy See. The bishop is completely independent of the State. As soon as he receives the Apostolic Bull he enters upon his functions without any civil formality. The faithful render him homage and obedience at once. In the Province of Quebec the local government accords him recognition and grants him certain rights, e.g. a seat in the Superior council of Public Instruction. In the other provinces in which Protestantism preponderates the bishop acts in his own sphere, side by side with the civil authority but independently.

Bishoprics may for civil corporations, recognized by the State, and thus acquire, possess, or alienate property. The bishop enjoys complete liberty in the nomination to spiritual offices, the erection of parishes, the building of churches and parochial residences. As soon as a parish priest is named he is installed and enters upon his duties. No parish priest is irremovable, except in the cathedral parish at Quebec. In the Province of Quebec the parish priest keeps the civil registers of baptisms, marriages, and deaths, which are accepted by the court. Outside the Province of Quebec the civil register of births, marriages, and deaths is kept by a lay official of the provincial government. The parish priest sends him, once a month or oftener, the parish record of births, marriages, and deaths on a printed form provided for that purpose. In the Province of Quebec the parish priest named by the bishop has a right to tithes, and this right is recognized by the civil authority. This tax tends to change from a tithe in kind to a tithe in money. Where tithes do not exist the support of the priest is provided for by an annual contributions, either voluntary or prescribed by the bishop, or else by church collections. Missions, properly so called, are supported by the Association for the Propagation of the Faith. In canonically established parishes a parochial council (Conseil de fabrique) made up of prominent citizens known as church wardens (marguilliers) administer the church property, under the direction of the parish priest. Outside the Province of Quebec the parish priest alone takes charge of the goods of his church. These, including church-buildings, cemeteries, parochial residences, etc., belong to the episcopal corporation, and it is the bishop who is responsible for them in the eyes of the Government. Members of religious orders are under the same ruling as secular priests, and have no need for property requiring special incorporation; they are always in charge of parishes or missions.

Religious orders and congregations

There are now in Canada more than twenty communities of priests, about ten of brothers, and more than seventy of sisters. The Sulpicians a e not the oldest community, but they have been in the country continually since 1657. They have two large parishes in Montreal, Notre Dame and Saint-Jacques, several chaplaincies, and the management of a college, a seminary, and a school of philosophy, all flourishing institutions with a total of 800 students. The Sulpicians number eighty-four, and support a number of schools, protectories, asylums, and hospitals. The Jesuits who returned in 1842, have 25 houses in Canada, 7 in Alaska, and 309 religious, including 125 priests, 96 scholastics, 88 lay brothers, engaged in various colleges (Montreal and St. Boniface), parishes and missions (Quebec, Sault Sainte Marie, Peterborough, and Hamilton). The Oblates of Mary Immaculate are the apostles of the North-West. The Archbishop of St. Boniface and five bishops of the North-West are members of this congregation, which has about 265 priests and 96 lay brothers, with houses in Quebec, Montreal, and Ottawa, and in the last named city a university, a scholasticate, a juniorate, and several parishes. The Dominican Fathers are located in St. Hyacinthe, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec; the Clerics of St. Viator in Montreal, Joliette, Valleyfield, Quebec, St. Hyacinthe, Ottawa, and St. Boniface; the Fathers of the Holy Cross, with the colleges of Saint-Laurent (Montreal), Memramcook (St. John), and other houses in the dioceses of St. Hyacinthe and Quebec; Basilians, Toronto, Sandwich, London, and Hamilton; Redemptorists, Quebec, Ste. Anne de Beaupré, Montreal, Toronto, St. John, St. Boniface, and Ottawa; Eudists, Halifax, Vicariate Apostolic of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Chatham (N.B.), Rimouski, Chicoutimi, and Valley field; Capuchins, Ottawa, Rimouski and Quebec; Franciscans, Montreal, London, Quebec, and Three Rivers; Trappists, Montreal, Notre-Dame d'Oka, Notre-Dame de Mistassini, Chicoutimi, Notre-Dame des Prairies, St. Boniface, Notre-dame du Calvaire, Chatham (N.B.), and Notre-Dame de Petit Clairveaux, Antigonish; Fathers of the Company of Mary, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, and Victoria; Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, St. Boniface, St. Albert, Prince Albert, and Ottawa; Fathers of St. Vincent de Paul, Quebec and St. Hyacinthe; Fathers of the Holy Ghost, Ottawa; White Fathers of our Lady of Algiers, Quebec; Fathers of the Sacred Heart of Issoudun, Quebec; Fathers of the Most Holy Sacrament, Montreal; Fathers of Chavagnes in the North-West Territory; Carmelites, Toronto; Missionaries of La Salette, St. Boniface, Sherbrooke, and Quebec; Benedictines, Prince Albert; Fathers of the Resurrection, Hamilton. The Brothers of the Christian Schools number nearly 800, with 60 house, 49 of which are in the province of Quebec, and teach about 30,000 children in 6 dioceses. Other institutes from France share this task of education: Brothers of the Sacred Heart, 8 dioceses, 21 houses, 326 religious; Marist Brothers, 5 dioceses, 24 houses, 205 religious; Brothers of Christian Instruction, 8 dioceses, 26 houses, 240 religious; and Brothers of St. Gabriel, 5 dioceses, 19 houses, 120 religious. Mention should also be made of the Brothers of the Cross of Jesus, of St. Francis Xavier, of St. Francis Regis, of Charity, and of the Congregation of Mary.

The oldest communities of women are the Sisters of the Order of Saint Augustine of the Hôtel-Dieu (1639) and the Ursulines (1639), Quebec; then come the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame founded at Montreal (1657) by Venerable Mother Marguerite Bourgeoys, the Hospitalers of St. Joseph (1659), Montreal, and the Hospitalers of the Mercy of Jesus (General Hospital of Quebec, 1693). The eighteenth century saw the foundation of the Grey Nuns (Soeurs Grises) of Montreal by Venerable Madame Marguerite Marie d'Youville (1740). The other communities came from France or arose in Canada during the nineteenth century.

There are also the Little Daughters of St. Joseph (Montreal); the Sisters of Charity (St. John, N.B.); the Sisters of St. Joseph (St. Hyacinthe); the Sisters of our Lady of the Holy Rosary (Rimouski); the Sisters of Perpetual Help (Quebec); the Sisters of Good Counsel (Chicoutimi); Servants of Jesus and Mary (Ottawa). For further information refer to "Le Canada Ecclésiastique", Montreal, 1908. Many orders have come from France in times past, several as the result of recent persecutions. Among those coming from France, we should mention the Ursulines (Quebec, Three Rivers, Chicoutimi, Sherbrooke, Chatham); Hospitalers of the Mercy of Jesus (Quebec); Hospitalers of St. Joseph (Montreal, Nicolet, Kingston, Chatham, London, Alexandria); Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Montreal, Halifax, London); Sisters of the Good Shepherd of Angers (3 dioceses); Sisters of Loreto (Toronto, Hamilton, London); Sisters of the Holy Cross and the Seven Dolours (Montreal, Joliette, Alexandria, Sherbrooke, Pembroke, Ottawa); Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph (Toronto); Sisters of the Presentation (St. Hyacinthe, Nicolet, Sherbrooke, Prince Albert); sisters of Jesus and Mary (Quebec, Rimouski); Sisters of our Lady of Charity of Refuge (Toronto, New Westminster); School Sisters of Notre Dame (Hamilton); Carmelites (Montreal); Daughters of Wisdom (Ottawa, Peterborough, Chatham); Faithful Companions of Jesus (St. Albert); Little Servants of the Poor (Montreal); Servants of the Sacred Heart of Mary (Quebec); Regular Canonesses of the Five Wounds of our Saviour (Ottawa, St. Boniface); Trappistines of Our Lady of Good Counsel (Quebec); Sisters of "l'Espérance" (Montreal); Daughters of Jesus (Three Rivers, Antigonish, Charlottetown, Chatham, St. Albert, Rimouski); Servants of the Blessed Sacrament (Chicoutimi); sisters of Charity of St. Louis (Quebec); Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (Quebec). All of these religious orders, whether founded on Canadian soil or elsewhere (chiefly France), are engaged in all works which call for zeal and devotedness. Nor is it education, prayer, and penance only which have led many devout souls into the religious life, but charity also in all its forms: hospitals, orphanages, kindergartens, cribs, refuges, work-rooms, hospices, asylums, housekeeping in colleges, find at all times an army of willing servants and helpers.

Universities and colleges

Higher education is entirely in the hands of the clergy. Besides the Laval University at Quebec and Montreal, endowed with the four faculties, theology, Arts, Medicine, and Law, and having also a scientific department at Montreal, mention should be made of the University of Ottawa, opened and conducted by the Oblate Fathers. Certain colleges, as that of Memramcook (N.B.) And St. Francis Xavier's at Antigonish (N.S.), are known as universities, which means that they can confer the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The Jesuit Colleges of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Mary at Montreal are affiliated to Laval University, by which the degrees are granted. Those of St. Boniface (Jesuit) and of St. Michael (Basilian) are affiliated to neighbouring State universities. In the Province of Quebec each college conducted by secular priests forms a corporation. The priests who constitute its staff receive from it their board, lodging, and a modest stipend. If they give up teaching the bishop assigns them a position in the diocese, and they cease to belong to the corporation. They may, however, remain in the college, rendering such services as their years and health permit. Some idea of the devoted zeal of the priests may be gathered from the fact that for a long time their stipend was only forty dollars a year, and at present it never exceeds one hundred dollars. Religious do not receive any pecuniary compensation.

Other leading educational institutions are: College of St. Michael, Toronto, 1851, under the Basilian Fathers; of St. Jerome, Berlin (Hamilton), Fathers of the Resurrection; of St. Mary (Halifax), priests of the diocese; of St. Joseph, St. Boniface (1855), Jesuit Fathers; of St. Mary, Victoria (1903); of St. Albert, Oblate Fathers (1900). It may be added that in many colleges there is a course in theology, which is followed by seminarians, who act as disciplinarians in the college.

The four principal centres of theological studies in Canada are: the seminary (grand séminaire) at Montreal (1840) and those of Quebec, Ottawa, and Halifax. The first two seminaries constitute the theological faculty of Laval University, and can confer any theological degree, even that of Doctor of Theology. The Seminary of Quebec has 150 students in theology; that of Montreal about 300. The former goes back to Bishop Laval; the latter was founded in 1840 by the Sulpicians. It is attended by aspirants to the priesthood from more than forty dioceses of Canada and the United Stat es, and has given more than thirty bishops to the Church of America. The Sulpicians have also founded a philosophical seminary which has 130 students, and have opened the Canadian College in Rome, to which the most intelligent of the young clergy of the Dominion are sent. These two houses were the work of M. Colin (d. 1902), superior of Saint-Sulpice at Montreal, who asked his community for $400,000 to build them. The seminary of Ottawa is under the Oblate Fathers, and that of Halifax under the Eudists.

Primary instruction is given by religious and secular teachers of both sexes. In the Province of Quebec Catholic primary instruction is under the control of a committee composed of the bishops of the province and an equal number of Catholic laymen; the Protestant Committee exercises similar functions with regard to school matters in which Protestants are exclusively concerned. The two committees united form the Council of Public Instruction, which has charge of questions in which Catholics and Protestants are collectively concerned. The Superintendent of Education is president of this council ex officio. The control and regulation of primary education in the Quebec province is outside of politics. In that province the normal schools for the training of teachers are also in the hands of the clergy. In the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan (created in 1905), the Catholics in each school district have also the right of separate schools, i.e. they have the legal guaranteed right of separating from the majority, setting up a school district of their own, electing their own trustees, levying their own taxes, and of hiring their own teacher, a religious if they desire, but one who has undergone examination in the regular way and received a licence from the Board of Education. The school thus constituted must be conducted according to the regulations of the Board of Education, and be subject to government inspection. In the other provinces separate schools are not recognized by law, although in New Brunswick the Catholic schools a re practically separate. In Manitoba the school question has been regulated, though unsatisfactorily, by the Laurier-Greenway Compromise already mentioned. In the North-West Territories separate schools are supported by the State.

Missions

Some traces of the Indian missions of the seventeenth century still exist. In the ecclesiastical province of Halifax are to be found several groups of Catholic Micmac and Abnaki; in the Diocese of Quebec, a Huron parish, Our Lady of Loreto; in that of Montreal, two Iroquois parishes, Caughnawaga (2060 Indians) and Oka, or the Lake of the Two Mountains (75 families); in the Diocese of Valleyfield, the Iroquois Catholic centre of Saint Régis. These, however, are exceptions. The real missions of Canada at present are in the North-East, along the coast of Labrador; in the North on the shores of Hudson Bay; and especially in the North-West, in the immense territories which stretch from Ontario to Lower Mackenzie and Alaska. In the North-East the vicariate Apostolic of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, confided to the Eudist Fathers, contains 12,0000 Catholics: among them some Eskimo, Nascapi, and Montagnais, ministered to by twenty missionaries. To the West there are a number of missions in the Dioceses of Pembroke, Peterborough and Sault Sainte Marie. The Oblate Fathers, the Jesuits, and secular priests rival one another in their efforts to preserve and extend the Faith in the region between the Great Lakes and James Bay.

Lastly thee are the missions of the North-West and British Columbia, the most important of all. They comprise the ecclesiastical province of St. Boniface, and, with the exception of Vancouver, that of Victoria, in both of which the Oblate Fathers have many prosperous missions. The secular clergy, the pioneer missionaries of British Columbia, are still in charge of most of the inhabitants of Vancouver Island; as the country is becoming more thickly populated, the number of secular priests is increasing in British Columbia and in the province of St. Boniface. These provinces include the Dioceses of St. Albert, New Westminster, and Prince Albert, and two vicariates apostolic: Athabasca and Mackenzie-Yukon. Most of these ecclesiastical divisions are under Oblate bishops, with about 230 Oblate Fathers, assisted by lay brothers of the same congregation. A hundred secular priests and a large number of religious of both sexes are scattered throughout the North-West, their numbers having been considerably augmented by the latest persecutions in France. The Christian Indians belong to the Algonquin race, and are commonly known as Kristinous or Cree, though they call themselves Nehivourik. According to a recent estimate they number 45,000. British Columbia contains 26,000 Indians, but of a different race. The devotion of the missionaries also extends to the numerous half-breeds in the "Far West", and to the settlers of every race and nationality. In these immense regions, which in 1845 had only one bishop and six priests, there was in 1908 a hierarchy of seven bishops and nearly 400 priests, regular and secular. There are over 150,000 Catholics with more than 420 churches, 150 schools, and many charitable institutions. This wonderful progress is due chiefly to the work of the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate. The history of the evangelization of the North-West is one of the most interesting in the annals of Catholic missions, and its final page has not yet been written. (See OBLATES.)

Conclusion

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The Catholics of Canada, 2,229,600 faithful (census of 1901), form 42 per cent of the total population of 5,371,315. Of these Catholics, 1,430,000, viz. about three-fifths, are in the province of Quebec, the remaining 800,000 being scattered throughout the different parts of the Dominion, more or less intermingled with the Protestants. Catholicism gains chiefly by the birth-rate. Its numbers were thus increased during the last ten years by 250,000, a gain which exceeds that of all the Protestant sects combined. In the ordinary intercourse of life Catholics and Protestants live in concord and work together harmoniously for the common welfare of Canada. See the articles BRITISH COLUMBIA; NEW BRUNSWICK; MANITOBA; NOVA SCOTIA; ONTARIO; QUEBEC; PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND; SASKATCHEWAN (ALBERTA); NORTH-WEST TERRITORIES; KEEWATIN; YUKON; ATHABASCA; MACKENZIE; UNGAVA.

Sources

GENERAL HISTORY OF CANADA. - CHARLEVOIX, Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle-France (13 vols., Paris, 1744); Relations des Jésuites (3 vols., Quebec, 1858); these two works, as well as the Relations inédites de la Nouvelle-France (1672-1779) (2 vols., Paris, 1861), and other documents, have been collected and published with an English tr. By THWAITES, The Jesuit Relations (1610-1791) (73 vols., Cleveland, Ohio, 1896 - 1901); SAGARD, Histoire du Canada et Voyages que les Peres récollets y ont faits (3 vols., Paris, 1636); SIXTUS LE TAC, Histoire chronologique de la Nouvelle-France ou Canada, ed. REVEILLAUD (Paris, 1888); LECLERC, Etablissement de la foi dans la Nouvelle-France (Paris, 1690); HENNEPIN, Nouvelle découverte d'un tres grand pays situé dans l'Amérique (1697-98); BRESSANI, Relation abrégée de quelques missions des Peres de la Compagnie de Jésus, tr. from the Italian by MARTIN (Montreal, 1852); DIONNE, La Nouvelle-France de Cartier â Champlain (1540-1603) (Quebec, 1891); FAILLON, Histoire de la Colonie française du Canada (3 vols., Montreal, 1865); FERLAND, Cours d'histoire du Canada (from the beginning to 1760) (Quebec, 1861-1865); GARNEAU, Histoire du Canada (to 1841) (3 vols., Quebec, 1845-48); TURCOTTE, Le Canada sous l'Union (1841-1867) (2 vols., Quebec); RAMEAU, La France aux Colonies (Paris, 1859); DE ROCHEMONTEIX, Les Jésuites et la Nouvelle-France (3 vols., Paris 1896); PARKMAN, The Jesuits in North America (Boston, 1880); Pioneers of France in the New World; GUENIN, La Nouvelle-France (Paris, 1900); RAGEY, Une nouvelle France (Paris, 1901); TETU, Les évéques de Québec (Quebec, 1889); PAGNUELO, Etudes historiques et légales sur la liberté religieuse en Canada (Montreal, 1872); CHRISTIE, History of the late Province of Lower Canada, parliamentary and political (6 vols., Quebec, 1842); TANGUAY, Répertoire du clergé canadien (Quebec, 1868-69); MARGRY, Mémoires et documents pour servir â l'histoire des origines françaises des pays d'Outre-Mer (Paris, 1878-88); GUERARD, La France canadienne, situation religieuse in Le Correspondant, 1877; GOSSELIN, L'Église du Canada, in Revue du clergé francais (1895); Mandements et Lettres des évêques de Québec (6 vols., Quebec, 1888-89); MEILLEUR, Mémorial de l'Education du Bas-Canada (Quebec, 1876); CHAPAIS, Jean tallon, intendant de la Nouvelle-France (Quebec, 1904); ROCHEMONTEIX, Les Jésuites et la Nouvelle-France au XVIIIe Siecle (1906); EWART, The Manitoba School Question; HOWLEY, Canadian Sketches in Ir.Ec.Rec., XI (1890), 43-53; hughes, Quebec and the French Canadians in The Messenger (New York), 1898, 1122-26; The Separate School Question in Canada, ibid., 1905, 477-92; MCKENNA, A Century of Catholicity in Canada in The Catholic World (New York). L., 229-39; ELLIOT, The Missionary Outlook in Canada, ibid., LXIII, 391-96; SHEA, Why is Canada not a Part of the U.S. in U.S. Cath. Hist. Mag., III (1890). 113-27; GRIFFIN, Father Lotbiniere, a Canadian patriot of the Eighteenth Cent. In Am. Cath. Hist. Soc. Res., XV (1903), 69-82.

II. SPECIAL WORKS. - (1) QUEBEC: CASGRAIN, Hist. De la Mere Marie de l'Incarnation, preceded by a sketch of the religious history of the early years of this colony (Quebec, 1878); Lettres de Mere Marie de l'Incarnation (Paris, 1684); GOSSELIN, Vie de Mgr. De Laval, premier évéque de Québec (1622-1708) (2 vols., Quebec, 1882); TETU, Histoire du palais épiscopal de Québec (1896); ROY, L'Université Laval et les fêtes du cinquantenaire (Quebec, 1903); (2) MONTREAL: CASSON, Histoire de Montréal (Montreal, 1869); FAILLON, Vie de la Mere Bourgeoys (Paris, 1853); Vie de Mle Mance, fondatrice de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Ville-Marie (Paris, 1854); Vie de Mme. d'Youville, fondatrice des S urs Grises (Paris, 1852); BRUMATH, Histoire populaire de Montréal (Montreal, 1890); Mandements et circulaires des évêques de Montréal (10 vols., Montreal, 1887); Mémoires et documents relatifs â l'histoire du Canada (9 vols., Historical Society of Montreal, 1859 - 80); Le diocese de Montréal â la fin du XIXe siecle (Montreal, 1900); L'organisation de l'église au Canada, in Le Correspondant (October, 1906). (3) ACADIA: RAMEAU DE SAINT-PERE, Une colonie feodale en Amerique, l'Acadie (2 vols., Paris, 1889); CASGRAIN, Un pelerinage au pays d'Evangéline (Quebec, 1888); IDEM, Les Sulpiciens et les prêtres des Missions Etrangeres en Acadie (1676-1762) (Quebec, 1897); RICHARD, Acadia, Missing links of a lost chapter of American story (2 vols. Montreal, 1895); POIRIER, Le P. Lefebvre et l'Acadie (Montreal, 1898); MAURAULT, Histoire de l'Acadie française (1598 - 1755), (Paris, 1873). (4) THE NORTH-WEST: Les missions catholiques (Lyons); Annales de la propagation de la Foi (Lyons); PIOLET, La France au dehors (Paris, 1903), VI, Amerique; DOM BENEDICT, Vie de Mgr. Taché, archevêque de Saint-Boniface (St. Boniface, 1905); JONQUET, Vie de Mgr. Grandin, évêque de Saint-Albert (Montreal, 1904); TASSE, Les Canadiens de l'Ouest (2 vols., Montreal, 1878), TACHE, Vingt anneé de missions dans le Nord-Ouest de l'Amérique (Montreal, 1866); Edquisse sur le Nord-Ouest de l'Amérique (Montreal, 1869); DUGAS, Mgr. Provencher et les Missions de la Riviere Rouge (Montreal, 1889); COOKE, Sketches of the Life of Mgr. De Mazenod (2 vols. London, 1879), ARNOULD, La vie religieuse au Canada, in Le correspondant (Oct., 1906); Le Canada ecclésiastique (Montreal, 1908).

About this page

APA citation. Fournet, P.A. (1908). Catholicity in Canada. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03231a.htm

MLA citation. Fournet, Pierre Auguste. "Catholicity in Canada." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03231a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Ted Rego. Dedicated to the Canadians of the Province of Quebec — Consacré à les canadiens de la province du Québec.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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