The Church in New France

The Church
 Nearly all people in New France were Roman Catholic because the law said
only Catholics could settle in New France
 Once settlers came, more priests were needed for seigneuries and
hospitals, education and charities became important church areas
 Laval started a seminary in 1663!
 Church was consulted in government decisions
 Didn’t raise as much money as the church in France did
Religious Role
 Churches were small wooden or stone buildings
 Priests would travel from area to area and performed:
o Spiritual service (Mass, confession, baptisms, marriages etc.)
o Legal service (wills, contracts)
o Government service (registered births/deaths, relayed gov’t
o Personal service (gossip and news)
 Centre of habitants’ social and religious lives
 Priests tried to provide leadership
 Missionary work continued
Health Care
 Church cared for sick, elderly, orphans and those with disabilities, which
normally fell to the family
 Became work of the nuns (Ursuline nuns established first hospital in 1639)
Education Role
 Church was only source of education (reading and writing in Latin and
French, and arithmetic)
 Many didn’t get schooling, but girls got better schooling than their brothers
which was different than in Europe