A Knight of Malta Lends His Name to a Christian Algonquin Settlement in New France

June 16, 2022

Photo by G.Garitan

Noel Brulart de Sillery, a Knight of Malta, who had once filled the highest offices under the Queen Marie de Médicis, had now severed his connection with his Order, renounced the world, and become a priest. He devoted his vast revenues . . . to the founding of religious establishments. Among other endowments, he had placed an ample fund in the hands of the Jesuits for the formation of a settlement of Christian Indians at the spot which still bears his name. On the strand of Sillery, between the river and the woody heights behind, were clustered the small log-cabins of a number of Algonquin converts, together with a church, a mission house, and an infirmary—the whole surrounded by a palisade. It was to this place that the six nuns were now conducted by the Jesuits. The scene delighted and edified them; and, in the transports of their zeal, they seized and kissed every female Indian child on whom they could lay hands, “without minding,” says Father Le Jeune, “whether they were dirty or not.” “Love and charity,” he adds, “triumphed over every human consideration.”

Francis Parkman, The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1897, 1:275–76.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 833

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