April 30th, 1623 - May 6th, 1708
French prelate. Vicar Apostolic in Quebec in 1659. First bishop of Quebec in New France in 1674. Beatified by John Paul II on June 22, 1980
François de Montmorency de Laval was born in France. A Jesuit missionary, he left for New France in 1659, where he would be in charge of religious life within the colony. At that time, there were few priests in New France, and he therefore decided to found a school, the Grand Séminaire de Québec, in order to train up new priests who would be responsible for organizing the religious life of the settlers. His political role was important since, with the agreement of the King of France, he forbade the trading of raw spirits for fur with the American Indians. He also allowed the setting up of new churches, schools and charities.
Today, there remain a number of traces that remind us of Monseigneur de
Laval’s presence in New France. For example, in the city of Québec, we can see the Grand Séminaire, the Petit Séminaire, and the museum; while in Laval, amongst other locations, there is a secondary school that bears his name. We may note also that towns are still divided up into parishes.
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