The paragraphs below provide a brief description of the life of Jeanne Mance as outlined on various Internet sites which describe her contributions to the founding of New France.  Links are provided below to these sites.  This page is not meant to provide a complete view of Ms. Mance’s life but is, instead, provided to show the connection between Jeanne Mance and my ancestors, Jean Roy and Francoise HYPERLINK ""BouetHYPERLINK "".


JEANNE MANCE (baptized 12 Nov 1606) was the Foundress of the Montreal (Ville Marie) Hôtel-Dieu hospital.  She was one of the first women settlers in Canada and is considered to be the co-founder of Montreal (along with Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve).  (Biography) 

In 1640, Jeanne learned from her cousin of opportunities to do mission work amongst the aboriginal people of New France (Canada).  So with an introduction from her cousin, she went to Paris, where she met with Father Charles Lalemant, priest in charge of the Jesuits in Canada. He in turn, introduced her to Madame Angélique de Bullion, widow of the French Superintendent of Finance under Louis XIII and daughter of the King's secretary. Angelique was a very wealthy and powerful woman and it was her who proposed that Jeanne Mance establish a hospital similar to the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, at Ville Marie. The only stipulation was that Angelique's name be kept out of it, and it wasn’t until after her death that others learned of her generosity. So in May of 1641, Jeanne Mance boarded one of two ships leaving for New France, and with Governor Maisonneuve, founded Montreal in September 1642.  The foundation agreement for The Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal was signed in Paris on January 12, 1644 and the hospital was built the following year.  Jeanne’s 'secret' benefactress sent furnishings and supplies and the hospital was soon open for business.

Not large, the wooden building measured 60 feet long by 24 feet wide, with six beds for men and two beds for women. It was surrounded by a stockade and a trench and served Montreal until 1654, when a larger building was constructed.  (One Woman’s Devotion)(The Angel of Ville Marie)

In 1650 she visited France in the interests of the colony, and brought back 22,000 livres of the 60,000 set apart by Madame de Bullion for the foundation of the hospital.

Back in Montreal by 1651, Jeanne realized that the struggle against the Iroquois had become more and more bloody and recurrent. “The Iroquois,” wrote Sulpician Priest Francois Dollier de Casson, “having no more atrocities to commit . . . because there were no more Hurons to destroy, . . . turned their attention towards the île de Montreal . . . ; there is not a month in this summer when our book of the dead has not been stained in red letters by the hands of the Iroquois.” Jeanne Mance had to close the hospital and take refuge in the fort. All the settlers did the same. On the abandoned sites it was necessary to put garrisons; “we were getting fewer every day,” added Dollier de Casson.  (Note: The attacks by the Iroquois had been going on since shortly after the settlement of Montreal.)

At the end of the summer of 1651 Governor M. de Maisonneuve, discouraged, and even profoundly distressed at the sight of settlers whom he loved and had undertaken to protect falling continually around him, resolved to bring an end to this slaughter at whatever cost. It was clear that they would all meet the same fate sooner or later. He would go to France, and try to obtain assistance in order to bring a good number of soldiers back to Ville-Marie. Or else, if he failed to gain the support of the Associates of Montreal, he would abandon the undertaking and order the settlers to return to France.

It was then that Jeanne intervened. She went to M. de Maisonneuve’s house and said to him that “she advised him to go to France, that the foundress had given her for the hospital 22,000 livres, which were in a certain place that she pointed out to him, – and that she would give him the money so that he could get help.” M. de Maisonneuve accepted the proposal in principle. Before making a final decision he wanted to pray, meditate, and consult the chaplains. He was also thinking about the way to compensate Madame de Bullion for the loss of the capital that she was putting at his disposal. He sailed for France a few weeks later. By her advice to the Governor, Jeanne Mance had just saved Montreal, for M. de Maisonneuve came back with help.  (La Grande HYPERLINK ""RecrueHYPERLINK "" de 1653) (Carignan-Salieres Regiment)

In January 1657, Jeanne fell on the ice and suffered a broken forearm, became incapacitated and had to withdraw from her nursing duties.  Although she had longed for additional help at Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, she needed the assistance of Hospitallers now more than ever.  

In 1658 Jeanne made a second trip to France to secure religious women/nuns to assist her in her work as well as obtain medical attention for her painful and incapacitating forearm/wrist fracture.  On 2 February 1659 while in Paris, Jeanne prayed at Saint-Sulpice where Father Jean Jacques Olier's (founder of the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice) heart had been preserved.  Supposedly, Jeanne was miraculously cured.  (Jeanne HYPERLINK ""Mance)

Before leaving France, Jeanne and Marguerite Bourgeoys went to La Flèche, to receive the three Daughter Hospitallers of St. Joseph from the convent of La Flèche (Judith Moreau de Bresoles, Catherine Mace, and Marie Maillet) that had been chosen by Jérôme le Royer for this Canadian foundation.  (Jérôme le Royer had worked unceasingly with Father Jean Jacques Olier to found the Notre-Dame de Montréal Society which acquired the title to the Island of Montreal and began to accumulate supplies for the ocean voyage.  Mr. le Royer successfully recruited Paul de Chomedy, sieur de Maisonneuve to lead the expedition.) 

Before leaving La Flèche, several families were recruited to accompany Jeanne Mance on the return trip to Montreal.  Many of these families were from village of Marans – a short distance from La Rochelle.  Included in this group was my ancestor – Jean Roy.  Jean’s name is included in a contract dated May 5, 1659 between Jeanne Mance, residing on the Island of Montréal, and Jacques Mousnier, merchant of La Rochelle, for the transport to Québec, aboard the ship Saint-André, of 31 persons, including women and children.

Contract (Jean Roy’s name is listed on line 10 – middle of the page)

Before leaving for New France, however, Jean Roy was united in marriage to Francoise Bouhet/Bouet.  Jean and Francoise were married in La Rochelle (Department of Charente Maritime) on 5 June 1659 at Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes.  Surprisingly, Jeanne Mance witnessed and signed the couple’s marriage record:

Copy of marriage record

On July 2, 1659 – less than one month after their marriage, Jean Roy and Francoise Bouet set sail with Jeanne Mance aboard the Saint-André.  Also on board the ship was Simon Cardinal (Cardinau) and his wife, Michelle Garnier.  Supposedly, Simon Cardinal was the uncle of Francoise Bouhet/Bouet but, to date, their connection has not been established via sacramental records.  Other passengers were Oliver CHARBONNEAU and his wife, Marie, who was the sister of Michelle Garnier as well as Pierre Goguet (listed as Goyet) and his wife, Louise (also a sister of Michelle Garnier).

Saint-Andre Ship List

The Saint-Andre had been previously used as a floating hospital and was likely not properly sanitized.  This resulted in a rough passage as the plague broke out on board. About 8 people fell ill and died during the voyage and were buried at sea. They arrived in Quebec on 7 September 1659.  And another 10 died shortly after their arrival.  The remaining passengers were the first colonists to settle on the high hill of the St. Lawrence, a town known as "Ville Marie."