Montreal Founded On A Vision!

English: Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal...
Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The beginning of Montreal was based on a vision.  Do you know the story?

In 1635, Jerome de la Dauversière, a tax collector in Anjou, had a vision of an island called Montreal.  He felt inspired to found an order of nuns who would set up a hospital there.  Dauversière had never heard of Montreal, so he went to Paris to learn something about it.  On the way, he met a priest, Jacques Olier, and together they founded the Sulpician order, which secured a grant of the island.  A distinguished crusader and warrior, the Sieur de Maisonneuve, agreed to go as governor.

The party arrived at Quebec in August 1641, but Governor Montmagny was opposed to their going farther up the river, knowing the danger from the Iroquois.  He tried to get them to set up a mission on the Island of Orleans, below Quebec.

Maisonneuve said, “Were all the trees on the island of Montreal to be changed into so many Iroquois, it is a point of duty and honour for me to go there and establish a colony.”  The winter was spent building boats and they began their journey on May 8, Montmagny going with them.

The morning of May 18 was clear, with sunshine touching the top of Mount Royal and lighting up the forests.  Maisonneuve went on shore first and dropped to his knees in prayer.  The twenty other members of the party followed.  The actual place was where a small stream they named St. Pierre flowed into the St. Lawrence.  Now it is an area of tall buildings.

An altar was built, and Father Vimont conducted the first Mass while soldiers with muskets stood guard.  At the Mass, Father Vimont uttered some prophetic words: “That which you see is only a grain of mustard seed.  But it is cast by hands so pious and so animated by faith and religion that it must be that God has great designs for it.  He makes use of such instruments for His work.  I doubt not that this little grain may produce a great tree, that it will make wonderful progress some day, that it will multiply itself and stretch out on  every side.”

Quite an interesting story, I thought. If you want to learn even more about this, I’ve found a few places to go for that. I suggest reading St. Joseph’s Continuring Care Centre; and Canada is very interesting; and another good read is at the Encyclopedia of French Cultural Heritage in North America; and lastly, the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.


    • Yes, he had an interesting story to tell, that’s for sure! I went there many times when I lived in Montreal. For some reason, I felt his presence, and it was nice! 🙂


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