Articles - An Analysis of Liturgical Textiles at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons1


An Analysis of Liturgical Textiles at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons1

Joyce Taylor Dawson
McMaster University


This paper discusses the liturgical vestments and textiles that were in use at the Jesuit mission of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons during its existence from 1639 to 1649. An examination of primary source data such as that available in the Jesuit Relations shows that a full range of ecclesiastical textiles was in use at the site and that these items would have come directly from France and/or Rome and would have been made in the fabrics, styles, and designs of the period. Information obtained from this study will be used in the reproduction of liturgical vestments and textiles as a part of the interpretive programme at the reconstruction of the mission at Midland, Ontario.


Cette recherche fait l'examen des vêtements et des textiles liturgiques qu'utilisaient les jésuites à la mission Sainte-Marie, chez les Hurons, entre 1639 et 1649. à cette fin, des sources primaires telles que les Relations des jésuites ont été consultées. L'étude a révélé que les missionnaires disposaient d'un éventail complet de textiles ecclésiastiques apportés directement de France ou de Rome, probablement similaires par les tissus, le style et les modèles aux vêtements sacerdotaux de l'époque. L'information recueillie au cours de cette recherche permettra de réaliser des reproductions de vêtements et de textiles liturgiques qui seront exposés dans l'édifice reconstitué de la mission à Midland (Ontario), dans le cadre d'un programme éducatif.


1 This study was done to ascertain the specific nature of the liturgical vestments and accessories in use at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons during its existence (1639 to 1649). The research involved an analysis of primary source data. Planning was based upon a set of questions posed in a project summary provided by the curator of the historic site at Midland, Ontario (see Appendix A). The information was used to formulate recommendations for the reproduction and use of textiles as interpretive tools on the present-day reconstruction of the site. This article will deal only with the research part of the project. Further information on recommendations made and carried out may be had by contacting supervisory staff at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons.

2 Prior to dealing with the research data and analysis, it is necessary to briefly discuss the sources used in this research. There is an abundance of primary source data from this period, and although at first reading these data would not have appeared to be sufficient, on further consideration they proved more than adequate in providing a solid basis for the conclusions drawn in this research.

3 The first, and clearly most important source of data for this study was the Jesuit Relations.2 Of the seventy-two available, Volumes 5 to 32 were found to be those relevant to this study. These volumes deal with the establishment of the Jesuit missions, first at Québec and later at Huronia (that is, the lands of the Huron Indians, near Midland, Ontario). In addition, the Annales of two orders of nuns, the Ursulines of Paris and Québec and the Augustinians, or Hospitalières, of the Hôtel Dieu at Québec, were also consulted.3 To a lesser extent, the Galeas4 (those which are available in translation from the Latin), the letters and spiritual writings of Mère Marie de l'Incarnation,5 and some of the spiritual writings of those priests who were at the site, such as Jean de Brébeuf6 and Charles Gamier, were also consulted.7

4 The Jesuit Relations were scanned for the years 1633 to 1650 in order to locate references significant to the formulation of a list of textiles that would have been used on the site by the Jesuits in their religious observances at Saint-Marie. To properly assess these writings, however, an understanding of the original purposes of the Relations, and of the effect the published documents had upon those individuals and institutions inclined to support the missions, was necessary. François Roustang, SJ, in his book, An Autobiography of Martyrdom, outlines the obligations of the Jesuit missionary to provide his superiors with information on a regular, or annual, basis about the activities, both spiritual and temporal, of the missions.8 He also provides specific information regarding the Jesuits of New France and the Relations.

5 "From the beginning," says Roustang, "...St. Ignatius had set forth the principle of writing letters to describe the apostolic fruits reaped by the missionaries - letters which would be shown to persons who were not familiar with the work of the order." He goes on to quote St. Ignatius who stated, "In the principle letter, you will write what each of you does - sermons, confessions, spiritual exercises, and other works - according to what God our Lord has directed in regard to each of you; this shall be for the edification of your hearers and readers. You will reserve more private matters for letters attached to these: dates on which you received letters and the spiritual sentiments they evoked, any illness, business or other news. You can amplify it if you wish by words of exhortation."9

6 The foregoing explains, to a large extent, what type of information is actually to be found in the Relations from New France and how we, as readers, should interpret this information. The word "edification" seems to be the key. Without going into greater detail at this point, it is not surprising therefore that very little in the way of specifics with regard to textiles is to be found in these writings. What these writings mainly contained was a general impression about the practice of the rites of the Roman Catholic Church in Huronia, a subject which will be dealt with in greater detail hereafter.

7 As one would expect, given the limitations of information written in the Relations, individual letters from the missionaries to persons in France and Rome provide more details regarding life in the missions of Huronia. Charles Garnier, as an example, requested some very specific images and textiles in a letter from Teanaustayae (one of the seven outlying missions attached to Sainte-Marie) dated 1645(?) in a letter to his brother in France.10 Presumably, if Garnier felt free to ask these favours of his family members, then perhaps similar requests were made by others connected with the mission, others whose letters have not survived.

8 It would be impractical in this article to give detailed references from all the above-mentioned sources. As such, only those considered to be of primary importance to this study, that is, the Jesuit Relations and selected letters and writings of the missionaries themselves, will be cited. However, the impression gained from reading the other sources mentioned was one of an apostolic effort of incredible magnitude. The publication of the Relations year by year had an ever-increasing effect in France and Rome as they became better known and more widely read. The letters and spiritual writings of individuals like Mère Marie de l'Incarnation of the Ursulines of Québec greatly added to this effect, enhancing information and constantly encouraging the support of the missions by those in France who had the will and the means to do so.

Discipline and Obligations to the "Rule" of the Order

9 In 1635, Paul Lejeune seemed delighted to report in a letter, "We were greatly astonished and infinitely glad to observe that in our little cabins and in our settlements religious discipline is as strictly observed as it is in the largest houses in France."11 This reference from Québec no doubt referred not only to the discipline of the settlers of New France, but also to the conduct of the clergy charged with their care. Nearly twelve years later we find a similar comment from Father Ragueneau regarding the state of Huronia. "To make an end of writing without exceeding the limit of a letter, I will add - what should have been written first of all to your Paternity - that such is the condition of this house, and indeed this whole mission, that I think hardly anything could be added to the piety, obedience, humility, patience and charity of our brethern, and to this scrupulous observance of the rules." (Ragueneau to Caraffa, General of the Order in Rome, in reply to a request for information about Huronia.)12

10 The rules and observances of the Jesuit order are plainly set out for its members to follow. The principle of writing relations, as previously mentioned, is a good example of this. In the scanning of the Relations it is important to remember that what was observed as a matter of course was not mentioned. Whenever the rules were broken or circumvented in some way with regard to the liturgy, however, these incidents seem to have been noted. As an example, Father Vimont states in his report in the Journal des Jésuites for 1645-1646 that on St. Mark's day ".. .violet was used on that day, which was not proper."13 With regard to textiles, what was not said in the Relations would seem to be as important as what actually was said. Certain requirements with regard to vestments and altar dressings were obviously always met. Should this not have been the case, it would have undoubtedly occasioned a mention, whereas to have them would have required no such notation. Put in more specific terms, no examples such as "I could not perform a baptism without the aid of..." or "this or that being absent hindered the saying of Mass according to the rule" appear.14.

11 What this lack of comment seems to mean is that the missions were in fact well-supplied with those sacerdotal vestments required for the Mass. In addition, those vestments and altar dressings that had been supplied were apparently neither poor, nor were they very rich, textiles. One of the aspects that might have caused comment on receipt would have been a vestment or perhaps ornament that had some special feature, for example, a particularly symbolic medallion on a frontal or chasuble. No mention of such items was found in the volumes relevant to this study. Other items, such as images, which when received had a particular effect, were, in fact, mentioned, as in this notation in the Relation of Ragueneau from Huronia in 1646, "...he had been told that, in our house at Sainte Marie, we kept a very beautiful image of the Blessed Virgin."15 Given this lack of comment, certain assumptions can be made regarding the vestments and altar appointments at Sainte-Marie. These will be dealt with in the following section in greater detail.

Communications with Québec and France

12 Communications from the mission at Saint-Marie in terms of the supplying of all that was needed vis-à-vis liturgical textiles were clearly very important. Besides the information contained in the Relations, the verbal communication of the needs of the missions was not a luxury but a necessity. The purpose of the Relations - to edity its readers and hearers - has already been dealt with in the introduction to this study. Therefore it can be seen that the communication of the needs of the mission in precise terms had to be left to either the letters of individuals attached to the Relations or to the verbal communications imparted by those who had the opportunity to do so. The position of "procurator" both in France and in Québec was always held by someone who had actually been in New France and consequently was aware not only of the requirements, but also of the conditions that transportation imposed upon the meeting of those requirements.

13 The constant comings and goings of missionaries and supplies to and from Huronia also provided opportunities for verbal communications. This is particularly noted in the following report from Huronia by Father LeMercier to Lejeune, Superior at Québec: "I am going to our new Residence to take the place of Father Pijart, who is coming here to prepare for the voyage. The Father Superior sends him to Kebec that he may confer with your Reverence, by word of mouth on all that concerns the welfare of this mission."16

14 In the same volume Lejeune, in his Relation of 1638, written from Three Rivers, tells of the sending of Charles Lalement to France with the same purpose in mind. "Father Charles Lalement, who is going to France to look after our affairs instead of Father Quentin, will relate verbally what I cannot record upon paper without tediousness."17 Later, in the Journal des Jésuites for 1644, we are told that "Father Quentin and brother Liègois, procurer in the Country came and went in the vessels [from and to France]."18 Another valuable link to France was provided by the return to New France of Isaac Jogues. He had been captured by the Iroquois in 1647 and subsequently returned to the mother country. In Jerome Lalement's Relation of 1647 to the Provincial Charlet in France, he tells of Jogues' meeting with the Queen. "From Rennes he comes to Paris; the Queen having heard mention of his sufferings, says aloud: 'Romances are feigned; but here is a genuine combination of great adventures.' She wished to see him; her eyes were touched with compassion at the sight of the cruelty of the Hiroquois. "19 If the Queen was touched by his sufferings, one can only imagine how impressed she must have been at his zealous desire to return to New France and the missions. Such meetings and communication can only have aided greatly the interest and support showed by the court of France.

15 In summary, then, it is obvious that much of the communication of the needs of the mission (this would, of course, include liturgical textiles and vestments) was, in fact, done verbally. This reinforces the argument, that simply because textiles were not mentioned in the Relations one cannot assume that they did not exist. In fact, the opposite seems clear.

Liturgical Textiles on Site at Sainte-Marie

16 In dealing with the problem of identifying precisely what was at Sainte-Marie in the way of liturgical textiles, the main reference source proved once again to be the Jesuit Relations. When these were scanned for specific textile terms, there was little or nothing relating directly to Sainte-Marie. However, if one assumed that the mission was supplied with all of the necessities, and then read the Relations for descriptions of events and feasts for instance, a wealth of information emerged.

17 The assumption that Sainte-Marie was well-supplied with all items necessary for the proper performance of the rites of the Church had to be based on documentation to be valid and was indeed so. The mere absence of requests for accoutrements for the Mass would seem to be a reasonable indicator. In 1638, Father DuPeron, writing from La Conception in Huronia to his brother in France stated, "The importunity of the savages...does not prevent our observance of hours, as well regulated as in one of our colleges in France." And later in the same letter, "On great holy days mass is celebrated."20 In 1635, Brébeuf noted, in a letter from Huronia, "that discipline was as strictly observed as in the large colleges of France."21 Add to this the Jesuit tradition of strict adherence to the rites and liturgy as prescribed by Rome and one must assume therefore that the lack of mention of needed textiles is a good indicator that they were already sufficiently supplied. Also, as the central depot for the surrounding missions, Sainte-Marie must have, of necessity, maintained a goodly store of these materials. The lack of any mention in letters from the site, which were sent in addition to those published in the Jesuit Relations, of needs of this type would seem to be yet another reason to accept this assumption.

18 As in any research of this type, certain exceptions were found to what was usual and Charles Garnier's letter to his brother in France of 1645(?) [the precise date is unknown but it is agreed that this is the most probable year] was one of the most notable of these. In it Gamier described some alms which he was asking of friends and relatives in France. While the body of the letter dealt mostly with requests for images, he did mention a need for a piece of cloth for his altar at the mission at Teanaustayae. "I would also like to ask for some alms to buy a piece of cloth in a lively colour to dress our altar, not a silken colour but of wool or even of Drouget, or something similar, the principal need is that the colours be lively."22 What was particularly interesting here was that Gamier did not specify a colour, although earlier in the letter he had mentioned the Indians' love of scarlet and blue, and their dislike of yellow and green in clothing; in other words, he did not have a symbolic view in mind when he made the request. Also, he did specify that he would prefer a less expensive fabric than silk and one which was perhaps more durable in their situation. Any number of inferences can be made from this, but the most logical seems to be that such fabrics had been sent to Sainte-Marie in the past and may have proved less than suitable. Garnier's emphasis was more on the effect of colour as opposed to that of richness.

19 Having made the assumption that all liturgical textiles required were actually at Sainte-Marie, it was possible to look to references other than those specifically mentioning textiles; in this way, one could arrive at some kind of composite view of the types of textiles actually used on the site and determine with some accuracy, what the quality of those textiles might have been.

Vestments at Sainte-Marie

20 Perhaps the best indicator of vestments that may have been at Sainte-Marie (in the absence of an actual inventory of the site) is the inventory of another site - that of Notre Dame de la Recouvrance.23 The inventory of this church in Québec provided a wealth of detailed information on the vestments and some of the altar appointments that were on that site in 1645. However, it cannot be emphasized strongly enough that great differences exist between the two sites both in requirements and in type of institution. Notre Dame de la Recouvrance was a parish church. Moreover, it was at Québec, which by comparison to Sainte-Marie, was well-established, civilized, and closer to sources of supply; that is, there was much less chance of what was sent from France going astray. The differences in requirements for a parish church and a mission like Sainte-Marie are most obvious if one considers that the collection of the church of Notre Dame de la Recouvrance was more or less a static one. Other than items wearing out (and there was little chance of that by 1648), not much was disposed of or sent off to different locations the way it would have been at Sainte-Marie. In addition, the mission at Huronia seems to have had rather "special status" in terms of the donations received and the donors who saw to its needs. While the needs of the church would have been the purview of the Jesuits, it most certainly did not have its own procurator in France, nor in Québec for that matter. Also, as a parish church, it would not have been considered as important as a mission. Therefore, it may be assumed that the quality and quantity of the vestments listed were somewhat less than those that would have been available for the mission at Sainte-Marie.

21 A glance at the vestments listed in the inventory, included as Appendix B, indicates that this small parish was in fact quite well-supplied with liturgical textiles. How much better supplied then was Sainte-Marie? Jean de Brébeuf provided a most valuable clue when, in a letter from Sainte-Marie dated 2 June 1648, he stated, "I further note...prosperity in all things temporal; for although in the past year nothing whatever was brought to us from France, we nevertheless up to this time abound, and more than abound. Therefore, from all these things it may be inferred that our affairs proceed quite well - which is a great favour from God."24 These comments made by Brébeuf reinforce the conclusion that Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, as well as the seven other outlying missions it supplied, was fully endowed with all of the colours and types of vestments required for the fulfillment of the liturgical obligations of the church.

22 Monsignor John Walsh, in his volume entitled The Mass and Vestments of the Catholic Church, states that the Obligation of the Rubric relative to the colour of vestments "is a precept of grave obligation. Rubricists agree however, that presceeding scandal, there may exist circumstances where the rubric would not be very compelling, as for example, the poverty of a church."25 Presumably the circumstances surrounding the very existence of the mission at Sainte-Marie would have allowed a certain latitude in the use of colours in the vesture of the priests and the decoration of the altar with textiles. At the same time, however, there would be very little reason to alter the prescribed rules for smaller items such as altar cloths, purificators, corporals, or other items which were always made of white linen. These would have had to come from France and were probably so standardized that there is little reason to feel that these would have differed from the norm in any way.

23 The specific references to the wearing of vestments at Sainte-Marie are few. However, certain items of vesture are in fact mentioned. The most significant of these references would have to be from notes by LeMercier, in 1638-1639, when he describes in some detail the winter activities at Sainte-Marie and goes on to deal with those tenets of the faith the savages find most appealing. He then says, "Since the successful issue of this council, the curiosity to see our Images and to hear our songs attract these peoples to our cabin on Sundays and feast days where we appear in our surplices to offer public prayer."26 This statement suggested that the priests at the mission fully realized the value of the impression that such items of vesture made on their Indian brethern.

24 Father Lejeune, in a similar observation made at Québec in 1634, reinforces this idea of making an impression through vesture: "These simple people were enchanted, seeing five priests in surplices honoring this little Canadian Angel, at us chanting what is ordained by the Church, covering the coffin with a beautiful pall."27 In a similar vein, Jean de Brébeuf made no secret of his purpose when he stated (from Huronia) "I use the surplice and square cap [biretta] to give more majesty to my appearance.28

25 Brébeuf's reference to the biretta is a most interesting one. Walsh, in discussing the use of the biretta, tells us the following: "The biretta is appointed to be worn in the sanctuary, during the less solemn portions of the Mass. At the altar however, the celebrant, be he the highest dignitary is forbidden its use. This universal custom is trespassed upon by only one exception - that of the Catholic missionaries in China. This concession is made to the prejudice of the Chinese to a head bared in public. Paul Ⅴ (1605-1621) granted these missionaries a privilege of wearing the biretta even at the Consecration of the Mass, with this restriction, that it not be the biretta of everyday life."29 Perhaps Brébeuf, being aware of this recent concession by a Pope, felt that this situation was worthy of the same exception, and so publicly proclaimed his use of the biretta as justifiable for evangelical purposes.

26 No mention was found of specific vestments sent to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. However, lists of donations to other missions do provide an idea of what was actually available at Québec for this purpose; for example in the Journal des Jésuites of 1642-1645 this reference is made: "On the 25th, monsieur the Governor set out to go to the Isle aux oyes... He took with him monsieur Nicolet, priest, and send the request to me to lend him a furneshed oratory. He was given one in which there was a Silver chalice, a new chasuble, a very beautiful and large cloth [probably an altar frontal] and a handsome alb, and everything else in keeping; he especially desired that he be given a candle and hosts; in short, nothing was wanting."30 Clearly, if these accoutrements could be put together in a package for the governor, they could easily have been supplied to Sainte-Marie. When sending another priest out to a mission, the following notation was made in the Relation of the same year. "They were given Father Gabriel Druilletes. He was soon equipped; all his baggage contained in a small box or trunk which held only the necessary supplies for saying Mass."31

27 While there exists no specific document about the vestments at Sainte-Marie similar to the inventory of Notre Dame de la Recouvrance, indirect references such as the above offers a way in which to determine the extent of the supply available from Québec. It can readily be assumed that there was no lack of textiles available to be sent to Huronia.

28 The issue of the ownership of vestments by individual priests at Sainte-Marie is a most interesting one. Priests were apparently often given vestments by their friends and family before leaving France for the New World. As an example, we have this letter from Isaac Jogues to his mother, dated 1636 and written from shipboard, which describes his gratitude for vesrments which she and another relative had made for him prior to his departure: "...The vestments and sacred vessels for the Holy Mass have been most useful to me. I have offered the Holy Sacrifice... I should have been deprived of had not our family provided the holy vessels for me."32 These vestments would have become community property as soon as Father Jogues reached the mission, if not before. The Jesuit vow of poverty precludes ownership of any kind of vestment, although the one exception to this would have been the cassock, which would have been owned, or at least retained for the exclusive use of a single priest. "Since I left France," complains Father DuPeron in a letter of 1638 to his brother at home, "I have not taken off my gown, except to change my linen."33

29 It can be concluded that the vestments brought with priests to Huronia were, therefore, the property of no one priest, despite their origins. Technically speaking, however, one other item, the purificator, was reserved for the express use of an individual priest, although it was not considered to be his property.

30 In 1637, LeMercier wrote from Huronia to the Superior at Québec, Lejeune, "Our Chapel was remarkably well decorated; it occupied half of our cabin, so we did not make any fire there that day. We had arranged a portico, entwined with leaves mingled with tinsel; in fact we had displayed everything beautiful that your Reverence has sent us. Nothing so magnificent had ever been seen in this country."34 A year later, from Huronia, came word that something even nicer was begun - "We are now about to erect our new Chapel. If God grant us the favor to see this work finished, it will not be one of the largest, but one of the prettiest which has yet appeared in New France."35 And still further in the same year in à letter which Father DuPeron wrote to his brother in France, "On the 12th of December... I had the honor to say the first mass in the first chapel built among the Hurons, and erected in honor of the Immaculate Conception of our Lady. The chapel is very neatly built of timberwork -almost similar in style and size, to out chapel of St. Julien."36

31 The pride with which Jerome Lalement describes the Christmas celebrations for the year 1639 in the chapel gives us yet another indication, not only of the solemnity of the occasion, but also of the joy with which the decorations were used. "The first occasion that presented itself after their baptisms to show their [the Indians] devotion was on Christmas night, part of which was spent in our cabin, others in the new Chapel, which proved to be in condition for use at this solemnity. Things were arranged with as much decoration and splendor as possible, to make them realize the importance of this day...for as these people are not in the habit of using candles, seeing many lights shining and sparkling in this Chapel, they had some reason to question whether it were night or day."37

32 "We have reserved the majority of these Baptisms for the Festivals of Christmas, of Easter, and of Pentecost, from which our Christians, who have assembled these from all parts, have always departed with a marked increase in their faith. The outward splendour with which we endeavor to surround the Ceremonies of the Church; the beauty of our Chapel (which is looked upon in this Country as one of the Wonders of the World, although in France it would be considered but a poor affair); the Masses, Sermons, Vespers, Processions and Benedictions of the Blessed Sacrament that are said and celebrated at such times, with a magnificence surpassing anything that the eyes of our Savages have ever beheld - all these things produce an impression on their minds, and give them an idea of the Majesty of God, who, we tell them, is honored throughout the World by a worship a thousand times more imposing."38 This reference, more than any other, gives the truest picture of the Chapel of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in its full flower in 1642. It is not difficult to see that these were priests who felt that their chapel lacked nothing, needed no further decoration, and completely fulfilled its desired purpose in terms of what it added to theit apostolic efforts among the native population.

33 It can be seen from the above that the decoration of these places of worship was a matter of some importance to the fathers and brothers of the missions of Huronia. As such we can only speculate as to the extent to which these men would have gone to ensure the proper decoration of their chapels. However, given the types of comments made in the Relations it is not unreasonable to surmise that had any decoration or textile appointment been missing for these churches upon which they had worked so diligently and in which they felt their apostolate was eminently more fruitful, then they would not have hesitated to convey this to the good donors in France upon whom they knew they could rely.

34 In 1644, Lalement tells in his Relation from Huronia of the need to build yet another house of worship. "We have, therefore, been compelled to establish...a Church for public devotions, a retreat for pilgrims and finally, a place apart from the others, where the infidels who are only admitted by day, when passing that way - can always hear some good words respecting their salvation."39 It is not difficult to imagine the response by donors in France when they read of the establishment of this particular church. In fact, in the Relation of the following year, Vimont describes some gifts received from Madame de la Peltrie and her companion, Charlotte Barré.40 [Note that in the same year (1645) Madame de la Peltrie had left the Ursulines at Québec for Montréal and the establishment of the Congregation of Notre Dame. She had also journeyed there in the hopes of making her way to Huronia - her efforts, at the point of having hired canoes to make the journey, were scuttled by the Jesuits. Her faith in and support of the missions, however, remained fervent.] Gifts received from Madame de la Peltrie included "an altar stone, a small missal, two cloths [possibly frontals] one of which was damask, two dozen napkins, and two sheets."41 These were given to brother Liegois who had charge of distributing goods for the missions at Québec. A few days later were received "from Sister Charlotte, 4 brasses and more of blue cloth, a brasse and a half of red cloth, several thousand porcelain beads...all for the savages as something which had been given for this purpose.42

35 All of the above, when taken together, provide a picture of the chapel and church at Sainte-Marie which seems to be almost complete in terms of the textiles required by the Church in Rome for the proper celebration of the sacraments and the Mass. Little seemed lacking, in the minds of the priests who worshipped and preached there, and as will be shown, there was certainly no lack of enthusiasm in France for providing them.

36 Having established the existence of a broad range of liturgical textiles at the missions at Huronia, it would seem appropriate to provide a summary of just where those textiles would have come from, who would have sent them and how they did, in fact, reach the site. While it is clear that the majority of the items would probably have come from France, others may have come from as far away as Rome, through the offices of the General of the Society of Jesus with whom the missionaries were in more or less constant contact. Within France, there may have been several different sources and indeed, later in the mission's life, some items may have come from the Ursulines in Québec, although to date there are no known primary sources to validate this assumption.

37 Let us begin by examining the sources available in France, including those of whom we have primary source evidence. On a purely professional level there were two particular places where these vestments and liturgical textiles could have been purchased through the mission's procurator in France. The first was from the ateliers of embroiderers and vestment makers. Charles Germain de Saint-Aubin, Designer to the King, tells us in his book L'Art du Brodeur, published in Paris in 1770, about a guild of embroiderers known as "Chasubliers" who worked specifically making vestments for the Church.43 He describes them as "some embroiderers," who "have entered into this line of business which has hardly any connection with the Art of Embroidery. They measure, mount, and back the vestments of the Church." "I. believe," he goes on to say, "it is only necessary to look at Plate 6 [attached as Appendix C] get an idea of the frugality with which these vestments are trimmed."44 Clearly Monsieur de Saint-Aubin did not have too high an opinion of these particular embroiderers, but they existed nonetheless and were a source of what might be termed the vestments of lesser quality purchased by so many parishes "off the rack" as opposed to "custom-made." These professional ecclesiastical outfitters would no doubt have been one of the sources the procurator looked to when considering the purchases for the mission.

38 The abbeys, monasteries and convents of France were the most likely source for the mission textiles, however. Whether they were purchased (the Ursulines at Amiens, for example had a professional embroidery atelier which was patronized by Anne d'Autriche herself) or donated, nuns were often the most prolific producers of this kind of work. In addition, these ateliers would have had the most direct contact with those individuals who were either buying directly for the mission or who were purchasing the items in order to send them as donations. The nuns themselves may also have fashioned items to send as gifts for the mission, having had their interest piqued by the wonderful stories published in the Relations.

39 One must also remember that the Jesuits as an order in New France were extraordinarily "well-connected." The Jesuit Relations are filled with single instances as well as whole chapters devoted to the thanks offered for generous assistance. One aspect of this support received from France was that much of it seems to have been offered on the condition that names were not published. In 1636, for instance, one entire chapter of the Relations is devoted to thanking these donors under the title "Of the sentiments of affection which many persons of merit entertain for New France."45 Lejeune in his Relation of 1639 to Reverend Father Dinet, Provincial of the Order in France mentions one or two persons by name in his thanks: "...the affection and gifts of our great King for our Savages; the solicitude of Monseigneur the Cardinal [Richelieu] for these countries, and his donations for the Huron Missions... the aid your Reverence has been pleased to send us; the assistance of many persons of merit and condition; all these were the subjects of our conversations... not only when speaking publicly with men, but also in secret before God."46 Still later, Jerome Lalement writes directly to Cardinal Richelieu in response to a request for information about Huronia. He writes that he is gratified that " had pleased Your Eminence to extend your zeal and charity to this end of the world we never expected to be able to render your Eminence thanks worthy of such a favor."47

40 A delightful reference which is exemplary of the good offices of nuns in France is detailed in Lejeune's Relation of 1636-1637. In it he copies out a letter send to him from the Superior of the Hospital Nuns at Dieppe. She has written to Lejeune to give him news of one of the three little savage girls who had been sent to France to be educated. "Our little Louise is doing very well [at this point she had already been baptised a Christian] I send you a chalice pall, the point lace edging of which was made by her."48 It is typical of the kinds of small donations which nuns as individuals or convent groups might have made. Items included in this category would have been palls, amices, altar cloths, purificators, finger towels, and burses, in short, the smaller items that were inexpensive to make, but essential in relatively large quantities for the proper outfitting of the missions.

41 Once these materials arrived in Québec, they were forwarded to Huronia with the supply flotillas which made the trip in the summer of each year, or at least attempted to do so. Father DuPeron writing to his brother in France about the food supply problems, adds an interesting aside which sheds additional light on the textiles issue. "The fresh food that comes from France does not go farther up than Three Rivers; all they can send is some church ornaments, some wine for the mass it all runs great risks on the way. We lost this year two of our packages."49 With this kind of loss occurring for any number of reasons, a great many liturgical textiles must have been required, in order to make certain that minimum requirements at the missions were actually met.

42 Although no specific documentation was found in the way of a list of benefactors of the mission at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, a comparable list from the Hospitalières of the Hôtel Dieu provided a glimpse of the types of aid received in terms of specific ecclesiastical textiles from donors in France to this newly formed institution at Québec.50 While it is true that the list is quite sparse, it must be remembered that these donations were for the hospital chapel where requirements, once they were met, were more or less fixed in the first twenty or thirty years, with the exception of course of altar cloths and items which had to be laundered on a regular basis and would wear out more quickly. This list is attached as Appendix D. Clearly, the needs of this order were easily met with generous donations from "persons of merit." With their many connections of this type as well as the added publicity gained through the Relations, it is not difficult therefore to extrapolate these numbers to predict the amount and kinds of support that might have been proffered from France for this extraordinary effort at Sainte-Marie.

43 Once these items reached Québec then, unless the recipients were specified, as in Richelieu's assistances, they would be put together in a central depot which supplied all of the missions in New France. However, as Huronia was in itself a supply depot, a goodly proportion of these items, both donated and purchased, would probably have been sent to Sainte-Marie for further disposition. Therefore, although the sources of all things for Huronia was Québec, France was the original source for any ecclesiastical items and appointments for the altar.

44 Given the origins of all the liturgical textiles used at Sainte-Marie were European, it follows that the styles, designs and patterns were precisely what would have been supplied to churches and clergy in Europe at the same time. One minor factor, that of the tradition of sending cast-offs to the missions, may have altered the time frame somewhat in terms of the designs. However, considering the public relations efforts of the Jesuits with the publication of the Relations, this should not be a major concern in determining the designs, styles and patterns of textiles and vestments that were to be used at Sainte-Marie.

Fig. 1. Detail from Plate 117, "Six Voiles de Calice, Un Voile pour Brancard, Collection de M. de Farcy à Angers XVII Siècle," in Louis M. de Farcy, La Broderiedu Xlieme siècle jusqu'à nus purs d'après des spécimens authentiques et les anciens inventaires (Angers, Bellehomme, Libraire-Éditeur, 14, Rue de la Poissonnerie, 1890).
Thumbnail of Figure 1Display large image of Figure 1
(Photo: Joyce Taylor Dawson.)

45 Figures 1, 2 and 3, as well as the diagrams found in Appendix E, provide visual details of various vestments and ecclesiastical textiles of the seventeenth century. However, it is probably true that what has been spared from this period is not totally representative of the "everyday" textile appointments of churches in seventeenth-century France and therefore must be considered in that light. The items illustrated came from cathedrals and other churches of major importance (which is why they have been preserved at all). Those at Sainte-Marie may not have been quite so grand. However, there is plenty of room for speculation on this point, given the interest of those in the Church hierarchy, such as Cardinal Richelieu. What does seem clear is that vestments and liturgical textiles of varying degrees of splendour were provided for Sainte-Marie.

Fig. 2. Chasuble. Detail from Plate 109 "Chape et Parement d'autel à la Chapelle de l'hôtel Dieu de Château Thierry (Aisne) XVII Siècle," in de Farcy, IM Broderie du Xliem tiècli jusqu'à nos jours.
Thumbnail of Figure 2Display large image of Figure 2
(Photo: Joyce Taylor Dawson.)
Fig. 3. Altar Frontal. Detail from Plate 109, "Chape et Parement d'autel à la Chapelle de l'hôtel Dieu de Château Thierry (Aisne) XVII Siècle," in de Farcy, La Broderie du Xlieme siècle jusqu'à nos jours.
Thumbnail of Figure 3Display large image of Figure 3
(Photo: Joyce Taylor Dawson.)

46 In summary, it has been established, both by direct and indirect references in primary sources, that a full range of liturgical textiles did in fact exist at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. While few specific references to textiles were found in the Jesuit Relations, indirect references formed a strong base for the assumption that given the strict attitudes of the Jesuits to the liturgy and the lack of requests for vestments and liturgical textiles in the communications between France and New France and Rome, such needs were more than adequately met by supplies sent to the mission. This was strengthened by the verbal communication network which existed in New France among the missionaries and which extended to their superiors in France and Rome via the offices of the procurators for the mission.

47 Added to this, is the strong and favourable connections that the Jesuits had with both the French monarch and the Papacy. The publication of the Jesuit Relations each year was. however, the most significant factor. Designed to "edify " and inspire its readers to generosity, there can be little doubt as to its effectiveness as a fund-raising tool. Those who had access to the Relations were also those who had access to the finances required for such a monumental effort as the missions in New France.

48 Determination of precisely what these textiles were made of, how they were designed and the richness and splendour of the decoration can only be made by reference to those visual records still in existence, be they the actual textiles of the period, or simply photographs such as those offered herein and taken in the nineteenth century by collectors and researchers such as Louis de Farcy. Details such as those provided by de Saint-Aubin in his volume L'Art du Brodeur, while valuable, were written more than a century later, and must be considered in that light.

49 Overall, a good case can be made for the conclusion that the textiles at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons were neither rich nor poor, neither sumptuous nor distressingly plain. In fact, they were, in view of the location and the religious sophistication of those they were meant to help convert, more than adequate and perhaps just a little surprising in their completeness.

Appendix A - Project Summary: Questions

50 The raison d'etre for this research was a desire on the part of the curatorial and supervisory staff at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Midland, Ontario, to have a solid base upon which to plan the reproduction and use of textiles as part of the interpretive programme at the site. In line with this goal, a project summary was devised outlining the areas in which answers were needed before additional reproductions were undertaken by the staff and volunteers. The following is a list of those questions posed in the project summary dated September 1985.

  1. What liturgical textiles would have been used at the mission of Sainte-Marie and what textiles would have been stored at Sainte-Marie for use at outlying missions?
  2. How were liturgical textiles stored and cared for in the seventeenth century? How would they have been maintained at Sainte-Marie? Who would have maintained them?
  3. Where would these textiles have come from? Who would have produced them?
  4. Were the vestments owned by the mission and/or by individual priests?
  5. Did the Jesuits alter or adapt traditional uses of textiles and vestments in particular because of the unique nature of mission work?
  6. What materials, styles and patterns, methods of construction, etc. would have been used in liturgical textiles at the mission?

Appendix B - Excerpts from "Inventaire général des biens meublés, 1645-1678, Notre Dame de la Recouvrance"

ALTAR FRONTALS (Parements d'autel)
1 white drouget with black floral decoration
1 red drouget with white floral decoration
1 violet camelot
1 white damask
1 white drouget with black floral decoration
1 red drouget with white floral decoration
1 green camelot with gold decoration
1 violet camelot
1 white damask with gold braid decoration
1 violet satin with green floral decoration
1 white satin with floral design
1 white satin with red floral design
1 violet satin with floral design

Appendix C - Embroidery on Church Vestments

51 Engraving showing placement of embroidery on church vestments (1. chasuble, stole, maniple, burse; 2. chalice veil; 3. dalmatic; 4. cope, 5. bishop's miter, lappet). Plate 6 from Charles Germain de Saint-Aubin, L'Art du Brodeur (1770), trans, and annot. Nikki Scheuer, Art of the Embroiderer (Boston: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in association with David R. Godine, Publisher, 1983).

Appendix D - Livres des Dons - Hotel Dieu - Québec City

1640 Mre. Comte de degne nous a donna en ornements 300 Livres
1642 Les Rev. Peres Bernardines, un chasuble et quelques autres ornements de la valeur de 290 Livres
Les carmélites du grand couvent en ornements et autres choses - 200 Livres
1643 notre communauté de Dieppe nous donna en ornements et toille la valeur de 400 Livres
Les mere Bernardines en ornements 200 Livres
Les mères carmélites du grand couvent de Paris en ornements et hardes 300 Livres
1644 Madame la duchesse d'Aiguillon au R(?).. .en ornements de valeur de 400 Livres
1650 de Moiselle de repentigny en toille et dentelle 200 Livres
1652 de Monsieur de Tilly en ornements 100 Livres
1656 Des Révérendes Mères Bernardines de Paris une aube et autre linge de L'autel 89 Livres

Appendix E - Traditional Format of Seventeenth-Century Vestments and Liturgical Textiles

1 Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is a reconstruction of a French Jesuit mission (1639-1649) which was established in the heart of the country of the Huron. This historic site and museum is located near present-day Midland, Ontario. The present site contains two houses of worship, the "Chapel," which was the place of worship of the Jesuit Fathers in 1648, and the "Church of St. Joseph," which was the second to be built and was used primarily as a place of worship by the native population.
2 Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents (Cleveland: Burrows Brothers, 1896-1901), 72 vols.
3 Mère Jeanne Françoise Juchereau, dite de St. Ignace, et Mère Marie-Andrée Dupléssis, dite de Ste-Hélène, Les Annales de l'Hôtel Dieu de Québec, 1636-1716, réimpression en facsimile (Québec, Hôtel Dieu de Québec, 1984). The Annales of the Ursulines of Québec remain unpublished and must be consulted by application to Les Archives des Ursulines, C.P. 760, Québec, Québec G1R 4T1.
4 Compagnie de Jésus, Historia Missionis Canedensis (Rome, Maison Général, Compagnie de Jésus). These documents are available through the Public Archives of Canada and are listed under "Series -Galeas" Ref. MG 17A6-1.
5 Mère Marie de l'Incarnation, Ursuline, Correspondance, nouvelle édition par Dom Guy Oury (Solesmes: Abbaye Saint-Pierre, 1971) Écrits Spirituels et Historiques publié par Dom Claude Martin de la congrégation de St. Maur, vol. Ⅰ & Ⅱ. Réédités par Dom Albert Jamet de la Congrégation de France (Québec: Les Ursulines de Québec, 1985).
6 Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit, began the mission at Huronia in 1634. He spent a brief period in Québec between 1642 and 1644, at which time he returned to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, by then a well-established centre. He was martyred, along with several of his companions on 16 March 1649. In 1930, Brébeuf was canonized by Pope Pius XI and proclaimed Patron Saint of Canada by Pius XII in 1940.
7 Charles Gamier, a Jesuit, came to the missions at Huronia immediately after his arrival in New France in 1636. He was martyred, along with Jean de Brébeuf and Charles Lalement, in March 1649 and was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930.
8 François Roustang, S.J., An Autobiography of Martyrdom-Spiritual Writings of the Jesuits in New France, trans. Sister M. Renelle, S.S.N.D. (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder Book Company, 1964).
9 Ibid., p. 18.
10 Saint-Charles Gamier, "Lettre de Saint Charles Gamier à son Frère, Le Père Henri de St. Joseph, Carm, de Teanaustayae, Sans Date (1645?)," Lettres de Saint Charles Gamier à son Frère Le Père Henri de Saint-Joseph (Québec: Les Archives de Québec, 1931).
11 .. François Roustang, S.J., An Autobiography of Martyrdom, p. 74.
12 Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, vol. ⅩⅩⅩⅢ, p. 267.
13 Ibid., vol. XXVIII, p. 185.
14 The items required by the Roman Catholic Church as essential to the liturgy may be found in Rt. Rev. Mgr John Walsh, The Mass and Vestments of the Catholic Church, Liturgical, Doctrinal, Historical and Archaeological (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1916); p. 264 lists those items required for the proper celebration of the Mass and p. 380, the vestments required by a priest for exercise of this rite.
15 Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, vol. ⅩⅩⅩ, p. 95.
16 Ibid., vol. XVI, p. 109.
17 Ibid., vol. XVII, p. 277.
18 Ibid., vol. XXVII, p. 81.
19 Ibid., vol. XXXI, pp. 105 & 107.
20 Ibid., vol. XXV, pp. 165 & 167.
21 Ibid., VIII, p. 185.
22 Saint-Charles Gamier, Lettres de Saint Charles Gamier à son Frère Le Père Henri de Saint Joseph, p. 39. (Translated into English by Joyce Taylor Dawson.)
23 Notre Dame de la Recouvrance, Inventaire général des biens meublés, 1645-1678. Excerpts from the inventory dealing with textiles were provided by the staff at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons from their files of copies of the original documents held by the Paroisse de Notre Dame de Québec.
24 Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, vol. XXXII, p. 58.
25 Rt. Rev. Mgr John Walsh, The Mass and Vestments of the Catholic Church (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1916), p. 427.
26 Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, vol. XV, p. 121.
27 Ibid., vol. VI, p. 131.
28 Ibid., vol. VIII, p. 143.
29 Rt. Rev. Mgr John Walsh, The Mass and Vestments of the Catholic Church, p. 451.
30 Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, vol. XXVII, p. 87.
31 Ibid, vol. XXVII, p. 203.
32 François Roustang, S.J., An Autobiography of Martyrdom, p. 179.
33 Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, vol.XV, p. 167.
34 Ibid., vol. XIV, p. 93.
35 Ibid., vol.XV, p. 139.
36 Ibid., vol. XV, p. 175.
37 Ibid., vol. XVII, pp. 39 & 41.
38 Ibid., vol. XXIII, p. 23.
39 Ibid., vol. XXVI, p. 201.
40 Madame de la Peltrie was a French noblewoman who when widowed at a young age decided to devote her considerable fortune to the founding of the Ursulines Convent in Québec City. She came, along with her young companion Charlotte Barré, to Québec with Mère Marie de l'Incarnation in 1639. Charlotte Barré later entered the novitiate of the Ursulines of Québec and took her vows in 1648.
41 Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, vol. XXVIII, p. 243.
42 Ibid., vol. XXVIII, p. 243.
43 Charles Germain de Saint-Aubin, L' Art du Brodeur (1770), trans. and annot. Nikki Scheuer (Boston & London: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in association with David R. Godine, Publisher, 1983), p. 66.
44 Ibid., p. 66.
45 Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, vol. VIII, pp. 223-43.
46 Ibid., vol. XV, p. 217.
47 Ibid., vol. XVI, p. 219.
48 Ibid., vol. XI, pp. 95 - 97.
49 Ibid., vol. XV, p. 159.
50 Sœurs Hospitalières, Livre des Dons. This information is unpublished, but may be consulted by applying to the Archives of the Hôtel Dieu, Québec, Québec.