LEDUC, ANNE-FRANÇOISE, dite Saint-Joseph, nun, Religious Hospitaller of Saint-Joseph, superior; b. 14 March 1664 at Montreal, daughter of Jean Leduc and Marie Soulinié (Souligny); d. 22 Oct. 1750 at Montreal.
Anne-Françoise Leduc entered the order of the Hospitallers of Saint-Joseph of Montreal in 1694 and made her profession in 1696. She was one of the first Canadian women to enter the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal, and her sister Marie, who preceded her in the community, was the first Hospitaller born in Montreal.
Sister Saint-Joseph was mistress of novices in 1714 when she fell gravely ill, stricken with an epithelial neoplasm for which, it seems, there was only one solution, an operation. According to Mother Jeanne-Françoise Juchereau* de La Ferté, Sister Saint-Joseph wrote to the superior of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec, Marie-Charlotte Aubert de La Chesnaye, dite de Saint-Michel, asking her “to approve of her coming” to Quebec “to have herself cured of a breast cancer, since she could not entrust herself for such a painful operation to anyone but Monsieur [Michel Sarrazin*].” In May, therefore, she went to Quebec, where she was operated on by the famous surgeon. The operation was a success for at the end of July, after a brief convalescence, she was sufficiently recovered to visit the Ursulines, the priests of the seminary, the Jesuit fathers, and the Recollets. A short time later she returned to Montreal.
In 1717 she was appointed superior of the Hôtel-Dieu, an office she held until 1720. In 1721 a fire (the second one) devastated the hospital, and the rebuilding did not begin until two years later. It proceeded slowly, for Sister Saint-Joseph, the depositary at the time, did not have the necessary funds to carry it out. “My Sister Saint-Joseph for her part uses all her ability, which is not slight,” Sister Marie Morin* wrote in her annals, “to gather materials during this winter in order to make a new start on having work done when God has given us the wherewithal.” The civil and religious authorities, in particular Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix*], were disturbed by the slowness of the work. From time to time the bishop wrote to the superior, Charlotte Gallard*, urging her to hasten the rebuilding of the hospital. But what could Sister Saint-Joseph do to speed it up, “finding herself without means and without hope of having any until after the arrival of the king’s ship, which ordinarily does not arrive from France until about 15 September at the earliest”? Saint-Vallier wanted to finish the work despite the scarcity. Sister Saint-Joseph claimed that it was impossible to do so and suggested renting for another year part of the house of the Brothers Hospitallers of the Cross and of St Joseph. The bishop rejected this solution and, believing that the depositary was dilatory, replaced her by Sister Marie-Clémence Guénet in the summer of 1724. At the request of Father François, a Recollet and a friend of Sister Saint-Joseph, however, Saint-Vallier reinstated her soon afterwards.
In 1739, five years after the Hôtel-Dieu had burned for the third time, Sister Saint-Joseph was called upon to replace the superior, Françoise Gaudé, and therefore to concern herself once more with its reconstruction, although resources were almost non-existent. In 1742 a new present from the king and some private gifts, among them 2,000 livres from the Sulpician Pierre Le Sueur, enabled reconstruction to begin on all the buildings, which were completed two years later.
After finishing her term as superior in 1745 Anne-Françoise Leduc retired; she died on 22 Oct. 1750, at 86 years of age, after 54 years in religion.
AHSJ, Annales de sœur Marie Morin, 1697–1725; Annales de sœur Véronique Cuillerier, 1725–1747. Juchereau, Annales (Jamet). Premier registre de l’église de Notre-Dame de Montréal (Montréal, 1961). Mondoux, L’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal.
Cite This Article
Hélène Bernier , “LEDUC, ANNE-FRANÇOISE, Saint-Joseph,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 19, 2013, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/leduc_anne_francoise_3E.html.
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|Author of Article:||Hélène Bernier|
|Title of Article:||LEDUC, ANNE-FRANÇOISE, Saint-Joseph|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1974|
|Year of revision:||1974|
|Access Date:||June 19, 2013|