VIMONT, BARTHÉLEMY, priest, Jesuit, missionary, third superior of the Canadian mission; b. 17 Jan. 1594 at Lisieux (Normandy); d. 13 July 1667 at Vannes in France.
He entered the Society of Jesus at Rouen on 16 Nov. 1613. After his noviciate he took his philosophy at the Collège at La Flèche (1615–18), then taught for one year at Rennes and three years at Eu. From 1622 to 1626 he studied theology at the Collège de Clermont, in Paris; finally he returned to Eu as bursar (1626–29). It was from there that he left for Canada, on 26 June 1629, on one of Capt. Charles Daniel’s ships; this convoy was also carrying Fathers Philibert Noyrot and Alexandre de Vieuxpont. The captain, cast up by a storm on the coast of Cape Breton Island, towards the end of August, built a fort at the entrance to the Grand-Cibou (today called St. Ann’s), where he left a garrison with Father Vimont as the chaplain. Vieuxpont, after surviving the shipwreck in which Father Noyrot had perished, joined Vimont. Together they started to preach the gospel to the Indians of the district. But they were recalled to France the following year, as the colony had fallen into the hands of the Kirke brothers.
After serving for eight years in various capacities at the Collège in Vannes and for one year as superior at the residence in Dieppe, Father Vimont arrived at Quebec on 1 Aug. 1639, together with Fathers Chaumonot and Poncet, to succeed Father Paul Le Jeune as superior of the mission in Canada. He was on the same ship as the Ursulines – among whom was Marie de l’Incarnation [see Guyart] – the Hospitallers, and Mme Chauvigny de La Peltrie, who had all been entrusted to his care; with them, he was given a formal reception, on the report of which his signature appears.
Vimont remained the superior for six years. At first he seems to have lived chiefly at Sillery, and to have been successful with the Indians of this reservation. From there he went to witness the founding of Montreal. He himself wrote the account of it (Relation of 1642), for the superior of Quebec was responsible for making a report every year to the provincial of the Society in France. For this reason Father Vimont prepared the four Relations of the years 1642–45; Jérôme Lalemant succeeded him in this duty.
In 1643, under the Vimont administration, the Huron seminary that had been established at the Notre-Dame-des-Anges residence was closed. In the same year, with the support of the directors of the Compagnie des Cent-Associés, Vimont had the task of clearing the name of the Jesuits in Canada; they had been charged with taking part in the fur trade. In 1645, at the time of the peace negotiations with the Iroquois (among whom was the orator Kiotseaeton), Father Vimont’s advice was solicited by Governor Huault de Montmagny.
At the same period, the fathers were taking turns in ministering to the parish of Quebec. It thus happened that Vimont baptized Louis Jolliet, on 21 Sept. 1645. On 21 October Vimont set out for France; he went as a delegate from the fathers, to obtain clarification of certain jurisdictional questions. He returned to Quebec on 19 Aug. 1648, and for another 11 years he continued actively to serve the religious communities and the parishioners of the neighbourhood of Quebec, in particular those of Beauport. He also acted as adviser to the superior. On 23 Oct. 1651 he blessed the marriage of the seneschal, Jean de Lauson, the son of the governor of the same name. Finally, on 22 Oct. 1659, he left the country; he died on 13 July 1667 at Vannes.
ASQ, Documents Faribault, 23, 25. Champlain, Œuvres (Laverdière), II, 1283–87. JR (Thwaites), XXII, 9–296; XXIII, 255–318; XXV, 9–78, 88–280; XXVII, 123–304; et passim. JJ (Laverdière et Casgrain), 93, 163, 185f., et passim. Auguste Gosselin, La mission du Canada avant Mgr de Laval (1615–1659) (Évreux, 1909), 55, et passim.