BRUSLÉ (Brulé), MICHEL, priest, Recollet, missionary to the Micmacs; b. 1673; d. 7 Sept. 1724 at Montreal.
Michel Bruslé entered the noviciate of the Recollets of the province of Saint-Denis when he was 16 and made his profession in 1690. He was ordained a deacon at Trèves 22 Dec. 1696, and he received the priesthood the following year. In 1698 Father Michel sailed for Canada together with Father Olivier Goyer, the provincial commissioner for the Recollet mission in New France.
During the first six years he served three centres of colonization; on 10 June 1699, when registering an act at Saint-François-du-Lac, he signed as “missionary at Verchères, Contrecœur, Saint-Ours, and other surrounding places.” In 1705 he was called back to Quebec and became “missionary to the Micmacs” of the Gulf of St Lawrence. He held this office for 17 years without interruption. Occasionally during this period, when he was in the region, he said mass and served as parish priest at Rimouski, Baie Saint-Paul, Ristigouche, and Port-La-Joie (near Charlottetown, P.E.I.).
The main centres of his mission were Ristigouche, Miramichi, and Nipisiguit (Bathurst, N.B.), which all belonged to the seigneury of Richard Denys* de Fronsac, whose widow, Françoise Cailleteau, married Pierre Rey Gaillard, an artilleryman, at Quebec in 1694. The latter was much more interested in the trade in pelts than in his official duties and his properties. It was in connection with this commerce that he and his wife were to attack Father Michel, accusing him of doing them great harm by engaging in it himself, “so that he is a merchant and a trader with the Indians rather than a missionary and mendicant according to the statutes of the order of St Francis.” To put an end to this quarrel, the financial commissary for Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), Pierre-Auguste de Soubras, asked Father Michel and Abbé Antoine Gaulin, missionary to the Indians at Antigonish, to draw up a report on the matter for him. On 4 Dec. 1716 the missionaries denounced the scandalous practices of Rey Gaillard who, to obtain game and pelts, attracted the Indians daily with liquor.
No formal condemnation was pronounced against Father Michel. On the contrary, Soubras entrusted him with an important mission: to unite his Micmacs with those at Antigonish, and move them to the Acadian shore of Canso Strait, as close to Île Royale as possible.
In 1722 Father Michel was relieved of his mission and ministered temporarily to Baie Saint-Paul and Petite-Rivière. Two years later he became superior of the Recollets of the convent at Montreal, where he died.
AJJ, Registres d’état civil de Joliette. AJTR, Registres d’état civil de Saint-François-du-Lac. AN, Col., C11B 1, ff.337, 431; 2, ff.44, 189; 3, f.270; Marine, B1, 8, f.540; Section Outre-Mer, G1, 411. AQ, NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 490½.
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