LEROUX, VALENTIN, priest, Recollet, provincial commissioner; b. 1642 in Paris; d. 2 April 1708, also in Paris.
Valentin Leroux entered the Recollet order in 1660, and on 19 May 1663, in Paris, was tonsured and given the minor orders by Guillaume Leboux, bishop of Dax, the Paris see being vacant. On 22 Oct. 1669, at Châlons-sur-Marne, he received episcopal approval to preach sermons and hear confessions, and in 1673 became guardian of the convent at Vitry.
A newcomer to the mission fields, Father Leroux landed at Quebec in September 1677 with the impressive title of provincial commissioner and guardian of the convent at Quebec, thus succeeding Father Potentien Ozon. Since their return to New France in 1670, the Recollets had been confined to their sole convent, Notre-Dame-des-Anges, in Quebec. During his six-year term of office, Father Leroux was busily engaged in obtaining the required religious and civil authorizations as well as the land necessary for establishing his religious at Montreal and Trois-Rivières, and in the Upper Town of Quebec.
In 1678, a few months after his arrival in the colony, he had the first chapel of the Third Order constructed at Quebec, and arranged for the solemn transportation to the vault of the convent of Notre-Dame-des-Anges of the bodies of the religious and laymen who had been buried in the first Recollet cemetery. In May of the same year, Father Leroux heard the religious profession of Father Joseph Denys, the first Canadian Recollet, and on 3 February of the following year he conferred the habit on Brother Didace Pelletier*, also a Canadian.
Although he was a peace-loving and conciliatory man, Valentin Leroux, by reason of his office, was involved in 1681 in the “sermon affair,” in which Father Adrien Ladan was implicated, and in 1683 in the “bell-turret affair” [see Henri Le Roy]. The latter marked the end of his career in Canada. His successor, Father Henri Le Roy, tried in vain from August 1683 to November of the same year to break the deadlock brought about by Bishop Laval in the matter of the bell-tower of the hospice. On 11 November Leroux and Le Roy sailed for France; the former provincial commissioner took with him, among other things, the specifications of the buildings of the famous hospice.
In France Leroux devoted himself to preaching, while at the same time holding other offices: guardian of the convent at Bethléem-les-Meizières in 1684, guardian of the convent in Paris in 1688, custodian and novice-master in 1689, and provincial definitor in 1695. He remained in contact with his friends in Canada, particularly with Buade* de Frontenac, who gave him news of the colony in a letter dated 1 May 1691.
Valentin Leroux was wrongly accused by Louis Hennepin, the author of the Description de la Louisiane, of publishing under a borrowed name, that of Chrestien Le Clercq*, an account of the taking of Quebec in 1629, a description of the missionary activity of the Recollets before the arrival of the Jesuits in New France, and a work denouncing the intrigues hatched in Canada. Hennepin claimed that he had entrusted to Leroux in 1681 his journal recounting the discovery of the Mississippi in 1680. Hennepin, who considered the name Le Clercq to be a pseudonym, accused Leroux of having attributed to Zénobe Membré excerpts of this journal. This accusation, however, like the first, was false.
Valentin Leroux died on 2 Aug. 1708 in Paris at the age of 66, after 48 years of religious life.
Louis Hennepin, A description of Louisiana, ed. J. G. Shea (New York, 1880), 62, 269f. Le Clercq, Premier établissement de la foy, I, 408; II, 125; Nouvelle relation de la Gaspésie, 289f. Hugolin [Stanislas Lemay], Bibliographie du père Louis Hennepin, récollet (Montréal, 1937), 14f., 42, 44. Joseph Trudelle, Les jubilés et les églises et chapelles de la ville et de la banlieue de Québec, 1608–1901 (2v., Québec, 1901–3), II, 1.