MERIEL, HENRI-ANTOINE (Meriel de Meulan), priest, Sulpician, director and confessor of the pupils of the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, chaplain of the Montreal Hôtel-Dieu, converted many New England captives to Roman Catholicism; b. 1661, in the diocese of Chartres; d. 12 Jan. 1713, probably in Paris.
Very little is known about Meriel de Meulan. He entered the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Paris around the year 1685. He arrived in Montreal in July of 1690, and by 1695 had been appointed confessor of the pupils of the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. Apparently he found confessions difficult to conduct at first, for words of encouragement on this subject can be found in the letters he received from Louis Tronson, superior of the Sulpician seminary in Paris.
It is likely that Meriel had some command of English when he came to New France in 1690, for he had not been long in the colony before he began to convert New England captives to Roman Catholicism. In 1699 he sought permission from his superior to travel to New England in search of French prisoners to bring them back to the colony, but his request was refused. Soon after he was placed in charge of the sick of the Hôtel-Dieu in Montreal.
J.-B.-A. Allaire, in his Dictionnaire biographique du clergé canadien-français, writes that Meriel died in Paris. This would mean that Meriel left the colony to return to France between 1707 and 1713.
ASSM, Correspondance générale, 2e partie, lettres de M. Leschassier, 272; lettres de M. Tronson, VI, 114, 156, 231, 246. Allaire, Dictionnaire, I, 383. Henri Gauthier, Sulpitiana (Montréal, 1926), 233f. Coleman, New England captives.