AVAUGOUR, LOUIS D’, Jesuit priest, missionary; b. 1669 in France; d. 4 Feb. 1732 at Paris.
Louis d’Avaugour joined the Society of Jesus at Paris in 1696 when he was 27, an unusually advanced age for entrance, which generally took place at about age 17. He completed his noviciate (1696–98), and then came to Quebec before receiving holy orders. He was tonsured and given minor orders by Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix] in the chapel of the Quebec seminary on 19 Sept. 1699. It is not known when he was raised to the priesthood.
Father Avaugour’s first active missionary work appears to have been done at Lorette, where he was stationed some time before 1710. He soon learned much about the Huron (Huron-Wendat) and in 1710 submitted a lengthy report on the state of the Lorette mission to Father Joseph Germain, superior of the Jesuits in Canada. This document describes in intimate detail the daily life of the Huron Christians there and inveighs with stinging asperity against those who debauched indigenous people with spirits. Avaugour warned that drunkenness among them would not only cause them to reject Christianity, but also in the long run it would cause the French to lose the colony.
About 1720 Father Avaugour was sent to the Illinois mission. He laboured until shortly before 1726, when he was summoned back to France to assume the office of procurator in Paris for the Jesuits in Canada and Louisiana. The post was a particularly difficult one during the years he held it. Towards the end of the 18th century the French Jesuits had been given charge of missions in China, Constantinople (Istanbul), Martinique, and Santo Domingo. These newly assigned fields drained off much of the Jesuit manpower that might otherwise have been sent to New France. The lack of adequate recruits was felt chiefly in the mission area of what would become the state of Maine, where the activity of the English tended to disrupt the Jesuits’ efforts among the Abenaki and other First Nations who had traditionally been loyal to France.
In Louisiana the Jesuits became involved in a none too edifying controversy with the Capuchins: Father Nicolas-Ignace de Beaubois*, Jesuit superior in the colony of Louisiana, quite imprudently offended Father Raphael, superior of the Capuchins, by officiating at religious functions at New Orleans without permission of Father Raphael, who was the vicar-general of the bishop of Quebec for that area. When the colonists took sides in the controversy, the matter was referred to France and Father Avaugour, as procurator in Paris for the French Jesuits in North America, was obliged to intervene. After continuing for several years, the rather undignified dispute was solved by the recall of Beaubois in 1728.
Father Avaugour died at Paris on 4 Feb. 1732.
Caron, “Inventaire de documents,” APQ Rapport, 1939–40, 348; 1940–41, 425, 428; 1941–42, 219, 226, 236, 245, 251, 259. JR (Thwaites), LXVI, 146–73. Delanglez, French Jesuits in Louisiana. O’Neill, Church and state in Louisiana. Rochemonteix, Les Jésuites et la N.-F. au XVIIe siècle, III, 678–87; Les Jésuites et la N.-F. au XVIIIe siècle, I, 133–39, 273–314.