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BOULANGER, CLÉMENT (baptized Clément-Quentin), Jesuit priest; b. 30 Oct. 1790 at Saint-Clément (Meurthe-et-Moselle, France), son of Pierre Boulanger, a farrier, and Marguerite Receveur; d. 12 June 1868 at Nancy, France.

Born during the French revolution, Clément Boulanger was 24 years old when the Society of Jesus was re-established in France. As a young priest and teacher of theology he decided in 1823 to enter the noviciate of Montrouge, near Paris. Eleven years later, after he had taught theology at Saint-Acheul, France, and at Madrid, he was allowed to profess the four vows.

In February 1842 Boulanger was appointed provincial of the Jesuits in France. He superintended the reconstitution of the Jesuits in Canada that year. The last Canadian Jesuit, Father Jean-Joseph Casot*, had died at Quebec in 1800. At the request of Bishop Ignace Bourget* of Montreal, and then of Father Jean Roothaan, the general of the society, Father Pierre Chazelle*, who had founded the Kentucky mission in 1830, was made responsible for recruiting, primarily in France, the nine Jesuits who arrived at Montreal on 31 May 1842 [see Rémi-Joseph Tellier]. Thanks to a carefully maintained correspondence, the provincial was able to follow closely the establishment of the Jesuits sent to the country with Chazelle.

By July 1842 the Jesuits had assumed responsibility for the parish of Laprairie, where a year later they set up a noviciate. However, the college for which they had been summoned was slow in starting. Their services were already being sought in New York and Toronto. In 1844, responding to the request of Michael Power*, the first bishop of Toronto, Boulanger divided the territory of the Canadian mission: Chazelle, who continued as superior, gave his attention to Canada West, while Father Félix Martin * directed the mission of Canada East.

In 1844, to link more closely the administrative centres, then poorly served by the slow process of correspondence, Father Boulanger suggested that a visitor with full powers to negotiate with the French missions be sent to America. On 1 April 1845, after he had completed his duties as provincial, he was appointed visitor and went to Kentucky. Shortly after arriving he decided to suppress this mission and replace it by the one in New York, where the Jesuits took charge of St John’s College at Fordham. Boulanger established his residence at New York, as superior general of the French missions, which he had united in 1846 and named the New York–Canada mission. He lived in New York until the end of his term in 1855, except for a period in 1849 when he stayed at the Collège Sainte-Marie at Montreal to settle problems of the Canadian mission. He returned to Montreal in 1855 before becoming superior of the new Jesuit residence at Nancy in October 1856. From 1861 to 1865 he was rector of the Collège de Laval in France. He finally retired to Nancy, three years before his death in 1868.

An affable and wise counsellor, Clément Boulanger was particularly suited to settle difficult situations with apparent ease.

Georges-Émile Giguère

The correspondence of Clément Boulanger and various documents related to the re-establishment of the Jesuits in Canada during the 19th century are in the ASJCF and various archives of the Society of Jesus in Rome, New York, Chantilly, and Lille, France.

Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (Nancy), État civil, Saint-Clément, 30 oct. 1790. Joseph Burnichon, La Compagnie de Jésus en France; histoire d’un siècle, 1814–1914 (4v., Paris, 1914–22), II, 141, 209, 227, 237, 270, 369, 394, 544; III, 93, 145, 248, 298, 569, 597. Les établissements des jésuites en France depuis quatre siècles . . . , Pierre Delattre, édit. (5v., Enghien et Wetteren, Belgique, 1949–57), I, 590; II, 609, 828, 833, 839, 1050; III, 760, 772, 1327, 1351; V, 2, 14. G.-É. Giguère, “La restauration de la Compagnie de Jésus au Canada, 1839–1857” (2 ms volumes in the author’s possession; copies are available in various archives, libraries, and houses of the Society of Jesus). F. X. Curran, “Archbishop Hughes and the Jesuits,” Woodstock Letters (Woodstock, Md.), 97 (1968), 5–56; “The founding of Fordham University and the New York mission, 1846–1850,” Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu (Rome), XXVI (1957), 285–94; “The Jesuits in Kentucky, 1831–1846,” Mid-America (Chicago), new ser., XXIV (1953), 242–46. G. J. Garraghan, “Fordham’s Jesuit beginnings,” Thought, Fordham University Quarterly (New York), XVI (1941), 17–39.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Georges-Émile Giguère, “BOULANGER, CLÉMENT,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 16, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/boulanger_clement_9E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/boulanger_clement_9E.html
Author of Article:   Georges-Émile Giguère
Title of Article:   BOULANGER, CLÉMENT
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1976
Year of revision:   1976
Access Date:   April 16, 2024