CÔME DE MANTES, priest, Capuchin, superior of the mission at Pentagouet in Acadia, guardian of convents in France; b. at Mantes (France); d. some time after 1658 and perhaps as long as 15 years after that date, probably in France.
He joined the Capuchins of Paris and in 1632 was one of the seven Capuchins who accompanied Governor Razilly to Acadia. After the latter’s death in 1635, he went back to France because of the disagreements between Charles de Menou d’Aulnay and Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour.
He returned to Acadia in 1642, and we find him again at Port-Royal, where, on 20 Oct. l643, he and seven other Capuchins signed a document attesting an armed raid made on that place by La Tour and some Englishmen. Father Côme then carried his missionary efforts into the Saint John River district, where on 10 May 1648 he baptized two Indian children, and afterwards delivered a baptismal certificate to the parents. A copy of this document is preserved in the parish register of Sillery. Does this imply that Father Côme made a trip to Quebec, as stated by Abbé Tanguay? Not at all; it was the child’s parents who, passing through Sillery, had the baptismal certificate registered at the mission. Furthermore the blank spaces in the register and the incorrect spelling of the names cannot be explained if Father Côme were present.
In 1648 when he was named superior of the mission at Pentagouet (now Castine, Maine), he wrote to the Jesuits at Quebec to beseech them to come and carry on their ministry among the Abenakis in his territory. After d’Aulnay’s death in 1650 there appeared in Acadia one of the chief creditors of the deceased, the La Rochelle merchant Emmanuel Le Borgne. The Capuchins were to suffer as a result of the unpleasantness that ensued upon his arrival. In 1652 the merchant’s soldiers went as far as to imprison Côme de Mantes whom they held captive on one of Le Borgne’s ships for five months until he returned to France for good.
In his homeland Father Côme de Mantes was named guardian of the convent of Dreux in 1658 and then of those of Poissy, Béthune, Melun, and Laon in succession. The exact date of his death is not known. In view of the likely number of years he must have spent at each of his posts, one can presume that he lived for about another 15 years after 1658.