DETHUNES, EXUPÈRE, Recollet priest, missionary; b. c. 1644 in France; d. in 1692 at the convent of Sainte-Marguerite, near Gisors.
Exupère Dethunes joined the Recollets of the province of Saint-Denis in 1665. On 28 May 1668, at Rouen, he became a subdeacon, and the following 26 May a deacon; we do not know the date of his ordination. In 1671 he joined the Canadian mission and sailed with Fathers Claude Moireau*, Léonard Duchesne, Étienne Saulnier, and Brother Innocent Desmarais. Father Exupère Dethunes was assigned to the Recollets’ house at Quebec, and divided his time between prayer, the study of Indian languages, and the exercise of his ministry among the settlers scattered along the north shore of the river. His presence at Dombourg, Cap-Rouge and Rivière-aux-Roches, as well as at Bourg-Royal, is in fact revealed by the local registers.
To comply with the invitation of the provincial commissioner, Father Gabriel de La Ribourde, he agreed, in May 1673, to provide religious services at Percé, where about 500 people came to fish during the summer. In the autumn he returned to Quebec to exercise his ministry there, as is testified by the parish registers of Notre-Dame de Québec (1673), L’Ange-Gardien (1675), and Cap-Santé (1679).
In 1680 he accompanied Father Chrétien Le Clercq, who had been commissioned to go to France to obtain authorization from the king whereby the Recollets might establish a hospice at Quebec and Ville-Marie (Montreal). This mission was successfully completed. In 1683 he was appointed vicar of the convent at Quebec and novice-master, and the following year he succeeded Father Henri Le Roy* as superior of the same convent. It is in this capacity that on 7 Oct. 1684 he signed a brief presented to the intendant Jacques de Meulles* relating to the litigation which had arisen between the Recollets and Bishop François de Laval* about the building of the belfry for their hospice in the Upper Town. He returned to France during the summer of 1685, and died at the Sainte-Marguerite convent near Gisors, 26 Aug. 1692.
ASM, G. BN, MS Fr. 13875, Nécrologe des Frères-Mineurs Récollets de la province de Saint-Denys en France. Le Clercq, First establishment of the faith (Shea), I, 9, 27; II, 76, 80; New relation of Gaspesia with the customs and religion of the Gaspesian Indians, tr. and ed. W. F. Ganong (Champlain Soc., V, 1910); Hugolin Lemay, L’établissement des Récollets à l’Île Percée (1673–1690) (Québec, 1912).