DOLEBEAU (Dolbeau is sometimes found), JEAN, priest, Jesuit, missionary at Miscou, in the Baie des Chaleurs; b. 4 Jan. 1608 at Langres (France); died at sea during the summer of 1643.
Father Jean Dolebeau (not to be confused with Father Jean Dolbeau) had entered the noviciate of the Society of Jesus on 16 Oct. 1628 in Paris. He had then taught at the Collège in Vannes (1630–32) and in Caen (1632–34). He had done his theology at the Collège in La Flèche (1634–38) and had been ordained priest. After teaching classics at the Collège in Moulins (1638–39), he completed at Rouen the final year of spiritual training required of Jesuits, then sailed to Canada in 1640. Together with Father André Richard he was made responsible for ministering to the parish of Miscou, a small French fur-trading and fishing post on an island in the Baie des Chaleurs. Nothing is known of his missionary labours in this place, except that he was obliged to concern himself principally with the traders and fishermen, since the local Micmacs had only just begun to make contact with the missionaries. At Christmas 1642 he was struck down by a painful illness, which in April 1643 left him paralysed in his arms and hands. Thierry Desdames, a former assistant clerk in the service of the de Caën family and commandant of the post since 1639, helped Father Dolebeau most devotedly during his illness and arranged for his return to France in the summer of l643. During the crossing the ship was attacked by three frigates, whose nationality is nowhere mentioned. While the captive vessel was being pillaged, the powder-magazine caught fire, and the explosion threw Father Dolebeau into the sea. He was drowned; the exact date of his death is unknown.