DUDOUYT, JEAN, priest, official, canon, vicar general, first procurator of the seminary of Quebec; b. c. 1628; d. 1688 in Paris.
Dudouyt was probably ordained to the priesthood in 1658. He appears to have come originally from Normandy, for he had inherited land at Périers, a few leagues from Coutances. Moreover, it was in Normandy that he made his first appearance in history, at the hermitage in Caen directed by Jean de Bernières de Louvigny. He quite evidently became acquainted there with his future companions in Canada, Bishop Laval* and abbés Henri de Bernières and Louis Ango* Des Maizerets.
The devout horror with which Jansenism was regarded at the Caen hermitage is well known. Bertrand de Latour* recounts that in 1660 Dudouyt, although dangerously ill, refused to receive the last rites from the parish priest because the latter was suspected of Jansenism. As a result of the scandal caused by this episode, the hermits of Caen moved to Paris; from there Abbé Dudouyt, having barely recovered from his illness, went to Canada at the very time that Bishop Laval was sailing back to France (1662).
On his return to Quebec, the bishop appointed Dudouyt promoter of the officialty on 20 Oct. 1663; but above all he made him the mainspring of the seminary he had just founded, by naming him its procurator as well as administrator of his own possessions. In this double capacity, the entire material care of the bishopric, the seminary, and the parishes was henceforth his responsibility. In addition he became vicar general in 1671 and, the following year, ecclesiastical superior of the Hôtel-Dieu.
In the autumn of 1676 he left for France as Bishop Laval’s delegate to the court in the matter of the liquor trade, which the bishop consistently opposed, and which Buade de Frontenac openly favoured.
The absolute necessity of having a representative in France to serve the interests of the seminary and the church in Canada kept Dudouyt there from that time forward, and he was moreover fully occupied, as some thirty letters of his attest. He lived at the Séminaire des Missions étrangères in Paris. Bishop Laval, for his part, did not forget his faithful representative. When he organized his chapter in 1684, he had Dudouyt appointed precentor, although he was absent.
After being a close witness of the first clashes between Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix*] and the Seminary of Quebec, Dudouyt died in Paris on 15 Jan. 1688, leaving to the seminary a small annuity amounting to some 1,000 livres, which had been purchased by his family. Bishop Laval, who was in France at the time, carried back to Quebec a few months later the heart of this priest who had spent 14 years in Canada. The bishop’s thoughtfulness was appreciated by the whole population. The heart, encased in lead, was given solemn burial in the cathedral.
ASQ, Lettres; Séminaire. “M. Dudouyt à Mgr de Laval, 1677, 1681 et 1687,” PAC Rapport, 1885, xcvii-cxxx. Bertrand de Latour, Mémoires sur la vie de Laval, premier évêque de Québec (Cologne, 1761). Maximilien Bibaud, Le panthéon canadien, éd. Adèle et Victoria Bibaud (Montréal, 1891), 83. Auguste Gosselin, Henri de Bernières, premier curé de Québec (Les Normands an Canada, Québec, 1902), passim.