DUPLESSIS, PACIFIQUE, Recollet friar, missionary; b. at Vendôme; d. 1619 at Quebec.
After being a practising apothecary, he joined the Recollets of the province of Paris, and made his profession in that city in 1598.
He was one of four Recollets who, in 1615, established the Canadian mission, of which Father Denis Jamet was the first superior. At Quebec he was in charge of the building of a chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. In the spring of 1617 he was sent to Trois-Rivières, where he devoted himself to preaching the gospel to the Indians, to teaching children, and to caring for the sick. He is thought to have been the first schoolmaster in the colony. By his zeal and gentleness he won the confidence of the Indians and helped to dissuade them from a plot they had hatched against the whites in the spring of 1618.
In July 1618, Brother Duplessis went back to France with Father Huet to plead the cause of the missions before the Compagnie des Marchands. He returned to Canada the following year. Shortly after his arrival, he fell ill and died at Quebec on 23 (or 26) Aug. 1619. He was the first missionary to die in the colony, and on Champlain’s orders “his funeral was marked by all the solemnity that the state of the colony . . . would permit” (Le Clercq). He was buried in the chapel at Quebec.
ASQ, MSS, 200, Mortuologe des Recolets. Champlain, Œuvres (Laverdière). Le Clercq, First establishment of the faith (Shea), I, 83, 113, 120f., 129f., 147, 281; Premier établissement de la foy, I, 53f., 56f., 101, 111, 115, 124, 155. Sagard, Histoire du Canada (Tross), I, passim. Jouve, Les Franciscains et le Canada: aux Trois-Rivières, 1–5; Les Franciscains et le Canada (1615–1629).