FILIASTRE, LUC, priest, Recollet, provincial commissioner; b. 1646 at Rouen; d. 15 Sept. 1721 at Quebec.
He joined the Recollets of the ecclesiastical province of Saint-Denis in 1668, received the tonsure and the minor orders in his native town on 19 Sept. 1670, the subdiaconate on 2 Feb. 1671, and was admitted into the priesthood the following year.
Father Luc Filiastre arrived in Canada in September 1677, together with the provincial commissioner, Father Valentin Leroux, and two other Recollets. Immediately upon arrival he devoted himself to parish work. We find him at Charlesbourg in July 1678, at Saint-François-du-Lac on 25 July 1680, and on the Saint-Michel river on 28 Jan. 1681. At the time the minutes of the taking-over of the land of the seneschalsy by the Recollets were signed in Quebec on 12 Nov. 1681, he styled himself “director of the Third Order.” During the summer of 1682, having assumed the office of chaplain to the governor-general, he went to Montreal to meet the Indians who had come down to trade their pelts. With François Dollier de Casson, the superior of the Sulpicians, he was present at the audience given by Frontenac [Buade*] to the representative from the five Iroquois tribes, and countersigned the report on it.
By a capitular act dated 13 June 1683, the Recollets of Notre-Dame-des-Anges named Fathers Luc Filiastre and Joseph Denys as their delegates to the new governor, M. de La Barre [Le Febvre*], who was at the time absent from Quebec; they were “to inform him of our peaceable and obedient conduct, until such time as it shall please His Majesty to permit us to enjoy without let or hindrance the gift which in his goodness he has conferred upon us,” in other words the grant of the land of the seneschalsy. This step was decided upon following the bishop’s injunction ordering the Recollets to pull down the bell-turret of their hospice at Quebec [see Henri Le Roy].
After this delicate mission, Father Filiastre went to France in the autumn of 1683. In Paris, he preached the Advent sermons of 1687 and the Lenten sermons of 1688 in the parish of La Villette. In 1689 he sailed for Canada with Frontenac, who was returning to New France; the Ambuscade and the Fourgon reached Chedabouctou (Guysborough, N.S.) on 12 September, and Father Filiastre was at Quebec a month later. Filiastre combined the posts of provincial commissioner and guardian of the convent of Notre-Dame-des-Anges at Quebec: since 1670 the same person had held these two offices simultaneously.
There were various noteworthy events in the administration of the new commissioner, who had to concern himself with all the Recollet missions in New France. In Newfoundland the French settlement at Placentia (Plaisance), which had been served by his community for only nine months, was pillaged in February 1690 by English privateers. In August of that year, at Percé, another post entrusted to the Recollets, pirates from New England burned down the church, the missionaries’ residence, and the surrounding houses. Less than two months later, an English, squadron commanded by Phips* laid siege to Quebec.
To these anxieties was added the unwilling cession of Filiastre’s convent to Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix]. The latter had just founded the Hôpital Général at Quebec, provisionally set up in a house belonging to the nuns of Marguerite Bourgeoys*, and was looking for a larger building and piece of land; he resolved to take over the convent of the Recollets at Quebec. He proposed that they sell him Notre-Dame-des-Anges, in return for permission to replace their hospice by a regular convent and for payment to them of a “sum of 8,000 livres in currency of this country.” The council of definitors of the royal convent at Versailles gave its agreement to this transaction. Father Filiastre and his fellow religious accepted this offer, albeit with regret, for fear of alienating the prelate’s goodwill. On 13 Sept. 1692 Father Hyacinthe Perreault*, the new provincial commissioner, signed the contract for the sale. In a letter of 10 Oct. 1692 addressed to the provincial and the definitors of the province of Saint-Denis, Frontenac was to emphasize this fear clearly: “I was perhaps more reluctant than any of the Fathers of your order to see you lose a convent to the building and embellishment of which I had made a modest contribution, but on the other hand, seeing that it was impossible to ensure that the bishop’s heart would remain well disposed towards you if the exchange that he proposed were refused, and considering that this was the sole means of obtaining lasting peace for you, I was of the opinion that I must pay no further heed to the pride that I might have in my handiwork, and that you should likewise on your side close your eyes to your temporal concerns in order to think solely of everyone’s edification and convenience . . . we have tried to get from the bishop not the full amount that your convent was worth, but at least all that the scanty resources that he has for completing a work as great as the one he is beginning allowed him to give you.”
Delighted with the successful result of his approach to the king and the provincial of Saint-Denis, Bishop Saint-Vallier, then in France, had authorized the establishment of the Recollets at Montreal and Trois-Rivières; he had himself requested the letters patent for these foundations, which were delivered in March 1692. It was Father Joseph Denys who founded the convent at Montreal, and the founding of the convent. at Trois-Rivières was entrusted to Father Luc Filiastre. To Father Filiastre’s position as superior of the new convent was soon added that of priest of the parish, in the place of Abel Maudoux, whom the bishop sent to Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.). The new parish priest entered his first act on 10 Nov. 1693, and the last of his triennium on 21 Sept. 1696. After this he became “director of the Ursuline Ladies,” who had been established at Trois-Rivières since 1697. Starting in November 1700, in place of Father Samuel Entheaume, Father Filiastre was appointed parish priest a second time in Trois-Rivières.
A few years later, Filiastre settled a delicate matter during the absence of the superior of the convent at Quebec, Father Apollinaire Luteau. In the course of the year 1706, Rigaud de Vaudreuil and Jacques Raudot imposed a public corvée; Louis La Porte de Louvigny wanted to make the Recollets of Quebec take part in the digging for the fortifications of the town. Father Filiastre considered it his duty to protest on the grounds that his convent was exceedingly poor. In point of fact, in a memorandum of 14 June 1704 addressed to the governor and the intendant, the king deemed it proper that “those of the secular clergy who have dwellings outside the presbytery, and the communities which have large estates, should contribute to public corvées.” The Recollets had no such possessions, and were therefore exempt from the corvées. Louvigny persisted and called Father Filiastre a rebel against the king’s orders. Filiastre, a peace-loving person, agreed to have his community take some part in the public corvée. Louvigny himself stated this in a letter to the minister dated 21 Oct. 1706.
After 28 years of toil, prematurely aged by the heavy responsibilities he had taken on, Father Filiastre retired to the calm of the cloister, occasionally exercising his ministry in the pulpit and the confessional of the convent church in Quebec. In 1719, he celebrated at Quebec his fiftieth anniversary in holy orders. He died two years later.
AAQ, Registres d’insinuation A, 282. AJQ, Greffe de François Genaple, 19 juin 1683, 11 oct. 1705. AJTR, Greffe de J.-B. Pottier. AN, Col., C11A, 6, ff.33, 36. Archives de Saint-Sulpice, Paris, Correspondance, XIV, f.157. Archives de la Seine-Maritime (Rouen), G.9747, ff.12, 13, 30 (clergé séculier). Caron, “Inventaire de documents,” APQ Rapport, 1940–41, 391f. “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1938–39, 55, 151. Le Tac, Histoire chronologique de la M-E (Réveillaud), 199. Sulte, Hist. des Can. fr., V, 53.