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GERMAIN, JOSEPH-LOUIS (but he signed Joseph), Jesuit missionary and professor of theology at the college in Quebec; born in Auvergne on 3 Jan. 1633; died at Quebec early in 1722.

Germain entered the Jesuit novitiate at Toulouse on 21 Sept. 1656 and was ordained in 1676. He began a long and distinguished teaching career in 1662–63 at Saint-Flour, where he taught humanities. He was then placed in charge of philosophy at the college in Béziers (1663–65), at Cahors (1665–67) and at Toulouse (1667–71). In 1671 he went to Clermont-Ferrand to teach theology, remaining there five years. In 1676 he was back at the novitiate at Toulouse as minister for one year, and then as rector from 1677 to 1685. During the next two years he was at the college of Pamiers.

In 1687 Germain was accepted for the Canadian mission and arrived at Quebec on 4 June of that year. He taught both philosophy and theology at the Jesuit college at Quebec until 1710. From 10 Sept. 1710 to 1 Oct. 1716 he was the superior of the Canadian missions of his order, having had some previous experience in that responsible position during the absence of Father Bouvart in 1699. The college at Quebec remained his ordinary place of residence during this period. In October 1718 he left for a visit to France. The records indicate that he died at Quebec in January or February 1722.

During his teaching career at the college in Quebec between 40 and 50 students came twice daily from the seminary to be instructed by the Jesuits. It was Father Germain who organized two congregations dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the college, one for the clergy and the other for the students. He never pretended to scholarly or to administrative abilities. On the contrary, he protested that he was quite unable to draft communications suitable for the information of Roman officials. Nevertheless, he seemed completely engrossed in his teaching duties and expressed satisfaction with the academic achievements of the pupils he instructed at the college at Quebec over a 23-year period.

Numerous extant letters written by Father Germain between 1693 and 1718 indicate a very precise understanding of the political implications and importance of the Iroquois missions of his order. The threat posed by the English located to the south of New France was a recurrent theme in his correspondence. His letters are also a valuable source of information concerning the inter-colonial wars, particularly the events of 1711–13. It was he who ordered the Jesuits, who had left the Iroquois cantons in 1709 because of fear of a general attack on the French colony, to return to their mission stations in 1711. He also played a dominant role in organizing popular preparations and allaying general fears during the Walker expedition of 1711.

C. J. Jaenen

AN, Col., C11A, 32. ARSI, Gallia 110/I, ff.85, 96a, 102, 114, 147; 110/11, 66, 67, 110, 124, 13 I. ASJCF. JR (Thwaites), LXVI, LXXI. Jug. et délib., V, 660.

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Cite This Article

C. J. Jaenen, “GERMAIN, JOSEPH-LOUIS,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 24, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/germain_joseph_louis_2E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/germain_joseph_louis_2E.html
Author of Article:   C. J. Jaenen
Title of Article:   GERMAIN, JOSEPH-LOUIS
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1969
Year of revision:   1982
Access Date:   February 24, 2024