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GUYOTTE, ÉTIENNE, priest, Sulpician, missionary at Lachine and at Sorel, parish priest of Notre-Dame de Montréal, ecclesiastical superior of the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame; b. between 1639 and 1644 in Gray, a small town about 30 miles from Besançon; d. 1701 in either Paris or Bourges.

Guyotte entered the order of Saint-Sulpice on 10 March 1674. He departed for New France the following year, and served as a missionary at both Lachine and nearby Fort de La Présentation for three years. Although Lachine was not considered large enough to support a resident priest, Guyotte was able to build a church there in 1676. The following year he became involved in a dispute with an important Lachine merchant, François Lenoir, dit Rolland, who was trading alcohol with the Indians and encouraging drunkenness. When Bishop François de Laval placed Rolland under interdict for his trading activities, Guyotte excluded the merchant from public prayers. Then, when Rolland appeared for mass, Guyotte ordered the verger to eject him from the church.

In 1678 Guyotte was recalled to France to work in the diocese of Besançon. He left New France in October with François Le Fevre but his mind was set on returning; in May 1682 he was at La Rochelle awaiting passage to the colony. In October of that year he was appointed parish priest of Notre-Dame de Montréal, an office which included supervision of the parish school. By 1685, however, the number of priests in the parish was insufficient to operate the school satisfactorily and it was turned over to the parish council of Notre-Dame.

From December 1686 to July 1687, Guyotte served at Sorel as a missionary, and from 1687 to 1692 was ecclesiastical superior of the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. By 1690 he was causing his superiors much concern; he was not only offensive, imperious, and moody, but also insisted on issuing rebukes to individual parishioners from the pulpit. He publicly refused to grant communion to a woman who was wearing powder and jewellery, instead of admonishing her privately during confession. He then refused absolution to certain women whom he denounced as witches. Louis Tronson, superior of the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, had no alternative but to recall him in 1693.

Guyotte spent 1694 in Gray and approached Tronson early in 1695 to ask that he be returned to New France, but the superior refused this request. Tronson took this position in spite of petitions asking for Guyotte’s return sent to François Dollier de Casson, to Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix], and to the Paris seminary. The petition sent to the seminary was signed by 40 persons including the Montreal merchant, Jacques Le Ber. Subsequently, Guyotte was considered for work in several seminaries, and was finally sent to Bourges to assist in the administration of the parish attached to the seminary there.

In spite of being refused permission to return to New France as a Sulpician priest, he remained loyal to his vocation and to his order, and even declined offers from the Frères Hospitaliers de la Croix to supervise their Montreal hospital. Death overtook him suddenly in 1701 while he was delivering a sermon.

C. J. Russ

ASSM, Biographies: Étienne Guyotte; Pierre Rémy; Correspondance générale, 2e partie, lettres de M. Tronson, I, 42; II, 156; III, 196, 256; V, 101. Henri Gauthier, Sulpitiana (Montréal, 1926), 214f.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

C. J. Russ, “GUYOTTE, ÉTIENNE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 28, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/guyotte_etienne_2E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/guyotte_etienne_2E.html
Author of Article: C. J. Russ
Title of Article: GUYOTTE, ÉTIENNE
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1969
Year of revision: 1969
Access Date: July 28, 2014