LADAN, ADRIEN (Adrian), priest, Recollet, lecturer in theology; b. 1647; d. 3 Nov. 1722 at Montargis, France.
Father Adrien Ladan entered religion in 1666, when he joined the Recollets of the ecclesiastical province of Saint-Denis; he arrived in New France in 1681. His celebrity is due to his quarrels with Bishop Laval in what it is customary to call “the affair of the sermon.” The bishop entrusted him with preaching the Advent sermons for 1681, On 7 December, the second Sunday of Advent, Father Ladan made reference from the cathedral pulpit to the differences existing between the intendant, Duchesneau*, and the governor, Frontenac [Buade*]. Bishop Laval asked him to refrain rigorously from dealing with this question. On 8 December Father Ladan did the same thing again, and the bishop warned him a second time. The following Sunday the preacher pronounced the words “cabal, division, and partiality.”
That was the limit, and Laval summoned him to the archiepiscopal palace to explain himself. Ladan wanted to talk with him in private, but the bishop insisted that his vicars general be present at the interview. In a document dated 19 Dec. 1681 Bishop Laval gave his version of the facts, concluding that “it was up to the King, and not the Church, to put an end to the difference between the Governor and the Intendant.” Father Ladan said in reply “that he considered His Excellency either in his role as bishop or as a private individual, that he submitted to him as bishop, but that as a private individual he was not infallible . . . that he had not asked for the pulpit, and that he was ready to quit it rather than act against his conscience.” The bishop took him at his word and forbad him to preach. It was a priest from the seminary who finished the Advent addresses on 21 December.
In a request sent at a date that was certainly later than 14 December 1681, Frontenac asked Father Valentin Leroux, the Recollet superior, to give him in writing an account of the whole matter involving Father Ladan, so that he might inform Louis XIV of it. The superior did indeed write this account, but the document cannot be found. It is to be noted that Frontenac, who had been alluded to directly by Ladan, took less offence at the preacher’s words than did Bishop Laval. In his request to the superior he wrote that the Recollet had “spoken [in his sermons] cursorily of the divisions, partiality, and cabals which exist in the country, sermons that we would have listened to with great edification.”
Father Ladan remained for three more years in Canada. On 14 June 1683 he signed the protestation by the Recollets of Quebec in the “affair of the bell-tower” [see Henri Le Roy]. In 1700 we find him at Vitry in France, where he was given permission to receive confessions and to preach. He died 3 Nov. 1722 at Montargis.
AAQ, Registres d’insinuation A, 270, 229–31. AN, Col., F3, 6, f.18. Louis Bertrand de Latour, Mémoires sur la vie de M. de Laval, premier évêque de Québec (Cologne, 1761), 203–4. Caron, “Inventaire de documents,” APQ Rapport, 1939-40, 245. PAC Report, 1899, 77. Gosselin, Vie de Mgr de Laval, II, 99–104.