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LAMORINIE (La Morénerie, Morimé), JEAN-BAPTISTE DE, priest, Jesuit, missionary; b. 24 Dec. 1704 or 1705 in Périgueux, France; d. after 1764, presumably in France.

Jean-Baptiste de Lamorinie became a Jesuit novice at the age of 18, and on 6 Oct. 1725 made his final vows. He sailed for Canada in 1736 and, after spending a little time in Quebec or Montreal, left for the west to begin 25 years of missionary work there. He passed the 1738–39 winter season at Detroit before moving to Michilimackinac. In 1741, under the instruction of Pierre Du Jaunay *, Jesuit superior at Michilimackinac, Lamorinie studied the language of the Ottawas. Although he would serve briefly in other areas – among the Miamis at Fort Saint-Joseph (probably Niles, Mich.) in 1746 and 1749, and among the Assiniboins at Fort La Reine (Portage la Prairie, Man.) from 1750 to 1751 – Michilimackinac was to be his home base for the next two decades.

In the summer of 1750 Lamorinie set out with Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre for Fort La Reine. He found life with Saint-Pierre unbearable and work among the Assiniboins fruitless, for the Indians instantly disliked the new commandant and consequently refused to cooperate with the missionary. Dejected, Lamorinie left the fort on 22 June 1751 and returned to Michilimackinac. In his journal Saint-Pierre condemned him for not having mathematical instruments to make scientific observations. He was too old, added Saint-Pierre, for the rigours of missionary work, and his inability to speak any Indian languages would have made evangelizing “barbarians hardened in their blindness” impossible, despite his eloquence and piety. These criticisms were somewhat unfair, since the Assiniboins spoke a Dakota Siouan language, whereas the Ottawa language, which Lamorinie had studied, was Algonkian. The missionary’s age, moreover, did not hinder him from 14 more years of work in North America.

By 1760 the effects of the Seven Years’ War were being felt in the west, even where no fighting had occurred. In that year Lamorinie left Fort Saint-Joseph for the Illinois country, to be joined the following year by Jean-Baptiste de Salleneuve from Detroit. The two missionaries worked at the French village of Ste Genevieve (Mo.), where, with the assistance of Salleneuve, Lamorinie tended the religious needs of the French and Miamis. With the formal conclusion of the war, the Jesuit order, which had been suppressed in France in 1762, was expelled from Louisiana. Lamorinie, Salleneuve, and Jesuits from Kaskaskia (Ill.) and Vincennes (Ind.) returned to France via New Orleans in the spring of 1764.

C. J. Russ

JR (Thwaites), LXX, 87, 277; LXXI, 172. Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, “Mémoire ou journal sommaire du voyage . . . ,” in Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), VI, 637–52. Champagne, Les La Vérendrye, 409. Gosselin, L’Église du Canada jusqu’à la conquête, III, 329, 335, 339. A.-G. Morice, Histoire de l’Église catholique dans l’Ouest canadien du lac Supérieur au Pacifique (1659–1905) (3v., Winnipeg, Montréal, 1912), I, 58–59. Trudel, L’Église canadienne, I, 338; II, 139, 158.

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C. J. Russ, “LAMORINIE, JEAN-BAPTISTE DE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed May 18, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lamorinie_jean_baptiste_de_3E.html.

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Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lamorinie_jean_baptiste_de_3E.html
Author of Article:   C. J. Russ
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1974
Year of revision:   1974
Access Date:   May 18, 2024