LÉONARD DE CHARTRES, priest, Capuchin, missionary and vice-prefect of the religious of his order in Acadia; b. at Chartres (France); assassinated 1654 at Port-Royal (now Annapolis Royal, N.S.).
He joined the Capuchins in Paris in 1616. He was sent to Port-Royal in 1649 as a custodian to replace Father Pascal de Troyes, who was drowned at Blois that same year on his return from Acadia. As soon as he arrived Father Léonard visited the various posts ministered to by the Capuchins and baptized several persons. During a baptism on 14 July 1649 an Indian let fly an arrow at him, which nearly brought about his death. But he recovered, and resumed his missionary travels.
After Governor Menou d’Aulnay’s death in 1650, Emmanuel Le Borgne, a merchant of La Rochelle who had advanced considerable sums of money to the governor, sought to recover his outlay by securing the Acadian trade and taking possession of the posts. For the Capuchins these circumstances were to create difficulties. Some of them were even imprisoned by Le Borgne’s soldiers, others returned to France, or else took to the woods, where they lived with the Indians. Father Léonard remained at Port-Royal. The following year he blessed a new monastery and a new church. In July 1653 Father Léonard officiated at the marriage of d’Aulnay’s widow [see Motin] to Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour and signed the marriage contract.
The following year he was present at the capture of Port-Royal by Sedgwick and with Le Borgne he countersigned the articles of capitulation (16 August). This document stipulated freedom for the Capuchins, but they were expelled just the same; only the superior, Father Léonard de Chartres, remained at Port-Royal, where he died the same year, a victim of the new rulers. He is considered to be the first Capuchin to have shed his blood for the Catholic faith in North America.
Archivum Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda, Lettere Antiche, 260, f.25, Ignace de Paris, “Brevis ac dilucida . . .” (“Brève relation de la mission d’Acadie . . . 1656”) (photocopy of the original with a translation in PAC, MG 17, 1; see PAC, Report, 1904, App. H, 333–41). Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la Nouv.-France, I, 145–49 (capitulation of Port-Royal). Candide de Nant, Pages glorieuses; “Silhouettes de missionnaires, I: le Père Léonard de Chartres,” La Nouvelle-France, X (1911), 316–23. Ivanhoë Caron, “Les pères capucins en Acadie,” BRH, XLVII (1941), 128–31. Couillard Després, Saint-Étienne de La Tour, 408 (marriage contract of d’Aulnay’s widow and Charles de La Tour).