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MACÉ, CATHERINE, nun, Religious Hospitaller of Saint-Joseph, co-foundress of the Hôtel-Dieu, Laval (France), second superior of the Hôtel-Dieu, Montreal; b. 1616 at Nantes, daughter of Guillé Macé, a rich ship-owner, and Philippe Martineau; d. 1698.

She was received into the order of the Hospitallers at La Flèche in September 1643. In 1650 she shared with Mother Judith Moreau de Brésoles and Mother Marie Maillet the honour of being a foundress of the Hôtel-Dieu in Laval. In 1659 she was its assistant superior.

Very early her qualities had been recognized by the clear-sighted founders of Ville-Marie. Mother Marie de La Ferre “founded great hopes on her virtue,” and Jérôme Le Royer de La Dauversière realized that God wanted her “to help in establishing Montreal.” She was therefore appointed assistant to Mother Moreau de Brésoles. On 7 Sept. 1659 she arrived at Quebec with her, and with Mother Maillet and Jeanne Mance.

Mother Macé was superior of the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal from 1663 to 1681. She also served as bursar and as mistress of novices. Sister Marie Morin*, who shared her missionary life for 36 years, had ample time to observe her great qualities, which to her seemed excessive, reaching “a degree that was suited only to her.”

Her brother, René Macé, a Sulpician, exercised in Paris the functions of procurator of the nuns of Saint-Joseph. He obtained from the court relatively large sums which were sent to the hospital in Montreal. As a result Sister Morin bestowed upon her “very dear and highly respected Mother Macé” the title of “distinguished benefactress,” for the establishment existed only thanks to her brother’s gifts.

Mother Macé died 25 Sept. 1698, at 81 years of age.

Esther Lefebvre, r.h.s.j.

AHDM, Registre des entrées et professions (contient l’acte de profession de Mère Macé); Contrat de fondation des Filles Hospitalières de Sainte-Joseph de Montréal (9 juin 1659); Acte fait par les trois premières Mères durant leur séjour à La Rochelle, le 12 juin 1659, par lequel elles s’engagent à ne jamais sortir de la maison “sans permission de Monseigneur l’Evêque”; “Obédience” de Monseigneur de Laval confiant le mandat aux trois premières Mères (20 oct. 1659); Requête présentée à Monseigneur l’Evêque de Pétrée pour la solennité des vœux (7 oct. 1671); Marie Morin, “Histoire simple et véritable de l’établissement des Religieuses Hospitalières de Saint-Joseph en l’Île de Montréal, dite à présent Ville-Marie, en Canada, dé, l’année 1659 . . .”; and other documents. Morin, Annales (Fauteux et al.). Lefebvre, Marie Morin. Mondoux, L’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Esther Lefebvre, r.h.s.j., “MACÉ, CATHERINE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed December 4, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mace_catherine_1E.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/mace_catherine_1E.html
Author of Article:   Esther Lefebvre, r.h.s.j.
Title of Article:   MACÉ, CATHERINE
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1966
Year of revision:   1979
Access Date:   December 4, 2023