MAUMOUSSEAU, FRANÇOISE, nun, sixth superior of the Nuns Hospitallers of St Joseph at Montreal; b. 1657 at Château-Gontier (department of Mayenne), daughter of Jean Maumousseau, a merchant, and of Renée Verron; d. 16 Jan. 1704 at Ville-Marie.
In 1681, two years after she had entered the noviciate of the Hôtel-Dieu of Beaufort-en-Vallée, Anjou, Sister Maumousseau arrived in Montreal with Sister Charlotte Gallard. An energetic missionary and an active woman, Sister Maumousseau discharged the most difficult duties at the Hôtel-Dieu. When Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix] assumed charge of his diocese in 1688, he asked the Religious Hospitallers to build a larger hospital, capable of meeting the colony’s needs. Sister Maumousseau, who was then the depositary, laid the foundations of an Hôtel-Dieu that was similar in almost every respect to the plans established for communities in France.
But on 24 Feb. 1695, barely three months after the inauguration of the Hôtel-Dieu, a fire destroyed the entire building. The reconstruction of the hospital and the convent was undertaken immediately. The work had not yet been completed when, in the spring of 1696, Sister Maumousseau was appointed superior. She then had to share with Sister Morin, the depositary, the financial worries attached to such an undertaking. And it cannot have been an easy task, according to what Callière and Bochart de Champigny wrote to the Comte de Pontchartrain on 18 Oct. 1700 about “the extreme poverty of the Religious Hospitallers of Montreal, which makes it almost impossible for them to support themselves, the interior of their house being only half rebuilt. . . .” Consequently, on 24 Sept. 1701, Sister Maumousseau, in her capacity as superior, signed an “État des charges et besoins des religieuses hospitalières de Montréal.” This report was addressed to the minister with a view to obtaining increased financial assistance from his majesty.
Despite their extreme poverty, in June 1702 the Religious Hospitallers undertook the rebuilding of their church. Sister Maumousseau had the joy of seeing it almost completed: she died on 16 Jan. 1704, only a few months before its inauguration.
AAQ, Copies de documents, Série A: Église du Canada, III, 35. AHDM, Mère Chauvelier, Livre ou second recueil de lettres circulaires, 187. Caron, “Inventaire de documents,” APQ Rapport, 1940–41, 341. Mondoux, L’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, 221.