350 Years of History

Seal of authorization of the Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal, [ca. 1650]. .

Created in 1639 in 17th century France, in a context of religious devotion and with an ardent enthusiasm for the missions, the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal, (its full name being: Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal pour la conversion des Sauvages de la Nouvelle-France or Compagnie des Associés pour la Conversion des Sauvages), organized a group of pious persons to establish an institution in New France whose objective was to evangelize the Amerindians. Several religious and secular persons made up this group: Jérôme Le Royer de la Dauversière, Jean-Jacques Olier, Pierre Chevrier, Baron de Fancamp, Jeanne Mance, Gaston de Renty, Angélique Faure de Bullion and Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve. In 1640, they purchased the island of Montreal, until then the property of Jean de Lauson. De Maisonneuve was put in charge of the proposed colony. He founded Ville-Marie on May 17, 1642 with Jeanne Mance and about forty settlers. In 1663, because of financial difficulties, the Société de Notre-Dame transferred the responsibility of the island to the Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice in Paris.