The early colonization of New France was closely linked to the spiritual revival that occurred in French Catholicism during the first half of the 17th century. The founders, both lay and clerical, saw this land as the ideal place in which to establish a religious practice that remained faithful to Christian virtues, in the spirit of the Catholic reform. In a colony composed of only a small group of French men and women, the Church initially played a missionary role, and focused its attention on the Aboriginal people, whose spirituality they strove to understand, in the hope of converting them—a project that was not as successful as anticipated. In a parallel fashion, Church representatives also devoted themselves to the French population. A number of religious communities settled in New France during the first few decades, and they soon founded schools, hospitals and hospices. François de Montmorency-Laval arrived in the settlement of Québec in June 1659 as apostolic vicar, opened a seminary there in 1663 to train new priests, and in 1674 became the first Bishop of New France. From this time on, the Church began establishing parishes to meet the needs of a growing population. Since Canadians during the 18th century followed the rules and teachings of the clergy quite faithfully for the most part, Catholicism was one of the main pillars of society in New France, where Church and State operated in close unison.

On bâtit la première chapelle [Building the first chapel], from the Narration annuelle de la mission du Sault [Saint-Louis]…, by Father Claude Chauchetière, 1667-1686
FR AD33 Série H Jésuites fol. 16
The Missions
The Martyrs
Devotion to the Virgin
The Female Religious
The Revenues of the Religious Communities
The Seminary of Québec
The Québec Cathedral
The Parishes
The Chapels on Île Royale
in the Church
Feast Days
Prayer Book
Book of Gregorian Chant
The Certificate of Catholicity