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La sainte famille avec l'enfant Jean Baptiste / The Holy Family with the Child John the Baptist

The Holy Family with the Child John the Baptist

Cornelis Bloemaert after Annibal Carrache, after 1630
Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec Collection, 1993.29791

The Brotherhood of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

In 1664, Monseigneur de Laval played an active role in the establishment of the Brotherhood of the Holy Family in Quebec City. In 1665, Pope Alexander VII granted him leniencies for that purpose. Open to both men and women of New France, this brotherhood was dedicated to glorifying God, extolling the virtue of souls and increasing love and devotion toward Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Although it may surprise some, women assumed a dominant role in this association. Not only were they assigned to pious activities such as prayer, spiritual reflection and adoration of Christ, but they also looked after charities by accompanying the poor, the sick and women in labour. A model of virtue, the woman who belonged to the Brotherhood avoided mundane life, the vices of receptions of all kind, and observed Christian modesty both in conduct and in attire. Furthermore, she was responsible for the financial aspect of the association by contributing to its financial charges, while ensuring financial support for the maintenance of places of worship and keeping up the good reputation of the brotherhood.

Marie-Aimée Cliche, Les pratiques de dévotion en Nouvelle-France : comportements populaires et encadrement ecclésial dans le gouvernement de Québec. Québec, PUL, 1988.

Denis Martin, Les collections de gravures du Séminaire de Québec (histoire et destins culturels). Québec, Université Laval (mémoire de maîtrise), 1980.