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Vêtues de blanc et agenouillées devant le prêtre, de jeunes filles reçoivent la première communion. / Dressed in white and kneeling in front of the priest, young girls are receiving their first communion.

Eucharistie, premières communiantes, undated

Musée de la civilisation, 90-672-330

Capsule on First Communion

In New France, young people learned fundamental values at home and at school, whereas they learned catechism and prayers under the direction of the parish priests. From the age of ten, children received religious education over a period of one week to two months. The First Communion completed this instruction, with a symbolic value that was very important not only on the spiritual level, but also on the social level. Besides being an occasion for youngsters to receive the Body of Christ, the First Communion was their rite of passage from childhood to adolescence, which gave them the opportunity to become involved in family decisions and in the education of their younger brothers and sisters.

Source: Francine Leboeuf, Échos d'antan. Montréal, Éditons Paulines, 1991