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Many members of the Charron and LaFerrière family sought medical care and eventually passed away  at the Hôtel-Dieu in Québec City. I found the information about this institution very interesting.



Madame la duchesse d'Aiguillon, ca. 1650-1660

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Marie-Madeleine de Vignerot (1604-1675) was the niece of the powerful Cardinal de Richelieu, who secured the title of duchess for her. She helped finance the founding of the Hôtel-Dieu in Québec City in 1639 and the bringing of nuns to the colony to care for the sick.

At the bottom of the print, the engraver praises her beauty and purity. That she is portrayed riding a horse, a pose usually reserved for prominent men, denotes her position of power and independence.


Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Quebec City

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The Hôtel-Dieu, one of the countries most renowned hospital facilities in terms of the quality of health care, is also the oldest hospital north of Mexico. So it came about that on the first of August, 1639, the three nursing sisters from Dieppe — mother superior Marie Guenet de St-Ignace, and nuns Anne Le Cointre de St-Bernard and Marie Forestier de St-Bonaventure disembarked for Quebec and started work on establishing the first hospital in the Americas north of Mexico. For more than three hundred years, the Order of Augustinian Sisters tirelessly dispensed health care and spiritual guidance to generations of sick people who came to this hospital. The Hôtel-Dieu has been located on its present site since 1644. From the start it had a missionary purpose and dispensed spiritual as well as bodily care to the sick. In those days its patients were accommodated in two wards holding about forty beds each. In spite of a difficult environment and very modest resources, the Hôtel-Dieu was far from being an antechamber of death: nine out of ten patients emerged cured or at least in remission.


Convent and Church

The convent, which is next to the hospital, stands in the oldest part of the site. The ancient cloister built in 1757 under the French Regime still retains its long corridors and staircases worn by the passage of time. As for the church, it was built between 1800 and 1803. Its sculptures produced from 1829 to 1832 are the works of the renowned French Canadian sculptor Thomas Baillargé.


Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Montreal

My research shows another hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This hospital was founded by Sister Jeanne Mance (1606 - 1673). She arrived in Montreal on May 17, 1642 and founded The Company of Our Lady. The Hotel-Dieu, Montreal was founded on October 8, 1645 and Sister Mance would administer the hospital for 31 years.