map of Canada; swiped from the Word Fact Book web pageArticle

Missionary work in Canada was introduced by Franciscan Recollects in 1615 and continued by Jesuits and Sulpicians. When English rule was established in 1629 all the missionaries withdrew to France but returned in 1632 when Canada was restored to France. Missions were started at Trois Rivieres (Three Rivers) and Miscou; the College of Quebec was opened in 1635, and Gaspe, Acadia, and Cape Breton were evangelized.

Among the saints and martyrs of the country, the most famous are the five Jesuit missionaries whose heroic lives and stirring martyrdoms warranted their beatification in 1925. The first Ursulines and a band of nursing sisters settled in Quebec about 1639, and in 1653 Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys founded the Congregation of Notre Dame at Montreal. In 1659 Blessed Francis de Montmorency Laval was appointed Vicar Apostolic of New France, and became first Bishop of Quebec in 1674. The Jesuit Father Allouez travelled as far as Lake Superior in 1667 and there organized two missions. At Sault Sainte Marie the cross was planted by Father Claude Dablon and Father Jacques Marquette, the western shores of Lake Huron were evangelized by the Jesuits, and Father Charles d’Albanel penetrated to Hudson Bay. The Iroquois missions south of Lake Ontario were reorganized by the Jesuits, who built the permanent mission of “La Prairie de la Madeleine,” the home of Catherine Tekakwitha for many years. It was from Canada that Louis Joliet and Father Marquette set out on the trip which resulted in the discovery of the Mississippi River.

By the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Canada was ceded to England. For a time under the new rulers, Catholic interests were menaced and ecclesiastical property was confiscated, but by the Quebec Act of 1774 and the Constitutional Act of 1791, the religious orders were confirmed in the possession of their estates, freedom of worship was granted to Catholics, and the collection of the customary tithes was permitted to the clergy. In 1819 Joseph Octave Plessis became the first Canadian archbishop. The union of Upper and Lower Canada, accomplished in 1840, marked a forward step in the growth of the Church. The shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré is a famous place of pilgrimage. Since 1899 Canada has had an Apostolic delegate who resides in Ottawa.

MLA Citation

  • “Canada“. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 February 2021. Web. 6 December 2021. <>