Jean-Baptiste de La Brosse

Jean-Baptiste de La Brosse, (April 30, 1724 – April 11, 1782) was a well educated priest from the Charente département in central France. His Jesuit training included a third year of philosophy and four years of theology. He was ordained a priest in 1753 and came to Canada the following year.

His missionary work began almost immediately in Acadia where he worked with the displaced natives of the region. The Abenakis, Maliseet, and Acadians were being hunted by the British and he encouraged them to flee. He was considered the “missionary to the Abenakis” and in 1760 completed a basic dictionary of the Abenaki language.

His greatest missionary work took place with the Innu people who were speakers of the Montagnais language. These people were located in modern day Labrador and Quebec. He worked tirelessly with them; teaching them to read and write and attempting to protect them from the alcohol promoted by the traders of the region.

An examination of his work in Canada reveals his ability as a scholar and professor. He did extensive work in producing dictionaries, grammars and spellers for the native languages of his people. He built on work done by his colleagues and furthered their studies.

La Brosse became a man of legends surrounding the deep respect held by many for his various talents. His death at Tadoussac, Quebec was even accompanied by a story of his predicting the exact time of his own death.

External links

* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=2002 Biography at "the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02802a.htm Biography at "the Catholic Encyclopedia"]


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