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TROUVÉ, CLAUDE, priest, Sulpician, missionary; b. c. 1644 in the province of Touraine; d. 1704 at Chedabouctou (Guysborough, N.S.).

Abbé Trouvé studied theology and received the subdiaconate at the Sulpician seminary in Paris. In 1667 his superiors sent him to Canada, with Abbé François de Salignac* de La Mothe-Fénelon. Bishop Laval conferred the diaconate upon him 24 Sept. 1667 and the priesthood 10 June 1668.

In June 1668 the chief and a few members of the Cayuga tribe who had settled on the Bay of Quinte on the north shore of Lake Ontario had come to Montreal to request that missionaries be sent to them. The Sulpicians, who were awaiting the arrival of their superior, M. de Queylus [Thubières*], at the time in France, had not wanted to make a decision. In September, after another request from the Iroquois, Abbés Trouvé and Fénelon offered to accompany them to their country. Queylus consented to the project and sent the two young priests to Quebec to obtain the permission of the religious and civil authorities. Bishop Laval received them favourably and gave them some wise instructions. The governor and the intendant also gave their consent, and, as Abbé Trouvé recounts: “these indispensable steps having been taken, we left without further delay, because we were already well into autumn.” The missionaries set off by water from Lachine on 2 October with two Iroquois from the village at Quinte, and 26 days later they reached their destination.

For 12 years Trouvé directed the Quinte mission. But this mission, which the Sulpicians supported at the price of the greatest sacrifices, gave small results. In 1680 the superior general, Abbé Louis Tronson, ordered that it be abandoned in favour of the mission at La Montagne, near Ville-Marie. A disappointed man, Abbé Trouvé returned to the seminary in Montreal, and Tronson asked him to exercise his ministry among the nuns of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, of which he had just been entrusted with the direction. Trouvé stayed only a year in this post, and in the autumn of 1681 he returned to France, where his father, ill and in debt, was asking for him.

In order to aid his family, Abbé Trouvé accepted the charge of parish priest and the canonry of Le Grand Pressigny which the archbishop of Tours offered him. He remained in this parish until 1685. At that time Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix], who had been appointed by the king to the bishopric of Quebec, was preparing to visit his future diocese. On the advice of Tronson, his spiritual director, the new coadjutor asked Abbé Trouvé to accompany him, and to gain his assent Saint-Vallier promised to pay his family’s debts. The missionary immediately put himself at his benefactor’s disposal and joined him at the Séminaire des Missions Étrangères in Paris, where he met Bishop Laval and his procurator, Abbé Jean Dudouyt*, who were delighted at his decision. The former bishop of Quebec wrote of Trouvé that he “had experience of long standing and of every sort concerning the Indians, and was capable of excelling in a mission, in the settled regions of Canada and in the wilds,” and that he was “fitted to direct the parish of Quebec.” Dudouyt on the other hand was a little more pessimistic and revealed a certain fear of seeing Trouvé become associated with Bishop Saint-Vallier. He suspected that Trouvé would return to France with the bishop when he had finished visiting his diocese, and that is exactly what happened. It seems, however, that Abbé Trouvé had never thought of leaving the Sulpicians to join the seminary of Quebec.

In 1688 the bishop of Quebec appointed him to the missions in Acadia. Trouvé arrived at his new post during the summer and chose to establish himself at Beaubassin (Chignecto). In 1690, at the time of the attack on Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal), he was captured and taken to Boston along with Abbé Louis Petit and M. de Meneval [Des Friches], the governor of Acadia. Trouvé was released from captivity when Phips* undertook to attack New France. As he wanted to use the missionary after the conquest, he took him along on board his ship. The failure of the siege of Quebec and the exchange of prisoners allowed Trouvé to recover his liberty.

After this adventure the missionary spent nearly four years at Quebec. The bishop appointed him ecclesiastical superior of the Ursuline monastery and made use of him on several occasions as an intermediary in the conflict which opposed him at that time to the chapter and seminary of Quebec. Although he was utterly devoted to Bishop Saint-Vallier, Abbé Trouvé was made very unhappy by these regrettable dissensions and by the role that he was required to play. Louis Tronson wrote to him in March 1694: “Your letter of last year makes known to me your embarrassment . . . and I can understand that it is all the greater since you cannot express yourself about it nor write about it to M. Dollier.” The superior even advised him to avoid all visits to his fellow religious in Montreal, for “that could only be done with the Prelate’s permission, and I cannot believe that he would consent to it; for he is very much afraid that you would be kept there, and he believes that you can be useful to him. Besides, I see clearly what you have to fear at Quebec in the present state of affairs and as long as peace has not been restored there.” This letter was all that was needed tg persuade Abbé Trouvé to resume the missionary life that he had never stopped yearning for. At his entreaty, the bishop let him return to his mission at Beaubassin.

On two more occasions war caught Trouvé by surprise in the midst of his apostolic tasks. In September 1696 a fleet under the command of Major Benjamin Church of Boston attacked the region of Beaubassin, which was completely devastated. In the summer of 1704, to avenge the massacre of Deerfield (Mass.), Church again organized an expedition against the Acadian establishments on Baie Française (Bay of Fundy). As the enemy approached, the pastor of Beaubassin and his flock fled in the direction of Chedabouctou, and it was there, it is believed, that Abbé Trouvé died of exhaustion at the end of 1704.

Noël Baillargeon

AAQ, Chapitre de la cathédrale de Québec, Registre, 25; Registres d’insinuation A, 57, 62, 63, 64. AMUQ, Registre de l’examen canonique des novices (1689-1817). ASQ, Chapitre, 5, 10, 160; Lettres, M, 1, 2, 9, 101; O, 1, 12; MSS, 0478; Séminaire, V, 10; XCII, 25. Dollier de Casson, Histoire du Montréal. Mandements des évêques de Québec (Têtu et Gagnon), I, 73, 75f. 1690, Sir William Phips devant Québec (Myrand). [Louis Tronson], Correspondance de Mde Tronson, troisième Supérieur de la Compagnie de Saint-Sulpice: Lettres choisies [16 juillet 1676–15 janv1700], éd. A.-L. Bertrand (3v., Paris, 1904). A.-L. Bertrand, Bibliothèque sulpicienne ou histoire littéraire de la compagnie de Saint-Sulpice (3v., Paris, 1900). Casgrain, Les Sulpiciens en Acadie.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Noël Baillargeon, “TROUVÉ, CLAUDE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 22, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/trouve_claude_2E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/trouve_claude_2E.html
Author of Article: Noël Baillargeon
Title of Article: TROUVÉ, CLAUDE
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1969
Year of revision: 1969
Access Date: July 22, 2014