JAMET (Jamay), DENIS, Recollet priest, first superior of the Canadian mission in 1615; d. 1625 at Montargis.
Father Jamet, having gained valuable experience by exercising the highest functions of government in the religious province of Saint-Denis, was chosen in 1615 to superintend the establishment of the church in Canada. He sailed from Honfleur on 24 April 1615 with three other Recollets, Fathers Joseph Le Caron, Jean Dolbeau, and Pacifique Duplessis, and landed at Tadoussac on 25 May. On 8 June he reached Quebec, and set out the same day for the falls later called Saint-Louis. On 24 June Fathers Le Caron and Jamet celebrated at Rivière des Prairies the first mass ever said on Montreal Island. When Father Jamet returned to Quebec he entrusted to François Gravé Du Pont, who was going to France, a relation dated 15 July and addressed to Cardinal François de Joyeuse; in this relation, following a few remarks on the topography, climate, inhabitants, customs, and religion of the country, he clearly indicated the conditions necessary for the progress of religion in New France.
On 20 July 1616, on behalf of the mission, Father Jamet left for France with Champlain and Father Le Caron. During the four years of a protracted stay there, Father Jamet, at the same time as he was working actively in his position as procurator of the Canadian missions, served successively as superior of the convents of Saint-Denis in 1617, Châlons in 1618, and Sézanne, which he founded in 1619.
He was again appointed provincial commissioner to Canada, and sailed 5 April 1620 on the Sallemande, commanded by Deschênes; he took Brother Bonaventure and a few workmen with him. He reached Quebec on 11 July, and on the strength of the financial backing given by Charles de Boves, vicar general of Pontoise, by Henri de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, and by the Sieur Louis Houel, he undertook the building of the convent of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, which he blessed on 25 May 1621. On 18 August a memoir, bearing Jamet’s signature next to Champlain’s, was addressed to the king, bringing to his attention the measures required to preserve religion and suppress disorder in the infant colony. At Quebec he applied himself to his priestly functions, blessing Guillemette Hébert’s marriage on 26 August and baptizing Eustache Martin on 24 October. In the spring of 1622 he returned to France; he died at the convent of Montargis on 26 Feb. 1625, after devoting his life to the conversion of the Indians and endowing the colony with its first religious institutions.
BN, MS, Cinq-Cents de Colbert, 483, Relation du Père Jamet. Champlain, Œuvres (Laverdière), 495, 497, 499, 506–7, 593–94. Le Clercq, First establishment of the faith (Shea), I, 82, 85, et passim. Sagard, Histoire du Canada (Tross), I, 28, 36, 44, 68–79.
The Catholic encyclopedia, an international work of reference . . . of the Catholic church, ed. C. G. Herbermann et al. (17v., New York, 1907–22), VI, 301. Jouve, Les Franciscains et le Canada: 1615–1629.