LA FAYE, LOUIS-FRANÇOIS DE (when he arrived in Canada he signed Delafaye, but from 1704 on he adopted de la Faye), priest, Sulpician, founder of the first boys’ school at Montreal; b. 1657 in Paris; d. 6 July 1729 at Montreal.
M. de La Faye entered the Sulpician order on 9 Nov. 1684 and was in New France in 1685, when he was only a sub-deacon. He was consecrated a priest in Canada on 26 Sept. 1688. From 1691 to 1728 he was priest of several parishes in the Montreal region. He retired to the seminary of Montreal in 1728 and died the following year at the age of 72. It may be said that in the exercise of his parochial ministry he showed himself to be concerned for the welfare of his parishioners and generous towards the outcasts of fortune.
É.-Z. Massicotte claims that Abbé Gabriel Souart*, a Sulpician, and M. de La Faye, by then an ecclesiastic, “wanted to found at Ville-Marie, towards the end of the seventeenth century, a school of some size, and very probably a community of Teaching Brothers similar to the one which Jean-Baptiste de La Salle . . . a seminarist at Saint-Sulpice, had founded in Paris 6 or 7 years before.” For this school, Massicotte continues, on 15 Sept. 1686 they made over a house which they owned in Rue Notre-Dame to a group of laymen, under the leadership of Mathurin Rouillé. “By the agreement entered into by Rouillé in his own name and in that of his companions and successors, it is clear that the intention is to found a community, although the matter is not mentioned specifically on this occasion. . . .” The financial situation of the community deteriorated in 1690, and on 27 Sept. 1693 it was forced to hand over its assets to the parish priest and churchwardens of Ville-Marie. This bankruptcy, which could be foreseen even in 1690, is thought to explain Abbé de La Faye’s appointment to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue the following year.
In any event, M. de La Faye certainly contributed to the setting up of the first boys’ school in Montreal in 1686. That he taught there is likely, since he is not known to have held any other position before 1691. That he may have been both a seminarist and a teacher from 1686 to 1688 was to be expected at this time; moreover M. Tronson already saw a schoolmaster in him: “He does not possess great talents, but he has a very strong sense of duty, and I believe that he is capable of being a schoolmaster at Montreal.” We have no knowledge whatsoever of his pedagogical role, however, or of his active participation in the newly created community of teaching brothers. He appears to have been a modest founder, who kept closely guarded the secret of a recently founded community which he considered useful and necessary to perfect the work of his predecessors.
AN, Col., C11A, 45. ASQ, Polygraphie, XXII, 20; Séminaire, I. 20. PAC, FM 17, A 7–2, 1. vol.2; FM 18, H 25, 2, pièce 16. Caron, “Inventaire de documents,” APQ Rapport, 1939-40, 269. [Louis Tronson], Correspondance de M. de Tronson, troisième Supérieur de la Compagnie de Saint-Sulpice: Lettres choisies, [16 juillet 1676-15 janv. 1700], éd. A.-L. Bertrand (3v., Paris, 1904). Henri Gauthier, La Compagnie de Saint-Sulpice au Canada (Montréal, 1912); Sulpitiàna (Montréal, 1926). É.-Z. Massicotte, “Fondation d’une communauté de frères instituteurs à Montréal en 1686,” BRH, XXVIII (1922), 37–42.