CHEVALIER, JEAN-CHARLES (Jean-Baptiste), priest, Sulpician, subsequently priest at the seminary of Quebec; b. 1694 at Angers, France; d. 18 May 1760 at Montreal.
Jean-Charles Chevalier entered the Company of Saint-Sulpice at Angers on 25 June 1715 and went to its Paris seminary on 7 Nov. 1718. He was not ordained a priest until 1734, shortly before his departure for Canada. The circumstances of his coming to New France are puzzling. It was certainly the Séminaire des Missions Étrangères in Paris which sent him to the seminary of Quebec, even paying for his personal belongings and his passage; the directors affirmed that they did not know him personally, but that Bishop Dosquet*, in France at the time, spoke highly of him and recommended him to take charge of the Petit Séminaire.
When he arrived in Canada on 6 July 1734, however, Chevalier placed himself under the direction of the Sulpicians, who made him assistant to the parish priest and seigneur of Terrebonne, Louis Lepage de Sainte-Claire; he filled this role from 1735 to 1738. Then he left the Sulpicians and joined the community of the seminary of Quebec. The act of admission has not been found, but documents dating from after Chevalier’s death confirm it. His functions are not known, but Cyprien Tanguay* asserts that the grave scruples that led him to give up almost entirely the practice of the holy ministry did not prevent him in any way from rendering “good services to the seminary of Quebec over a period of several years.” Indeed, the deliberations of the council of the seminary reveal that he was consulted just as were the directors and the other members of the community of priests. During the siege of Quebec he went with Bishop Pontbriand [Dubreil] and other priests of the seminary to Montreal, where he died on 18 May 1760.
Jean-Charles Chevalier, who had entered holy orders late in life, seems to have been tormented by scruples, according to Abbé François Noiseux, the basis of whose assertion is not known. Noiseux wrote: “It was with great difficulty that he could be prevailed upon to say mass two or three times a year and . . . when he did say it he took more than an hour and a half to do so; . . . in fact he took half the day to say his ordinary breviary.”
ASQ, Fonds Verreau, 0131 (Liste des prêtres de l’abbé Noiseux), 114; Lettres, M, 83, 120; Lettres, R, 15, 16; mss, 437; Registre des délibérations. Allaire, Dictionnaire, I, 119. Gauthier, Sulpitiana, 182. Tanguay, Répertoire, 98.