LA FRENAYE, FRANÇOIS DE (baptized Pierre-Antoine), deacon, Recollet; b. 8 Oct. 1677 at Montreal, eldest son of Antoine de La Frenaye* de Brucy, a lieutenant in the Régiment d’Auvergne, and of Hélène Picoté de Belestre; d. in May 1705 at Orléans, France.
Pierre-Antoine de La Frenaye was a boarder at the seminary in Quebec and studied at the Jesuit college. In 1683, at the age of 16, he decided in favour of the religious life and entered the noviciate of the Recollets at the convent in Montreal, which had been founded the previous year. He took his vows on 10 May 1694.
Jean-Baptiste Céloron de Blainville, the second husband of François’ mother, had invited Saint-Vallier [La Croix], bishop of Quebec, and Louis-Hector de Callière, governor of Montreal, to the ceremony of taking the vows. The presence of these high dignitaries gave a special lustre to this occasion, the first of its kind at Montreal in a male religious community. It resulted in the “affair of the prie-dieu” [See Joseph Denys].
After completing, according to the usage of the Franciscans of the ecclesiastical province of Saint-Denis, what might be called a second year of training, La Frenaye took courses in philosophy and theology at the convent in Quebec, or perhaps in France, where he is thought to have received the tonsure, the minor orders, and the subdiaconate; these ordinations are not recorded in Quebec. It is certain, however, that he received the diaconate from Bishop Laval, in Bishop Saint-Vallier’s absence, in the chapel of the seminary on 18 April 1700. Shortly afterwards he returned to France, where he died in 1705, after 12 years in holy orders.
Following the example of his spiritual father St Francis of Assisi, the young religious voluntarily remained a deacon until his death.
AAQ, Registres d’insinuation A, 187. AN, K, carton 1238, pièce 48. “L’affaire du prie-dieu à Montréal, en 1694,” APQ Rapport, 1923-24, 102. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Le sieur la Fresnaye de Brucy,” BRH, XXXVI (1930), 644–45.