MOIREAU (Moreau), CLAUDE, Recollet, missionary in Canada and in Acadia; b. c. 1637; d. 14 Oct. 1703 at Nemours (department of Seine-et-Marne).
Moireau made his religious profession in 1654 and arrived on 10 Sept. 1671 at Quebec, with the second group of Recollets who came to Canada after the re-establishment of that order. A few months after his arrival he was appointed to Trois-Rivières, where he discharged the duties of a parish priest for three years. There he became acquainted with the family of Michel Leneuf de La Vallière senior, whom he was to meet again at Beaubassin (Chignecto) some years later. He also visited a number of posts on the south shore, among them Nicolet.
He was appointed a missionary in Acadia in 1675, and stayed there until 1686. When he arrived, Acadia had only one other missionary, Abbé Petit, who was at that time parish priest of Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.), and very old. Father Moireau therefore had to minister to the whole of what is now New Brunswick and the northern part of Nova Scotia, from the Saint John River to the Minas Basin. His mission register, which is preserved at the archbishopric of Quebec, indicates the stages in his journeyings. He visited the French settlers and the Indians on the Saint John River, from Menagouesche to Médoctec. He stopped off at Jemseg, which at that period enjoyed a certain importance, because of its fort and a small garrison commanded by Pierre de Joybert* de Soulanges. There Father Moireau baptized several Indians and Marie-Anne Denys, daughter of Richard Denys* and his first wife Anne Parabego (Partarabego). He also visited Les Mines (Grand Pré, N.S.), and went as far as Gaspé, when in 1680 he replaced Father Chrestien Le Clercq*. In this work of evangelization among the Micmacs he utilized the symbolic characters invented by Le Clercq.
Between his journeys he lived usually at Beaubassin, of which he became the first resident parish priest. On 2 Sept. 1678 the local seigneur, Michel Leneuf de La Vallière, made over to the Recollets a piece of land with a frontage of 6 arpents on the river “Brouillée,” so that a chapel and a residence could be built. Father Moireau had a small church erected there, dedicated to Notre-Dame de Bonsecours. Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix] visited this modest church in 1686, and said that it was made “of cob surrounded with stone” and had a thatched roof. But by that time Father Moireau was no longer living there; he had been recalled to Quebec to become the superior of his community.
Father Moireau then served at Cap Saint-Ignace and L’Islet from 1686 to 1688. In 1690 he was also at Pointe-aux-Trembles and Cap-Santé. Subsequently he returned to France, and died in 1703 at Nemours.
AAQ, Registres d’insinuation A (Acadie), 1678–86 (copies in PAC, FM 16, B 2, 1, and Archives de l’université de Moncton). Archives des Yvelines (Versailles), H 57. BN, MS, Fr. 13875. Le Clercq, New relation of Gaspesia (Ganong), 132, 150, 314. Le Tac, Histoire chronologique de la N.-F. (Reveillaud), incorrectly locates the concession given the Recollets by La Vallière at Percé. Tanguay, Répertoire du clergé, 60. Jouve, Les Franciscains et le Canada: aux Trois-Rivières, 21–24, 28, 302. Ganong, “Historic sites in New Brunswick,” 315.