RAFFEIX, PIERRE, priest, Jesuit, missionary, founder of Laprairie; b. 15 Jan. 1635 at Clermont-Ferrand; d. 29 Aug. 1724 at Quebec.
Pierre Raffeix entered the noviciate of Toulouse on 23 March 1653, and taught at Aubenas (1655–56), Rodez (1657–59), Aurillac (1659–60), and Albi (1660–61). After studying theology at Toulouse, he arrived at Quebec on 22 Sept. 1663. He first lived at Sillery, where he learned the Algonkian and Montagnais languages, and in 1666 he was appointed as assistant to Father Chaumonot* at the Huron mission at Quebec. At the beginning of that same year he had accompanied Governor Rémy* de Courcelle’s expedition against the Iroquois, and in September he also went with that led by the Marquis de Tracy [Prouville*]. The following year we find him teaching rhetoric and classics at the Jesuit college in Quebec. His teaching was interrupted at the end of 1667, since he went to spend the winter at the Îles Percées, or more exactly on Pierre Boucher’s new farm, in anticipation of the creation of the fief of La Prairie de la Magdeleine. In 1668 he distributed the first land grants to the French, and he received the 10 or 12 future founders of the Iroquois village that it was desired to set up there. He took them to Quebec to be instructed in the faith, and in 1669 the first Indian lodges began to go up close to the fields marked out by the missionary. In 1671 he handed over this work to Father Frémin*, and went with Father Julien Garnier to start teaching the gospel to the Senecas. Despite the dangers and difficulties, he remained among them until 1679, when he was called to Quebec as procurator – sometimes of the college, sometimes of the missions, sometimes of both. He held this office first for 18 years, until 1697, then for 15, from 1700 to 1715. Between these two periods he was minister for a year, 1697–98, and assistant to the parish priest of Lorette in 1698–99. He was sent as a missionary, probably in 1699, to the colony of Mont-Louis, in the Bay of Gaspé. The failure of this undertaking in the following year caused him to return to Quebec.
In his capacity as procurator, Father Raffeix had to represent the Jesuits in numerous affairs of which the repercussions extended to the courts of law. The most important action was the one that Ignace Juchereau Duchesnay brought in 1704 over the common boundary between the seigneuries of Beauport and Notre-Dame-des-Anges. Juchereau wanted to have a change made in the bearing of the boundary, which had been set in the time of Huault* de Montmagny. This dispute between the two domains was to last a long time.
Raffeix, old and ill, spent his last years at Quebec hearing confessions in the church of the college, where he died on 29 Aug. 1724.