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SKANUDHAROUA (Skannud-Haroï), Geneviève-Agnes, dite de Tous-les-Saints, Hospitaller, first Indian girl to enter the religious life; b. 1642; d. 3 Nov. 1657 at Quebec.

Skanudharoua was born at the Huron village of Ossossanë, or La Conception, a daughter of a leading Huron chief, Pierre Ondakion, whose family had been the first of that nation to embrace Christianity, and his wife Jeanne Asenregéhaon. Their marriage was the first Christian union in the Huron country. At first, Skanudharoua lived with the Ursuline nuns at Quebec. In 1650, when the Ursulines’ house burned, she was thought for some time to have been lost.

In May 1650 she was taken to the Hôtel-Dieu in Quebec where she learned the French language perfectly in less than a year and quickly mastered the art of reading and writing, surpassing her French companions. She acted as interpreter for the sick Hurons at the Hôtel-Dieu. In order “that she might always be kept in a spirit of submission,” she was engaged in kitchen work, yet never was heard to complain. She was firm in her desire to remain with the nuns in the face of her parents frequent attempts to compel her to leave. When “tried” before the whole community, she preferred harsh discipline to returning to her people. She overcame the native’s natural impulse for freedom and was much loved by all for her humility, sincerity, and sweetness. Her godmother in Paris, Mme Bodeau, paid for her upkeep.

Geneviève-Agnès had an ardent desire to become a nun and was admitted to the noviciate on 25 March 1657. She suffered a lingering disease of the lungs and was moved to the hospital infirmary on 15 August. She continued to discharge her religious duties as long as her strength would allow “with as much exactness as an old professed nun.” On 1 November she was given the holy garb and, at her own request, the name “Tous-les-Saints.” A few hours before her death on 3 Nov. 1657, she took the final vows, the first Indian girl to enter the religious life. She was buried at the Hôtel-Dieu in Quebec with other nuns.

Mother Saint-Bonaventure-de-Jésus [see Forestier], superior of the Hôtel-Dieu, wrote after her death, “She had a very fine form and an exceedingly pleasing countenance . . . an intelligence above the average, not only of the Savages, but also of the French.”

Elsie McLeod Jury

Juchereau, Annales (Jamet), 85–86, 95–96, 99, 104. Marie Guyart de l’Incarnation, Lettres (Richaudeau), passimJR (Thwaites), esp. XLIV, 261–75. Lefebvre, Marie Morin. P.-G. Roy, La Ville de Québec, I, 227–28.

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Cite This Article

Elsie McLeod Jury, “SKANUDHAROUA, Geneviève-Agnes, de Tous-les-Saints,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 23, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/skanudharoua_1E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/skanudharoua_1E.html
Author of Article:   Elsie McLeod Jury
Title of Article:   SKANUDHAROUA, Geneviève-Agnes, de Tous-les-Saints
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1966
Year of revision:   1979
Access Date:   June 23, 2024