NURSE AND CO-FOUNFER OF MONTRÉAL
Born in 1606 to a bourgeois family in Langres in northwest France, Jeanne Mance founded Montréal’s first hospital. She was educated by the Ursulines — a religious order devoted to educating girls and caring for the sick and needy. Later, she likely worked as a nurse at a hospital in her hometown. In 1640, Mance learned that religious women — the Ursulines and Augustinians — had established themselves in Québec and she was inspired to go to New France. She became a member of the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal and obtained funding from benefactor Angélique Bullion to establish a hospital on the island of Montréal.
Mance, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, and the rest of the contingent left La Rochelle, France, on two vessels in May 1641. Once in Québec City, she met Marie-Madeleine de Chauvigny de la Peltrie, founder of the Ursulines in Québec. Impressed by Mance and her mission, Peltrie decided to join the group. They set off the following spring, reaching Île de Montréal and founding Ville-Marie. Mance quickly established a basic hospital that would later become the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal. Through her perseverance and dedication to Montréal, Jeanne Mance paved the way for what would become the most important city in Canada between 1880 and 1950.