Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/François Vaillant de Gueslis

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 15
François Vaillant de Gueslis

by Arthur Melançon


Jesuit missionary, born at Orlxans, 20 July, 1646; died at Moulins, 24 Sept., 1718. He entered the Society of Jesus, 10 Nov., 1665; came to Canada in 1670; and was ordained priest at Quebec, 1 Dec., 1675. He first evangelized the Mohawks (1679-84). In the beginning of 1688 he was chosen by the Canadian authorities as ambassador to Thomas Dongan, Governor of New York. He was also the first missionary to work among the Indians at Detroit; but he remained only a few months, not entering into the plans of Sieur de Lamothe Cadillac. After the conclusion of peace between the French and the Iroquois he evangelized the Senecas (1702-07). There he contributed not a little to defeat the efforts of Colonel Schuyler at Onondaga who was trying to induce the Five Nations to drive out the French missionaries. The two principal scenes of his zeal in Canada were Quebec and Montreal. At Quebec (1685-91; 1697-1702), he filled the important posts of minister; procurator of the mission, and preacher, and at Montreal (1692-96; 1709-15), he was the first superior of the residence established by the Jesuits in 1692. He founded the Men's Congregation of Villemarie which exists to the present day. He returned to France in 1715.

Arthur Melanxon.