Holographic Will and Codicil of Jeanne Mance, Co-Founder of Montreal


Jeanne Mance (1606−73) was the first lay nurse to practice in Montreal, founder and first bursar of the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, and an iconic figure in the history of Montreal. She first arrived in Canada in 1641, inspired by her religious conviction to serve the settlers and the indigenous people by establishing a hospital. She oversaw construction of the Hôtel-Dieu, and made several journeys back to France to secure resources for the project. She deserves to be recognized as the founder of the city, along with the French military officer Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve (1612−76), first governor of Montreal. In her will, presented here, she bequeathed her heart to the people of Montreal, and asked the hospital nurses to take care of her body. Her remains are in the crypt of the chapel of the current Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal. Established in 1645, the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal is the oldest hospital in Montreal. The will was drawn up by Bénigne Basset, (also known as Deslauriers, circa 1629−99), a notary, clerk of the court, and surveyor who arrived in Montreal with the Sulpicians in 1657.


Title in Original Language

Testament olographe. De Damoiselle Jeanne administratrice de l'hôpital de Montréal. Avec un codicile du 27 Mai 1673 fair par Main

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 piece of folded paper with ink handwriting

Last updated: June 19, 2017