Back to where I started
… or nearly so. One of the first projects Senior Historian Terry Maclean asked me to undertake when I arrived as a new historian at the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1977 was to conduct research into the three religious communities who served in the 18th-century town. Hard to believe that was almost forty years ago. I found religion to be a fascinating topic; it led in so many different directions. There were conflicts within the religious communities themselves—the Récollets, the Brothers of Charity and the Congregation of Notre-Dame; difficulties with the royal officials with whom they had to deal and with some parishioners; and there was morality of the time to explore. Ultimately what I produced on the topic became a book published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, originally entitled Religion in Life at Louisbourg, 1713-1758.
So how surprised was I when a few months ago I was asked to participate in a conference in Quebec City and to offer a paper on the Récollets. I did not say yes right away. I had to make sure my third novel was in good shape and the new book on Grand Pré was out. I figured I would have a bit of time in early May to write the paper, and so I then said yes. I’m glad I did. I do have the time right now and it’s been fun these past few days revisiting aspects of a topic I thought I had finished with a few decades ago. Déjà vu et déjà écrit, mais avec quelques nouvelles réflexions à offrir. Le cooloque porte le titre : Les Récollets en Amérique : Mémoire et traces.