First Catholic lay nurse in North America and first director of the Hôtel-Dieu, Montreal, Canada; b. Langres, Picardy, France, 1606; d. Montreal, June 18, 1673. She was 35 when she joined the first Montreal colonists, and she was present at the Mass celebrated by the Jesuit B. Vimont on May 17, 1642, during the founding ceremonies of the city. The initial plan for Montreal included the establishment of a hospital; Jeanne was its first administrator under conditions that constantly demanded heroic acts. In 1658 she made her second trip to France and brought back from La Flèche the hospital nuns of St. Joseph to staff the Hôtel-Dieu. The reputation for sanctity that she enjoyed during her lifetime continued to grow after her death. In 1909 a monument to her memory was erected in front of Hôtel-Dieu. In 1942 at a congress in Montreal, the Catholic nurses of the U.S. and Canada asked that her cause be introduced at Rome; the process of diocesan inquiry was subsequently initiated.
Bibliography: abbÉ faillon, Vie de Mlle. Mance et histoire de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Villemarie, 2 v. (Tours 1854). j. k. foran, Jeanne Mance, or the "Angel of the Colony," Foundress of the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, Montréal, Pioneer Nurse of North America (Montreal 1931). m. mondoux, L'Hôtel-Dieu: Premier hôpital de Montréal (Montreal 1942). m. c. daveluy, Jeanne Mance (2d ed Montreal 1962).