Saint-Vallier, Jean Baptiste de la Croix Chevrières de
SAINT-VALLIER, JEAN BAPTISTE DE LA CROIX CHEVRIÈRES DE
Second bishop of Quebec, Canada; b. Grenoble, France, Nov. 14, 1653; d. Quebec, Dec. 26, 1727. He was the son of Jean de la Croix, Lord of Chevrières, Count of Saint-Vallier, and of Marie de Sayne. He studied at home and in the seminary of his native city. He became a doctor at the Sorbonne in Paris (1672), a priest (1675), and ordinary almoner of the king (1676). He founded a hospital and a community of Sisters of St. Joseph at Saint-Vallier-sur-Rhône. Well-liked by the king, he was offered important bishoprics in France; instead he went to Canada (1685) to serve as vicar-general of Bishop F. de M. Laval of Quebec, and subsequently published an optimistic narrative entitled: Estat présent de l'église et de la colonie française de la Nouvelle-France (Paris 1688, repr. 1856). In January 1688 he was consecrated Laval's successor in Quebec, and he administered affairs there for the next 40 years. He enlarged the cathedral; erected a bishop's house and a chapel of ease in the lower city; founded (1693) and endowed with his revenues l'Hôpital-Général of Quebec; presided at the establishment of many religious groups of men and women throughout Canada; stimulated the missions, especially in Acadia and in the Mississippi area; improved the organization of the diocese; and founded several parishes. Under him four diocesan synods were convoked and their mandates and ordinances promulgated; a catechism and ritual were published. He made three trips to Europe; during his last one (1702) he saw Clement XI and was, thus, the first North American bishop to make his ad limina visit. On his way back to Canada in 1704 he fell into English hands and was imprisoned; he did not reach Quebec until 1713. That year the Capuchin, Louis François de Mornay, was appointed coadjutor; but since he never left France, Saint-Vallier continued to administer the diocese without help until his death. His long and brilliant career was somewhat overshadowed by his instability, irritability, stubbornness, absolutism, and harshness, which frequently resulted in quarrels with both civil and religious elements in the colony.
Bibliography: Mgr. de Saint-Vallier et l'Hôpital-Général de Québec (Quebec 1882). h. tÊtu, Les Évêques de Québec (Quebec 1889). a. h. gosselin, L'Église du Canada depuis Mgr. de Laval jusqu'à la conquête, 3 v. (Quebec 1911–14) v.1; Mgr. de Saint-Vallier et son temps (Évreux 1899). a. rambaud, "La Vie orageuse et douloureuse de Mgr. de Saint-Vallier," Revue de l'Université Laval 9 (Oct. 1959) 90–108. f. porter, L'Institution catéchistique au Canada français 1633–1833 (CUA Washington 1949).