Chrétien Le Clercq

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Father Chrétien Le Clercq (born 1641), a Franciscan Récollet, and a zealous Roman Catholic missionary to the Mi'kmaq on the Gaspé peninsula in the mid-17th century, was also a distinguished historiographer of New France who wrote two early histories and adapted an apparently native mnemonic glyph system into a writing system known as Míkmaq hieroglyphic writing.[1]

A Fleming by birth, he joined the province of the Récollets of St. Antoine, in Artois, and went to Canada in 1673. On 11 October 1673, he was put in charge of the Micmac mission by Mgr de Laval. He learned the language of that tribe and devoted himself to its evangelization. In 1676 he tried to persuade the Micmacs that it would be more advantageous to build houses in the French manner, which earned him a stunning rebuke from the Micmac Chief.[2] His superiors sent him to France in 1680 on business connected with the Franciscan missions in Canada; he returned in the following spring with letters authorizing the foundation of a convent in Montreal, where he went during the summer of 1681 to carry out this work. In the month of November he went back to the Micmac mission, where he lived twelve years. In autumn 1686 he returned finally to France, where he filled various positions of authority in the Artois province of his order. The date of his death is unknown, but he was still living in 1698. After his return to France, he completed two works which he published at Paris in 1691.


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Chrestien Leclercq". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  2. ^ Penny Petrone, First People, First Voices, University of Toronto Press: (1984), p. 18

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