The Return of the Jesuits in North America and the Foundation of the “Sault-au-Récollet”

L’Allée Des Retraites

In the pre-suppression Society of Jesus, young Englishmen or Frenchmen living in North America and who desired to join the order had to travel to Europe to do so. In the decades following the universal restoration of the Society of Jesus in 1814, various groups of Jesuit missionaries came to North America to extend the reach of the small Maryland group who had weathered the Suppression storm. In 1842, a group of French Jesuits restored the presence of the Society of Jesus in Canada, 42 years after the last Jesuit had died in Quebec City. Unlike their predecessors, they quickly opened a novitiate to train new members. The growth was such that in 1853, a new novitiate building was inaugurated at the Sault-au-Récollet, north of Montreal, and would serve that purpose for more than a century.

The “Sault-au-Récollet,” as the Maison Saint-Joseph was informally known, was home to Americans until 1876 (when Canada and New York were part of the same mission), English-speaking Canadians until 1913 (when a novitiate was opened in Ontario, Canada), but mostly French Canadians (some of them born in the United States of America). European formators strove to implement in the new world the traditions of the restored Society of Jesus, and to prepare young men to a life of service of the Gospel in this continent, teaching in schools, working in parishes, and ministering to the First Nations.