Frank Henderson's Page on Liturgy and Medieval Women

Liturgy, Music and Culture in Early Canada

Liturgy, Music and Culture in Early Canada

One of the ways that the French and Native Peoples related and interacted in 16th and 17th century Canada (New France) was through the Roman Catholic liturgy and its music. Certain standard sources of early Canadian history contain a considerable amount of information regarding liturgy; they provide snapshots of the liturgical life of French and Native people from the 1530s to the 1670s.

French explorers and colonists brought the Roman Catholic liturgy of that time with them from France, but at least at first celebrated it under very different conditions than in their home country. Spaces available for liturgical use was primitive and cramped, the availability of wine, hosts, books, vessels and vestments was limited, the social and climatic environments were different. How did they cope, on board ship traveling to New France, in the towns of Quebec and Montreal, and in the bush? How was liturgical music provided?

How was the conversion of Native People celebrated liturgically? How did Native People participate in liturgical celebrations both in villages and in the bush, both with a French priest and without? How did Native lay men and women provide liturgical leadership? To what extent was adaptation and inculturation carried out?

Both the French and the Native People were musical peoples. What liturgical music was composed using Native tunes and Native languages? How did liturgical music serve as a vehicle in their relationship?

Recent Documents PDF icon

Previous Publications

Related Sites

Watch here for updates!

top of page