Orphans in Quebec: on the Margins of Which Family?

Orphans in Quebec: on the Margins of Which Family?

Orphans in Quebec: on the Margins of Which Family?

Orphans in Quebec: on the Margins of Which Family?s

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Référence bibliographique [4452]

Mapping the Margins: the Family and Social Discipline in Canada, 1700-1975 , sous la dir. de Michael Gauvreau et Christie, Nancy, p. 305-326. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
« This article will explore the motivations that led the church, or at least its dominant male contingent, to resist the new trend of placing children in family setting, which became established in the period between the wars in both Canada and the rest of North America. » (p. 306)

Questions/Hypothèses :
« As an hypothesis, I would indeed maintain that, beyond the various reasons that were explicitly invoked by the spokesmen for the ecclesiastical hierarchy in defence of the religious institutions, the church’s bias in favour of orphanages stemmed from a specific notion of childhood and the functions of education, from a profound distrust of the family’s ability to transmit the religion and moral values cherished by the church, and from the conviction that the church itself was a family, perhaps the best family, because it offered the firmest guarantee of preserving souls, which, in its view, constituted the ultimate aim of moulding children. » (p. 306)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
Texts written by the clergy and by lay circles close to the catholic church.

Type de traitement des données :
Réflexion critique

3. Résumé


« My analysis will deal not only with the debate over family placement versus the orphanage but also with the church’s conception of the family, childhood and education of children. » (p. 306) « Because the church placed so fundamental an importance on religion in the training of the children and because it was convinced that the family constituted far from an ideal setting in which to encourage the acquisition of Christian values, it preferred to maintain children at a distance from their families so as to ensure the supervision of their education, rather than see them lose their souls in the care of negligent or more or less deviant parents, whether these parents were ’natural’ or ’foster’. » (p. 318) « In essence, for the church, the children who lived in the orphanages were not really deprived of family. On the contrary, they were transformed into the best family that could exist, the church, which had welcomed them at their birth with a ’mother’s tenderness’ and ’adopted’ them in baptism. » (p. 319)