300 years at the heart of montreal healthcareDiscover the history of the city’s first hospital, Hôtel-Dieu, along with that of the Hospitallers of Saint Joseph, a pioneering community of women who laid the foundations of the healthcare system, in Montreal and elsewhere in Canada. Learn more about Montreal icon Jeanne Mance, a key historical figure and a woman of action. The exhibition abounds with facts about the evolution of medicine, the growing role played by nurses and the various healthcare crises that have struck Montreal.
Mademoiselle Mance’s House (Aristide Beaugrand-Champagne, Canada, 1942, ink and graphite on paper, RHSJM Archives)
It was in a small stone hospital with a ward containing only six beds that Jeanne Mance nursed the first inhabitants of Ville-Marie, aided by a few assistants and the settlement’s first surgeon, Jean Pouppée. Aside from her French compatriots, Jeanne Mance’s patients included the sick and wounded from the allied Huron-Wendat and Algonquin communities.
Sister Phaneuf in the Hôtel-Dieu pharmacy (Canada, 1944, RHSJM Archives)
The Hôtel-Dieu’s first nun-pharmacist, Judith Moreau de Brésoles, arrived in 1659. She was a dedicated student of the science of medication, and her remedies were famous at the time. Many years later, Sister Jeanne Phaneuf would become the Hôtel-Dieu’s first nun-pharmacist to be trained at the Université de Montréal.
Sister Vézina giving a class at the School of Nursing (Canada, about 1945, RHSJM Archives)
In 1901 the Hospitallers opened a nursing school to train lay students. In 1945 it was given the title École des infirmières de l’Hôtel-Dieu. In the 1960s the name was changed to the École des sciences infirmières, and it was during this period that men began being accepted into the profession.