Find of the Month – Travel to Africa

Every month, an object from the heritage bequest by the Augustinian community is selected by the museum storage facility and archives center teams. Featured this month:  a travel letter.

Steamboat “Lake” Champlain”, circa 1901. Fonds du Monastère des Augustines de l’Hôpital général de Québec. © Archives du Monastère des Augustines.

Le Monastère des Augustines Archives Center presents you a letter written by Sister Marie-Reine-Elmina Brière, called de Saint-François-Xavier, aboard the “Lake Champlain!. She recounts her first day at sea.

“I write to you from the deck, with the moon lighting me, as well as a bit of electrical lighting from the back. All the postulants are also at their desks, while Sister Saint-Henri minds the inkwell.”

Première page d'une lettre
Letter from Sister Marie-Reine-Elmina Brière known as Saint-François-Xavier, written on July 12, 1901, aboard Lake Champlain (first page). Fonds du Monastère des Augustines de l’Hôpital général de Québec. © Archives du Monastère des Augustines

As missionary women, many of Québec’s Augustinian Sisters crossed the Atlantic Ocean to lend their French sisters a hand in South Africa. On July 12, 1901, two sisters and four postulants from the Hôpital général de Québec monastery bade farewell to their loved ones aboard this steamship. They arrived at their destination, the city of Durban, on August 30.

Encrier et plume - 20e siècle
Inkwell (made of tin and glass) and pen (in wood and steel). The pen is from C.M. Cooper Smith & Company 20th century. © Collections du Monastère des Augustines, Hôtel-Dieu de Québec