Missionnaires bretons dans les Nouveaux Mondes (XVIe -XVIIIe siècles)

Abstract : This essay deals with the Breton missionaries in the New Worlds, an area which has just been opened by the Europeans at the beginning of the modern era and lean towards the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. The strength of the Breton missionary movement during the XIXth century pointed to the likelihood of this phenomenon during the previous centuries: the missionary awakening. 575 clergymen and nuns, from the nine Breton dioceses and of different orders, went abroad in many territories. In order to understand this movement during the modern era and in connection with the French religious history, it was essential to draw up a prosopography of those missionaries. This approach hasn’t been considered for those particular actors and for this period, unlike the contemporary era whose researchers feature(d) as pioneer. From the most famous ones to the unknown, they all left their birthplace with the same aim of spreading the Christian message. The profile of these clergymen changed between the XVIIth and the XVIIIth century at the mercy of the French context (political, religious, colonial, economical); but their experience, that we can catch (mostly) through their letters and relations, prove to be quite identical. Numerically more or less according to the periods, they moved in unknown areas they try to comprehend. They also evoke their hopes, their doubts, their pain, and their experiences: in short their everyday life. Although they are French, the Bretons stand out in the Kingdom of France owing to their new inclusion in the Royal State and their cultural and religious characteristics. It is a question of grasping the singularity of the Bretons movements as well as the actor’s identity, torn between the Old and the New Worlds, their spiritual aspirations and the material ties, their « Breton » identity and the interbreeding’s influences.
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Master Thesis
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Marc-Antoine Alix. Missionnaires bretons dans les Nouveaux Mondes (XVIe -XVIIIe siècles). Histoire. 2017. ⟨dumas-01586706⟩

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