Deposition of Sister Catherine Sommillard (de la Purification) and of Sister Marie-Anne Guyon du Buisson (de la Passion) following the Lachine Massacre
Armed conflicts among the French, British and the different Amerindian populations occurred frequently and were often connected to the fur trade, the main economic activity in 17th century New France. The Lachine massacre, which was launched on August 5, 1689 by about 1,500 Iroquois warriors, is an example of the violent attacks which terrorized the colonists and which resulted in equally violent retaliations against the Amerindian villages. The following is a translation of a transcript: We, the undersigned, Catherine Sommillard and [Marie-Anne] Guyon, Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal, certify to the proper authority that on the morning of August 5, 1689, in one of the houses in the fort in the Lachine parish, we were teaching young children in the early morning. The Iroquois attacked Lachine and burned the houses. Many women and girls from the higher part of this parish came to find refuge in this fort. They were almost naked, with only their night gowns. Among them was Magdeleine Bourgery, widow of the late Jean Bosne known as Lafranchise, whom we received and welcomed as best we could. We lent them personal effects and clothing. We noticed that the only things the widow had been able to save from the fire were one or two old covers and a medium-sized pig with a small piglet. In witness whereof, we hereby sign the certificate as a true copy on this 9th day of August, 1691. Catherine Sommillard, Marguerite Bourgeoys for Sister Guyon.