Univers culturel de Saint-Sulpice – Archives Department


The Messieurs de Saint-Sulpice arrived in Montréal in 1657 and left their mark on the history and urban planning of the city and its surroundings. Lords of the island from 1663 to 1840, they participated in the development of the young city's infrastructure thanks to the revenues from their seigneury. They designed the first streets, proposed the construction of the first canal in Lachine, and built the Saint-Sulpice Seminary (1683), the first Notre-Dame Church (1683), the Notre-Dame Basilica (1841) and the Saint-Sulpice Library (1915), one of the first public libraries in Montréal. In addition to being lords, the Messieurs de Saint-Sulpice were pastors of the Montrealers and military chaplains. The superiors of the Sulpicians were also the vicars general of the bishop of Québec from 1678 until 1836.

In addition, the Sulpicians worked for the education of youth through the foundation of several schools such as the Collège de Montréal in 1767 and the Collège André-Grasset in 1927. They associated themselves with women's congregations for the education of women and the assistance of people in need, namely the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of the Hôtel-Dieu, the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame and The Sisters of Charity of Montréal (Grey Nuns). They also instituted the Little Daughters of Saint Joseph.

Finally, the Sulpicians carried out missionary activities among the Aboriginal peoples. They established the Mountain Mission (first at the foot of Mount Royal, then at Sault-au-Récollet and Kanesatake-Oka) and then moved to other places in Canada in the 17th and 18th centuries. Later, during the 20th century, the evangelization efforts of the Sulpicians of Montréal spread to Latin America and Asia.

Since 1657, the Compagnie des prêtres de Saint-Sulpice has contributed significantly to the religious, political, economic, social, and cultural development of the diverse communities of the city of Montréal, of Québec and of Canada. With the same dynamism and spirit of service, it continues today its educational, cultural and pastoral mission.



The archival funds and collections that are preserved at the Old Seminary of Saint Sulpice cover many aspects of the history of the Compagnie des prêtres de Saint-Sulpice, the city of Montréal, Québec, Canada, North and Latin America, and Asia.

The archival funds bear witness to the international influence of the Company in various fields of activity. With regard to Québec, these funds shed light on the missions to the Aboriginals, on the administration of seigneuries (Montréal and surrounding areas), parishes and churches, as well as on the training of diocesan priests, especially for Montréal. They also account for the fact that the Prêtres de Saint-Sulpice de Montréal collaborated with other religious communities in providing hospital care and assistance to people in need, as well as in providing educational services.

Moreover, among the institutional funds, in addition to the funds of the Compagnie des prêtres de Saint-Sulpice de Montréal, the funds of educational institutions such as the Collège de Montréal, the Collège André-Grasset, the Séminaire de philosophie, the Collège Olier, as well as the Grand Séminaire de Montréal reveal the important contribution of the Sulpicians to education. Note that the Grand Séminaire, created to train diocesan clergy in Montréal or elsewhere in Québec or outside of Québec, became one of the first five faculties (the Faculty of Theology) of the Université Laval in Montréal (now the Université de Montréal).

Other archival funds attest to the privileged link that the Sulpicians had with the arts and culture. In this regard, let us consider, for example, the creation of Les Œuvres des bons livres, the Cercle Ville-Marie, the Cabinet de lecture paroissiale and the foundation of the Saint-Sulpice Library.

The private archives, from individuals and groups, are a particular reminder of the actions of the Sulpicians in their functions and in their personal lives. These funds were bequeathed in large part by Sulpician priests born in Québec, such as Fathers Olivier Maurault, Jacques Trudel, André Naud, Maximilien Lacombe and René Marinier.

In addition to its mandate of preserving archival collections, the Univers culturel de Saint-Sulpice is responsible for the reserve of rare and ancient books, which contains more than 10,000 works from various Sulpician libraries. This reserve has been enhanced over the years by the private collections of priests and by multiple donations. There are of course books on theology and philosophy, but also books on the arts, natural sciences, history, languages, etc.

Finally, the collection of movable patrimonial assets is not to be neglected. It includes works of art, religious and secular decorative objects, civil and domestic objects, ethnological, technological and scientific objects.


Date range for all: ca. 1643 to present
Technical specifications and maps: 9,000
Iconographic documents: 35,000
Textual documents: 550 LM
Hours of sound recordings: 225
Hours of moving images: 130
Number of collections: 342


The Univers culturel de Saint-Sulpice (UCSS) is a non-profit organization established in 2006, whose mission is to ensure the preservation, accessibility and outreach of the archives of the Prêtres de Saint-Sulpice de Montréal (PSSM).

Classified since August 25, 2021 as heritage property under the Québec Cultural Heritage Act, these archives and "the collection of rare and antique books and the collection of movable property of the Compagnie des prêtres de Saint-Sulpice are of heritage interest for their historical value," according to the notice of classification issued by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec.