Pontbriand, Henri-Marie Dubreil de

Henri-Marie Dubreil de Pontbriand, sixth bishop of Québec (b at Vannes, France Jan 1708; d at Montréal 8 June 1760). Educated by the Jesuits and Sulpicians and appointed bishop of Québec in 1740, Pontbriand arrived in August 1741 determined to remedy the abuses of episcopal absenteeism. He visited the religious institutions, parishes, missions and reserves of his vast diocese from 1741-44 and again from 1749-52. His efforts at reform included the erection of new parishes, the institution of spiritual retreats for both clergy and lay people, the relaxation of austere rules concerning fasting and abstinence, and a reduction in the large number of feast days during which work was prohibited. However, the common people were upset when they lost 19 holidays. After the fall of Québec in 1759 he urged conciliation with General James MURRAY. He died before Montréal capitulated, leaving New France without a spiritual leader in her darkest hour.