La Relation du voyage des dames religieuses ursulines de Rouen à la Nouvelle-Orléans (1728) from the perspective of the epistolary genre of the 17th-century

Daniella Kostroun (Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis)

Author of the Relation du voyage des Dames Religieuses Ursulines de Rouen à la Nouvelle Orleans (1728), Marie-Madeleine Hachard was one of a dozen woman who permanently left France in February 1727 to establish an Ursuline mission in New Orleans. These letters currently fascinate modern scholars because they present a female author who writes with attention to details that are relevant to the daily and practical concerns of a woman religious, as well as to a New World explorer. In addition, they recount the trials, deprivations, and dangers that she faced in her trans-Atlantic journey with ease, grace, and good-naturedness. In other words, these letters represent “errance” in the New World not only in terms of Hachard's physical movement to new lands, but also in terms of her writing style, which bridges the gap between an Old World cloistered nun and a New World explorer.