Women of valor : the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, St. Paul, Oregon, 1844-1852 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/v692tb52f

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  • In 1986, researchers from Oregon State University, led by Dr. David Brauner, came to the small Catholic community of St. Paul, Oregon as part of ongoing research on the French-Canadian inhabitants of the Willamette Valley between 1829 and the mid-1860s. They were searching for the remains of the first Catholic Mission in the Pacific Northwest. What they found was a cellar belonging to nuns who ran a boarding school for the daughters of the French-Canadians between 1844 and 1852. These women were upper-middle class Belgians belonging to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur order. The purpose of this research was to examine the archaeological data recovered from this project to see whether this novel situation was recognizable in the archaeological record. Secondly the objective was to intensively review the written record to determine details regarding the daily lives of these women. The final objective was to see what the combination of literature and archaeology can reveal about the texture of their lives. The research was divided into three phases: field archaeology, literature search, and artifact analysis. Field archaeology was accomplished over two field seasons and included pedestrian survey and surface collection and test pit and block excavation. Artifact analysis was loosely structured on a functional classification developed by Roderick Sprague. Artifacts were broken into three study units: block excavation, surface collection, and test pit excavation. Six Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur set foot on the shores of the Oregon Territory on August 1, 1844. They were the first Catholic nuns to come to the Pacific Northwest. Coming at the invitation of Father Francis Norbert Blanchet, they set up a boarding school for the daughters of the retired French-Canadian fur trappers who had settled in the Willamette Valley. Their school was in the small Catholic community of St. Paul. During their short stay in St. Paul they taught school while learning to survive. They developed skills such as bread-making, clothes washing, carpentry, livestock husbandry, and gardening. They left the Willamette Valley in 1852 and moved to San Jose in California where they established a college. The written record shows that the site where the Sisters lived served a dual function as a religious and educational facility and as a homestead. Archaeological evidence exists for the educational facility and homestead, but the religious aspect of the site was not apparent. The historical record shows that the inhabitants of the site were unique individuals within the location of French Prairie. The archaeology supports this, but does not definitively indicate gender, class, or ethnicity.
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  • File scanned at 300 ppi (Monochrome, 8-bit Grayscale) using ScandAll PRO 1.8.1 on a Fi-6670 in PDF format. CVista PdfCompressor 4.0 was used for pdf compression and textual OCR.
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