Autumn in the life of Louise Thérèse Lareau
She died in the fall of her 38th year, just after the leaves of Quebec turned colour then fell. The vibrant red of the maples formed a backdrop for the yellow leaves of the birch trees and the oranges of the oaks.
Twenty years earlier, Louise Thérèse Lareau married her husband Joseph. Together, the couple had ten children.
Three of them died before their mother did.
Louise Thérèse’s first son, baby Joseph died only a few weeks after he was born.
Her next eldest child, a daughter named Marie-Reine, died in February, 1784, a week after she celebrated her eighth birthday and her parents celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary. She was the eldest of four children then, and one imagines that it was her responsibility to take care of the baby, Marie-Anne. The family celebrated Marie-Anne’s first Christmas just two months earlier.
By the end of February, the baby died too.
The family of six became a family of four: Louise Thérèse and her husband Joseph with their two daughters Josephe-Angelique and Marie-Thérèse.
The family somehow survived the rest of the winter. Spring arrived, and by the following autumn, Louise Thérèse was pregnant again. The birth of her second son, also named Joseph, cheered the family up in time for St. Patrick’s Day, 1785.
The couple had three more daughters and another son after that. All four children were born as the trees around them began displaying fall colours. Marie-Catherine was born on November 22, 1786; Charlotte came on October 4, 1788; Guillaume was born on September 22, 1792 and Marie-Victoire arrived on October 19, 1794.
Marie-Victoire’s birth was too much for Louise Thérèse. She died two weeks after the little girl was born.
The church did a census the following year, in 1795. It showed the rest of the family living on St. Georges Street in Faubourg St. Jean, the lower town of Quebec City. Joseph was a carpenter and their building was one of only a few on that street without a number. By then, three of the children–Josephe-Angelique, Marie-Therese and their second son Joseph–could receive communion with their father.
Note: This is a non-fiction version of a previous story about Louise Thérèse’s life.