Friday, February 8, 2013

Catholic and Protestant Cleanliness

My grandmother, Maria Roy of Milk and Water my ebook on Amazon Kindle and Monsignor Paul Eugene Roy, the man who held back woman suffrage in Quebec. I've always heard she was related to a Monsignor and this guy looks like her.

Kind of ironic, my grandfather was related to Therese Casgrain on his mom's side (Vitaline Forget) and my grandmother to this man. (A Forget genealogist, who had a website, told me the exact connection, but I've forgotten. I know my mother spent a lot of time in Terrebonne.)

 Monsignor Roy apparently was the nemesis of  Marie Gerin-Lajoie, who was (good sources say) the founder of the Provincial Suffrage Committee in 1922 with Mrs. Lyman of the Montreal Council.

Casgrain only came in later in 1926, when Gerin-Lajoie gave it up because of this man's objections. Here's a letter he wrote to her on the BANQ website.

(I'm going to check myself, by reading Casgrain's bio and by visiting the archives for more info.)

In 1933, Carrie Derick, formerly of the Montreal Suffrage Association gave a talk and said she's turning over her info on the early suffrage movement to the Women's Rights League, the new name for the Committee.

Anyway, Mrs. Lyman is a name I recognize, from the minutes of the Montreal Council and from an article from 1928, the year after my fictional play Milk and Water takes place, a meeting of the City Clean Up League, with Dr. Atherton and Mrs. Lyman and my Grandfather, Jules Crepeau speaking for the city administration. My grandfather, who was bilingual, was the person they sent out to deal with these people from what I can see.

The Gazette article gives a rousing account of the meeting, where a Mrs. Henderson (don't know her affliliation) speaks out of turn....

"If we want Montreal to be beautiful, we must begin inside," continued Mrs. Henderson. A dirty house would remain a source of refuse to be thrown outside. She spoke from a woman's point of view of the importance of maintaining the health of children and again emphasized the point cleanliness in the home. "

My grandfather answered, You cannot force dirty people to be clean.

Two points of view, Protestant and Catholic... well, the same point of view coming from different perspectives.

No one kept a cleaner house than my grandmother, who had a four story house and cleaned it herself with the help of her daughters and wayward girls she took in. I'm guessing this sanctimonious Mrs. Henderson never touched a feather duster.

By now, my grandfather probably understood the Protestant way. He had worked in the Health Department in the beginning, in the 1880's  and his very job Director of Services was created from the  Reform Zeal by Dr. Atherton and others including the Montreal Council of Women.

And the Coderre Commission, in 1925, where my grandfather was named as someone who told the Chief of Police what to do, was kick-started by Atherton and the Committee of Sixteen with a 1919 study on Prostitution in Montreal.

The stairwell of my grandmother's house, as it is today. She ran up and down this stairs on cleaning days.