During the struggle for control of the American interior between various European empires, it seemed that one thing became extremely important, and that was the fact that families needed to flourish in order for the strength of a particular nation's hold to become stronger. In other words, marriage and child-bearing became important in the struggle for supremacy between those European empires, especially between England and France.
For reasons confounding to France, there seemed to be a natural population growth in the English settlements. But in French settlements, where towns were founded not by pilgrim families, but more often by trappers, traders, priests, and voyageurs, a distinct lack of females became almost critical. Back in France, this was viewed with great concern as they continued to see the English colonies grow in numbers.
So it was that during the period of the 1600's to the mid-1700's, the king decided to begin sending women over en masse to overt this crisis. The first solution was to empty the brothels, the prisons, the streets of their homeless. For unknown reasons this did not seem to work. Women who came to "New France" and did marry, generally did not bear children as it was hoped they would. So eventually the king decided on a new tactic, that being to find girls of good health and reputation who were willing to come and marry in the new land. For so doing, they would be provided with passage for the trip, and a small dowry in a "casket" or trunk.
When they arrived, these fille du roi or "casket girls" were usually put under the care of the Ursuline nuns where they were well chaperoned until married. But married they were, and usually rather quickly. And to the utter relief of the Crown, they bore lots of babies as well.
In my novel The Casket Girl, Catrine's friend Marie is this true type of casket girl. What kept Catrine from falling under the care of the Ursulines was the fact that she'd made previous arrangements through her fiancé André and his subsequent hasty decision to.... Well, I'd better let you read it...