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Home WHO WE ARE Virtual Library VIRTUAL LIBRARY Assumptionist Religious of Canada 1850-2000

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Windows III
Assumptionist Religious of Canada 1850-2000

Jean-Paul Périer-Muzet 

Translated and edited by Robert Fortin, A.A., Joseph Fredette. A.A., and Richard Richards, A.A.

Brighton, MA
2003

 

Short Biographies of Assumptionist Religious 1850-2000

Assumptionist Religious of Canada

Table of Contents

Abel, Abel

Bernard, Joseph (Cyrille)

Berube, Charles Alfred

Blais, Arthur (Joseph Arthur Philippe)

Brassard, Gerard (Joseph Henri)

Dupras, Marie-Antoine (Edmond)

Gagnon, Maurice (J.-J. Berchmans-M.)

Glazier, Arnold

Lachance, François (Jean Thomas)

Marchand, Raoul

Martel, Paul

Martel, Pierre-Rodolphe (C.-E.)

Pelletier, Louis

Rioux, Jean-Marie

Roy, Odoric

Roy, Rosario (Joseph Auguste Rosario)

Saint-Gelais, René

Saint-Laurent, Rosaire (Jean-Paul)

Tanguay, Damase

Therrien, Pierre-Célestin

Tremblay, Michel (J. André Elzéar Léo)

Viallet, Martin (Daniel)

 

 

 

Abel (Leo) Abel

1913-1952

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

Family and first formation (1913-1935).

Born at Lotbinière (Canada) on December 18, 1913 in the country, Leo, son of a farmer, belonged to a race of proud peasants in the Catholic province of Quebec that upheld the beautiful family traditions and the ancestral virtues of labor, austerity, and Christian wisdom. Leo did his grammar studies at his parish school (1919-1925); he then took a commercial studies program at the Sainte-Croix de Lotbinière College (1926-1929). Pressures were brought on him by the religious brothers to enter their congregation and he almost did so, but a very discerning priest advised him to prepare himself for religious life with a congregation that would guide him to the priesthood. Thus at the age of 18, he went to Saint-Victor Seminary where he finished his five years of classical studies. It was there that he heard the call to go to the Assumption when Fr. Maurice Gagnon visited the seminary for recruiting purposes to present to the young seminarians the ideal of his religious family.

Religious Life and Priesthood (1835-1942).

The young postulant took the habit on November 21, 1935 at the novitiate in Bergerville (Canada) and made his first profession on November 22, 1936 taking for his first name his family name, Abel. Fr. Léocade Bauer, master of novices, had great hopes for him as expressed clearly in his report. After a vacation with his family, he left for Europe: first stop at Layrac (January 16, 1937), followed by a second one at the house of studies of Scy in Lorraine (philosophy 1937-1939). But war threatened, so the philosophers who were finishing their courses were sent to Lormoy on September 25, 1939 to begin their theology. Brother Abel made his final vows there on November 22, 1939. For work, Abel was put in charge of the vegetable garden where his know-how was appreciated even more because the restrictions began to be felt. In June 1940, the foreign students, notably the English and Canadians, were sent to Chanac, far from the war front; this was an exhausting twenty-four hour trip because of the circumstances and the crowds. A new exodus took place in October 1940. This time it was to Nîmes, the cradle of the Congregation, where Fr. Bernardin Bal-Fontaine thought that it would be wiser to regroup the ‘refugees’ from Chanac. Brother Abel took courses at the major seminary of Nîmes. On December 21 he received the minor orders, the sub-deaconate on March 21, 1942, the deaconate on April 25, 1942, and was ordained to the priesthood in Nîmes by Bishop Girbeau on June 29, 1942. At the end of 1942 the foreign brothers returned to their countries for security reasons.

Entering into the passion for 10 years (1942-1952).

Being of fragile health, Fr. Abel had to resign himself starting at Christmas of 1944 to spend almost his whole priestly life in bed, since he was involved in a fight that he did not choose with a cancer. Nevertheless, he had the strength to study the devotion to the Sacred Heart and to compose for it several remarkable articles for the spread of the “Archconfraternity of Prayer and Penance” of which he was in charge, having succeeded to Fr. Maurice Gagnon. He gave a witness of a supernatural heroism by his total abandonment to the will of God and supporting painful sufferings that were generously accepted as an apostolate. He gave a lasting impression to his Assumptionist brothers and the medical personnel that he advanced toward death as a saint. In the spring of 1945, his legs paralyzed and he was transported to Montreal, then to a hospital in Boston. He died in Worcester, Massachusetts on January 13, 1952 after the removal of his thyroid gland. His body was taken to Canada, interred temporarily during the winter in the vault of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc, and then in the spring, buried in the monastery cemetery.

Addenda

Upon his return to Canada, Fr. Abel finished his theology with Fr. Yvon Le Floc’h. Fr. Abel was diagnosed as having a cancer of the spinal cord and was sent to Worcester for special treatment (1948-1952). He was baptized Joseph Léo Hercule, the son of Adolphe Abel and Josephine Lemay.

From a letter of August 18, 1949 to Fr. Wilfrid Dufault: “My first words are to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done for me. I am sorry that I cause you so many worries. I had 5 sessions of treatments with radioactive iodine. It is terrible! I had a very painful week. I got the last treatment yesterday… Today was possibly the most painful day for my back. It seems that things will go better in a few days. Dr. Penfield is leaving for England for 6 weeks and wants me to return ‘at home’ (Bergerville) for 2 months. After that I’ll have to return for more X-ray treatments.”

Fr. André Godbout wrote Fr. Abel’s necrology at the request of Fr. Wilfrid Dufault, North American Provincial. Here is part of that text: “One fall morning in 1941, Brother Abel was on his way to the Nîmes basilica with several brother religious to attend an ordination when a hemorrhage forced him to return to the Nîmes college. The doctor was consulted and he diagnosed a lesion of the lung. The Brother was bedridden and cared for by Fr. Philippe Lemon who was in admiration of his patient, just as all those who cared for him. From them on, he followed a very strict schedule on his doctor’s orders.  The Superior, Fr. Jude and the student monitor, Fr. Louis de Gonzague Martin, watched over him with great devotion. One can well imagine what this entailed during a time of great restrictions where everything, food and medicines, were rationed, Since Canada was involved in the war, Fr. Abel could not obtain a safe-conduct pass to return to his country where the care needed for his situation would have been easier to obtain. Luckily, in the fall of 1942, the doctors declared him too ill for military service and this opened the door to his getting a return visa. It was only after careful deliberation and great concern that the Fathers permitted him to leave at his own risk just as they would do for the whole group November 11, 1942. Fr. Abel who always wanted to do the will of God suffered greatly because of these uncontrollable circumstances. Since he wished to save his life insofar as it depended on him and at the same time wishing to do God’s will, he decided with the permission of his Superiors to go back home.”

Portrait.

Abel, whose first name was Leo, lived barely 38 years. Even at that, the last years of his life were lived in a plaster shell. Right from birth, he suffered health wise from an undiagnosed illness until the doctors discovered its incurable character.

He enjoyed studies immensely and was most charitable in his contacts with his confreres. What struck them the most about Abel were his perpetual smile, his attraction and love of work, as well as his scientific curiosity.

But it is in his vocation to suffer that Fr. Abel was to present his struggle and the message of his life. He had the joy of hearing on Radio-Canada the text that he had composed for the Archconfraternity: “A woman clothed by the sun: the Assumption.” His struggle with pain gained him the admiration of his brother infirmarians that he called: ‘his good Cyreneans’. Even if he kept the hope of a medical or miraculous healing, he offered his life ‘to the heart of the Father’, as he would say.

 

 

Joseph (Cyrille) Bernard

1899-1956

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

A novice at 50 years old.

Joseph-Cyrille was born at Saint-Gervais de Bellechasse, Quebec (Canada) on February 9, 1899 according to his file, but 1890 according to his profession form. He went to the village grammar school and then went to teachers’ training college so as to become a teacher at Laval. Before entering into religious life, Joseph was a teacher of Greek and Latin from 1919 to 1937. At this last date, he was in Winsted, Connecticut where he worked for his brother Léandre as a grocery clerk until 1949. Why did he leave teaching? Upon his entrance to the Bergerville novitiate (Sillery, Quebec) on December 24, 1949, at the age of 50, he already had the aspect of a venerable elder, so much so that his confreres called him ‘Uncle’ with a barb of malice. There was nothing special about him except for his age. He was very discreet about himself and his past, almost totally silent about these, but he was cultured and had diplomas; he set himself at once to the schedule of his new religious life, very careful not to ask for any thing or to bother others. We know that he wrote poetry and his diary, found after his death, showed a very deep interior life. It is clear that he had tried religious life with teaching brothers, but here again nothing is known. On June 29, 1951, Brother Joseph made his first profession and was named to take care of the files of the publication of l’Appel du Sacré-Coeur. He fulfilled this position with care and liking under the direction of Fr. André Godbout, his master of novices. Concerning his character, Bro. Joseph was peaceful and charitable in community, hardly ever spoke in public, and only asked for the permission or authorizations that he needed. Obedience called him on April 21, 1953 to change jobs and go to the Spanish parish of Esperanza at 156th Street in New York. This was done without any problems since Bro. Joseph already had American citizenship. He gave himself totally to his new task. According to the Superior at that time, the religious of the community were very satisfied with his spirit of service and charity.

A severe accident for his health.

But in April of 1955, after two years in New York, Brother Joseph, still temporarily professed, showed disturbing signs of fatigue. The provincial, Fr. Moquin, was alerted and felt that it would be preferable that Bro. Joseph return to Quebec. But on the return trip, during a stop over at his brother Léandre’s in Winsted, Connecticut, Bro. Joseph paralyzed partially. This necessitated his being taken to the closest hospital where he stayed for six weeks before going to the college at Worcester (Massachusetts) where he remained during fifteen months cared for fraternally by the religious of the community who relayed themselves at his bedside for this demanding task. On June 20, 1956, Fr. Daniel Bergeron negotiated, with great devotion and knows how, the transfer of this sick religious to the Saint-Benoît retreat house in Montreal, a medical facility of the Brothers of Charity. Although he received fine care, Bro. Joseph’s physical and mental health deteriorated. The doctor diagnosed advanced leukemia and his prognostic was that death would come about in six months. Faced with such a future, the procedure for Bro. Joseph’s perpetual profession foreseen for June 1955 plus the supplementary reports requested by the Provincial were stopped. Three months after going to hospital, Bro. Joseph died in the morning of September 21, 1956. His body was transferred to Quebec the very same day. On September 24, 1956, Fr. Armand Desautels, the superior of the college in Worcester, celebrated the funeral at the Canadian Montmartre at Bergerville (Sillery). The Brother was buried in the tiny cemetery of the community, placed close to the exterior Way of the Cross set up for the pilgrims to the sanctuary.

Addenda

The hospice doctor who diagnosed advanced leukemia with a projected death in less than 6 months saw Brother Joseph at the St. Benoit retreat house. In fact, Brother Joseph died three months later. In 1951, after his profession at Bergerville, he organized the files of the shrine’s magazine ‘L’Appel du Sacré Coeur’. All had to be set up and he worked ardently at this task desirous of seeing the list of subscriptions grow. Bro. Joseph lists on his personal information form 9 February, 1900 as the date of his birth.

Text by Henri Moquin: 26.6.1955.

How to take care of an invalid? Since a few months, Bro. Joseph is partially paralyzed following, according to Doctor Conn of the Winsted Hospital, a pressure on the brain that the Brother had received before entering novitiate. He is now in Worcester, an invalid, having lapses of memory that make him speak as if he were somewhere else and in another situation. To my surprise, I found out that this doctor had already treated him at the time of his accident when he had a wound to the head. The doctor had sent him to a mental hospital. This doctor, a Catholic, was quite surprised to hear that this man had been accepted as a religious. I questioned Fr. André Godbout, his master of novices, who said that the Brother only told him that he had hurt his head, but never spoke about his medical history. Before entering our novitiate, he had tried to enter a teaching brothers’ congregation… At this time, Fr. Armand Desautels, where the Brother has been sent to the College, can more easily care for invalids, but for how long?

 

 

Charles Alfred Berube

1878-1962

Canadian Religious of the North American Province.

A teaching vocation.

Charles Alfred was born on June 30, 1878 in Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada. He went to grammar school in Fall-River with the Christian School Brothers (1892-1893) and entered the Quebec minor seminary (1893-1901), then that of Montreal (1902-1904) for philosophy with the Sulpicians. His theology was done at the American College in Louvain (1904-1906), then at the Quebec Major Seminary (1907-1908) where he received the minor orders. His desire to give himself over to teaching, his family’s situation, and his desire to find a religious family that corresponded to his aptitudes temporarily distanced him from the priesthood. Charles Alfred taught many years in Rhode Island (U.S.A.) and in Canada before going back to his studies at the major Seminary of Montreal and Quebec (1917-1918) which he again abandoned to return to teaching (1917-1936).

A late realization of the desire for religious community and priestly life.

At the age of 58 he asks to be received in the Assumptionist family with the idea of asking for priestly ordination later on if the superiors thought that it was a good idea. It is in Worcester, during his teaching experiences, that he came into contact with this religious family that had teaching as an integral part of its apostolic options. He entered the novitiate of Les Essarts (Seine-Maritime) on December 7, 1936 and pronounced his first vows on December 8, 1938 in the hands of Fr. Albert Devynck. His novitiate report underscored the merits at his age of an initiation to a common life when all of his past was spent alone! On December 8, 1942, Fr. Charles Alfred made his perpetual profession. In the years of war, when many religious were mobilized, dispersed, or in captivity, Fr. Charles Alfred was sent as a professor to Perpignan and then the alumnate of Vérargues (Hérault) where he immediately taught many subjects: French, Latin, history, geography, music, and piano… However his personal status was not yet defined. At his request and with restrictions (ad missam), he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Brunhes on April 24, 1943 at Montpellier after having received the sub-deaconate and the deaconate in Montpellier. In 1946, at the time of the foundation of the Assumptionist province of North America, he returned to the United States and was named to the Preparatory school of Worcester. However, his teaching career of Greek did not last very long because of health problems (1946-1950).

A time of rest.

Fr. Charles Alfred’s eyesight was very diminished and the time for his retirement had come since his professional life had taken place in the past. He remained at the school spending long moments reading and writing with the help of a magnifying glass in order to remain intellectually alert as long as possible. Fr. Charles Alfred was a mild and affable man who was very sensitive to the care given by his brothers. He was little known outside of the religious of Worcester and prepared himself slowly for another world. He died on August 14, 1962, the vigil of the Assumption, about 4:40 A.M., in the presence of his religious brothers in the first months of his 85th year. It was in peace that this ‘laborer of the last hour’ went to meet his Master. He was buried in the cemetery of the Preparatory School in Worcester. Later on, the Assumptionist Province of North America decided to regroup all of the deceased religious at St. Anne’s cemetery of Fiskdale.

Addenda.

From 1884 to 1888, Charles went to public school in Campbellton, New Brunswick. He next went to Ste-Anne school in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Charles was naturalized as an American citizen in 1890 because his dad became a U.S. citizen. Then it was Salem High School in Massachusetts from 1890 to 1892. Charles worked as a journalist from 1901 to 1902 in Fall River, Massachusetts. In 1906-1907, he took a Civil Service Course and Exam by correspondence. Charles took Civil Engineer courses and taught this subject in Woonsocket, Rhode Island (1918-1921) and again (1918-1921). Fr. Charles had a sister, Sr. Marie-Yves-des-Anges, with the Little Franciscans of Mary in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec.

“I always wanted to become a religious, and what stopped me from realizing this desire at various times always was the needs of my family. At different times, my sisters left to become sisters and I had to replace them in order to help my family.”

Text by Fr. Bal-Fontaine (Nîmes) written to Fr. Gervais Quenard, March 11, 1942

This morning, the nuntio sent us permission to have our 9 third-year students ordained at the end of their third year: Anthony Foyster, Philip Lemmon, André Godbout, Marc Leboeuf, Aimé Deschamps, Abel Abel, Eric Cooper, Richard Leppard, Rosaire Saint-Laurent. I also enclose a report concerning Brother Charles Berube whose case was held in suspense until after his perpetual profession held last year. Twice Fr. General expressed his opinion concerning him. His opinion was that it was best to have the Brother be ordained ‘ad missam’ rather than leave him as he is. It was also the opinion of Frs. Possidius and Sidoine. Because of this, without waiting any longer, we present his case to you today…

Text from Charles-Alfred Berube written February 3, 1942

“If I am ordained ‘ad missam tantummodo’, I commit myself not to ask nor seek to do any ministry in any form whatsoever.”

 

 

Arthur (Joseph Arthur Philippe) Blais

1901-1982

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

A whole life in a few lines.

The biographical article relating to Brother Arthur Blais limits itself to fifteen lines in the necrology. This certainly indicated the humility and detachment that were the center of his life and, we hope, opened the doors to an eternal remembrance in the eyes of God…

Born in Quebec on November 28, 1901, Joseph went to grade school with the Christian School Brothers in Quebec City. We know that he worked as a typesetter in a printing shop before asking to enter the Assumptionists at the age of 26. His seven months of postulancy were completed at Bergerville, the newly inaugurated Assumptionist Canadian residence. He received the religious habit from Bishop Langlois of Valleyfield on May 8, 1928 and pronounced his first vows in the hands of Fr. Tranquille Pesse May 9, 1929. Fr. Marie-Alexis Gaudefroy, his master of novices, presented him and qualified him as naïve with a simple spirit, but a worker who is obedient and pious and who can be very helpful. We can truthfully say concerning his qualities that the religious life of Brother Arthur would prove them to be true. Right after his first vows, Brother Arthur was sent to the college in Worcester (USA) where he made his perpetual profession on May 9, 1932, received by Fr. Crescent Armanet. He was assigned to various maintenance jobs and worked in Worcester more than thirty years till 1963. At that time, he returned to the Canadian Montmartre and helped with various material jobs. Never inactive, he spent his free moments recuperating old paper and collecting stamps that he sold for the profit of the missions. Even during his long illness, which lasted more than three years, he continued his many little services to the community. On June 3, 1979, he had the joy of celebrating his golden jubilee of profession surrounded by his confreres at the Canadian Montmartre. It was on the anniversary of his profession, May 8, 1982, that he died from his illness. He was buried in the monastery cemetery.

The hopes of a master of novices who is worried but not overly concerned.

A letter by Fr. Marie-Alexis Gaudefroy, dated March 30, 1928, lets us glimpse the realities that were lived by the recently founded novitiate of Bergerville:

“I would be glad to speak of a rapid development for our little novitiate, but I feel that we must resign ourselves to a slow beginning, unless something unexpected happens. It seems that recruiting and finances have to be dealt with since they are urgently in need of being solved. It is to be hoped that we may find a solution to them if we hope to get results. We had our first professed in the person of Bro. Leopold Braun at the mass of the Annunciation on March 26th. I believe that he will leave us after Easter to visit with his family and take a ship to St. Gerard (Belgium) as you have suggested. He seems to be well disposed and I have hopes that he will live up to the hopes founded on him. His companion, Bro. Robert Langlais, is very hesitant since more than 5 months. He is obsessed with a stubborn pessimism that we cannot dispel. All hope is not lost since he is still here. If only we could recruit in the colleges (high schools) and the minor seminaries as others do, then we would have a chance, but we would need a gifted recruiter having some of the qualities of Fr. M. Clement [Staub]. He is successful for his Congregation of sisters, but he spends time doing so and is audacious. As you know, two lay brothers have left. Another lay brother novice is quite shaky, but I have hopes that the 3 remaining of the 5 from last year will finish their novitiate. Two postulants await their investiture with the habit at the beginning of May [one is Joseph Blais, the other Gerard Brassard]. Bishop Langlois has accepted in principle to preside the ceremony, since one of the postulants is a former servant of the archbishopric. We are still buried in snow. From afar and belatedly, I send you my wishes for holy Pascal joys, but our prayers will arrive in time. With filial obedience. M. Alexis”.

Addenda

He was from the parish of Notre-Dame de Jacques Cartier in Quebec. Bro. Arthur would sing Canadian folk songs to amuse the religious. He had cancer of the pancreas and to the amazement of his doctor who had given him less than a year to live, Bro. Arthur lived a few years beyond that. His nickname was “TiTur”. He was very friendly with people and would stop to talk to them at the Canadian Montmartre.

“We finally decided, in accordance with the jubilarian, on June 3rd, a Sunday afternoon, when you and your Council would already be present in Quebec. The ceremony would commence with a thanksgiving Eucharist at 5, when Brother [Arthur] could renew his vows, followed by a 'vin d’honneur' and a toast, to be completed by a dinner-banquet and a few speeches to highlight his fifty years of religious fidelity.”(Letter from Fr. Roger Tougas to Fr. Edgar Bourque, provincial, April 12, 1979)

Letter from Bro. Arthur Blais to Fr. Edgar Bourque, October 14, 1963

“We arrived safely. We arrived at Sherbrooke at 7:30 p.m. and had supper there. At 9:15 p.m. we were at Beauvoir. Bro. Gaétan received us; we all slept there; he was surprised to see me since he thought I had returned to the States.

On Sunday we left Beauvoir at 10:00 a.m. and arrived at the Montmartre at 2 p.m. In the morning, I help Bro. Christian in the sacristy when I have the time and I do several other jobs. This morning, we brought in the votive lamps that were outside at the grotto and this afternoon we placed the red benches in a shelter.

Thank you once again for all that you did for me and I’ll always keep a good souvenir of Worcester.”

 

 

Gérard (Joseph Henri) Brassard

1906-1991

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

An artistic religious.

Joseph Henri was born on March 26, 1906 in Quebec. His first studies took place at the boarding school of Saint-Louis de Gonzague and continued at the Quebec minor seminary (1918-1921). He then started a professional or semi-professional life: a year and a half as a nurse at the Quebec city Hotel-Dieu, three years in the service of the Quebec archbishopric, and a year at Valleyfield with Bishop Langlois. At that time, he asked to become a religious brother. He took the habit with the name of Gérard at Bergerville-Sillery near Quebec on May 8, 1928. His master of novices, Fr. Marie-Alexis Gaudefroy, presented him to the first vows on May 9, 1929 with a favorable report: “Brother Gérard gave total satisfaction during the novitiate as far as work, piety, devotion, good spirit, and efforts to correct his impatience are concerned”. From 1930 to 1947, Bro. Gérard was a monitor and sacristan at the Preparatory School in Worcester. Fr. Crescent Armanet presented him for perpetual profession on May 9, 1932 with the following report: “Although he has a character that is closed and proud, Bro. Gérard does well and knows how to gain the esteem of his fellow religious and the students. He is serious and renders great services in our house as monitor and administrator of two stores. He is very adept and resourceful in office work. His manners are distinguished, his tastes and talents reliable. He loves the Congregation”. In 1947, Bro. Gérard became director of pilgrimages for Our Lady of Salvation. It was in this position that he accompanied the bishop of Worcester, Msgr. John-J. Wright, [later Cardinal Wright], on a pilgrimage to the diocese of Rouen in honor of Joan of Arc on September 15, 1956. From 1960 to 1963, he was sacristan at the sanctuary of Montmartre in Quebec. If we are to believe Fr. Henri Moquin, he moped around and did not do what he was asked to do. That is why the provincial suggested another nomination: Cardinal Cushing from Boston can get something out of Brother Gérard. Please let him leave and go to Boston. There are always difficulties of the past. This will be less difficult for him since he will be very busy. The cardinal will be able to counsel him and correct him or dismiss him. My opinion is that this religious be permitted to go work with the cardinal: he’ll do what he likes to do, he’ll handle a lot of things, and the expenses will be paid by others”. This letter of recommendation was not exactly flattering, but it proved to be useful. It is thus that the brother obtained an indult of exclaustration on October 23, 1963, to work with Cardinal Cushing of Boston. In 1964, he lived with the Sons of Mary and continued to organize annual pilgrimages for the sick and handicapped under the direction of the Marist Brothers. In 1970, he founded at Lourdes an Association for Handicapped and sick persons who were isolated. Brother Brassard set up the programs for pilgrimages for and with Cardinal Cushing and Cardinal Medeiros. It was in 1971 that Bro. Gérard retired from the pilgrimage apostolate and went to the prayer house ‘Domus Mariae’ in Worcester.

A gifted writer.

Bro. Brassard is a renowned writer: history of churches and literary works such as ‘Armorial of the Canadian Hierarchy, 300 years’, ‘La Basilique-Cathédrale Saint-Michel de Sherbrooke’, ‘Armorial of the American Hierarchy of New England’, ‘Encyclopedia of Catholic Bishops of America in ten volumes’. ‘Epilogue’… He contributed to the conception of the cathedral of Saint-Michel in Sherbrooke and showed that he was an accomplished artist in the domain of liturgy. It was with taste that he chose the various objects needed for the decoration and the celebrations. Finally, he fulfilled with perfection the job of master of ceremonies for the bishops. He died November 8, 1991.

Addenda

Brother Gérard had his share of sufferings with diabetes, amputation of both legs, and blindness. Bro. Gérard was also a teacher of liturgy. He gave talks to the students on good manners and hygiene. He was briefly stationed in Paris where he worked for our Lady of Salvation conducting pilgrimages. From 1947 to 1960, Bro. Brassard continued his work in Worcester. He was an expert in heraldry, designing the coat of arms of many bishops.

An avocation, a dream, a treasure, and a Herculean labor that weathered nearly 60 years of incredible obstacles have finally borne fruit with the publication of the handsome first volume of the “Encyclopedia of the Catholic Bishops in America: 1789-1989,” edited by a blind 80-year old Canadian double amputee named Brother Gerard Brassard of Worcester, Mass. A second volume is at the printer, and all 10 volumes should be out for the bicentennial of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy in 1989. The full set will have portraits, biographies, and coats of arms for every bishop, archbishop, and cardinal who served in the U.S. since the appointment of Bishop John Carroll to Baltimore in 1789. Volume one documents all the popes of the U.S. Church’s first 200 years, plus all the American cardinals, both native and foreign born. The “Encyclopedia” is a sepia-print, gold-stamped set that began as a teenage hobby; Brother Brassard later founded the Lourdes Handicapped Association in 1970. His labors survived a tornado, which hit his college residence in 1953 and scattered thousands of pages, forcing him to begin anew. The Knights of Columbus have funded the work. [Our Sunday Visitor]

Book Mobile:

“Encyclopedia of the Catholic Bishops in America 1789—1989, Volume One: by Brother Gerard Brassard, A. A. ; Knights of Columbus Publishing Co., New Haven, 1984; 220 pages

By Rev. Richard D. McGrail

This first of a projected ten-volume series provides the background for the heraldic history principally of the individual members of the American hierarchy since its founding in 1789.

The 15 Popes during the 200 years, the 10 Apostolic Delegates, and current Apostolic Pronuncio, the 33 American-born cardinals, and the 22 cardinals born abroad but serving here, are dealt with extensively.

An introduction to the episcopacy follows – the subject matter of the subsequent eight volumes – along with a treatment of emblematic designs of the United States, its seals and flag; and finally heraldry, rules and regulations.

“Heraldry (coat-of-arms),” writes cardinal Amleto Cicognani in his preface, “is a precious adjunct of history; it gives an insight to people and places.”

Insight is the hallmark of Brother Brassard’s 35 years of research, insight into members of the hierarchy distinguishing them one from another.

Brother Brassard’s Worcester days, one on the campus of Assumption College, were ones also conducting pilgrimages from here to far-away shrines, some reachable by bus, others requiring air travel.

His labors, resulting from his research then, also put us in touch with our religious traditions, as did his pilgrimages.

As a reference work in the history of the Church in the United States, this volume (as with earlier volumes which I’ve seen and read) is invaluable.

As a means of touching and being touched by the flesh and blood dimension of Church leadership, this encyclopedia is irreplaceable.

 

 

Marie-Antoine (Edmond) Dupras

1896-1942

Canadian Religious of the Province of Paris.

From Canada to Paris, on several fronts.

Edmond Dupras was born on September 27, 1896 in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, in the diocese of Alexandria. After quick studies, Edmond did a variety of jobs: he worked in a cotton factory, then in a bedding factory, and finally with a telephone company. Of a very happy disposition, meek and serviceable, docile, but with a non practical spirit although full of good will, Edmond volunteered in May of 1917 for active military service on the French lines during World War I. On March 27, 1919, he was discharged at Ottawa. He tried Cistercian life at the Trappist monastery of Notre-Dame du Lac (Oka) and spent three years with temporary vows. At that time, he asked the Assumptionists to accept him as a choir novice. Fr. Léonide de Guyo received him on January 5, 1930 at Les Essarts (Seine-Maritime) and he was vested with the religious habit under the name of Brother Marie-Antoine. At the end of his novitiate as a choir brother, on his own, Brother Marie-Antoine asked to begin another year of novitiate as a lay brother starting on December 30, 1930. He pronounced his first temporary vows with the Assumption on December 29, 1931 at Les Essarts. Until 1934, Brother Marie-Antoine worked there on the farm and the property.

At Saint-Denis.

Brother Marie-Antoine then went to the house for late vocations at Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis) in the north of Paris under the care of Fr. Didier Nègre, superior. This community animated several social works in a section considered to be difficult and almost impermeable to religious influence. Father Didier who was the mainstay of this work willingly presented Brother Marie-Antoine for perpetual profession on January 16, 1935: “He is an excellent religious, humble, devoted, pious, and having a good attitude. The only reproach to be made is a certain slowness due to his temperament, but he redeems it by his perseverance”. Brother Marie-Antoine lived at Saint-Denis from 1934 to 1940 involved in vocation work and abandoned children for which Fr. Didier begged money.

The perturbations of war.

At the time of the rout in May-June 1940, Fr. Didier Nègre sought to protect the personnel of the house, the religious and students, as well as the little girls of the abandoned children of which he was in charge, in Béthisy (Oise), a country site of Valois near Senlis where they were less exposed than in the Paris suburbs. The battles raged around Paris. Saint-Denis was bombed. Four parachutists landed in the park next to the house. One was killed and the other three were captured. Finally the religious and students were able to cross over to Chanac (Lozère) with the Oblate Sisters, leaving the house abandoned for a time and open to looters. In August 1940, Fr. Adolphe Bousquet returned there so as to give religious services in the Saint-Gabriel chapel and Fr. Didier Nègre returned on October 27 to resume his functions. Brother Marie-Antoine, a Canadian citizen, remained at Chanac (Lozère). He died there on May 15, 1942. Fr. Gervais Quenard announced this to the Congregation in a laconic style: “ In the course of May, we have lost a fine lay brother, Brother Marie-Antoine Dupras”. In the same year, the house of Chanac had another death, that of Fr. François de Sales Prudhommeaux.

Addenda

“It is this morning that the funeral of our good Brother Marie-Antoine was held. He left us very quickly: Friday evening, May 8, he went to bed after throwing up blood while watching over the sheep. In the course of the night, the same problem recurred to the point that I urgently administered the sacrament of Extreme Unction. While this was going on, we alerted the doctor who arrived quickly and diagnosed a stomach ulcer.

The following day, a Saturday, the brother felt better, and he felt better each day till Ascension Thursday at which time he received communion and ate a bit. However, the following night, the same problem recurred. As I noticed that he was rapidly going downhill, I gave him absolution again and asked him to offer his life for the Church, the Pope, the Congregation, and our Chanac house. I helped him renew his vows and while we were reciting the Litany of the Agonizing, Brother calmly passed away.”

[Letter from Fr. Hildebrand, superior at Chanac dated May 17, 1942.]

Fr. Abel Abel wrote to Fr. Didier Nègre at St-Denis (Seine) asking for information on Brother Marie-Antoine Dupras, January 28, 1949.

I have just received from Worcester the precious information that you kindly sent concerning our beloved Brother Marie-Antoine… It is true that few here know him… This is one of the many reasons that pushed me to try to present to them this interesting religious. He was the leader of the Assumptionist Canadian brothers. I always held him in great esteem… God does not only use gifted persons to show His Wisdom and Goodness; “et exaltavit humiles”; this is the marvelous revenge of a Judge who evaluates lives according to their degree of humility and love…”

Letter from Fr. Didier Nègre from St-Denis dated January 14, 1949.

I am writing concerning the dear and regretted Brother Marie-Antoine. I do so more so since I knew him well and he was an exemplary religious on every point.

In 1926 Bro. Marie-Antoine came to Europe: 1- for a pilgrimage to Lourdes to ask the Virgin to heal a tumor on his knee. (This tumor was healed instantly in the pool at Lourdes.) 2- to pray at the tomb of his father who died in this city following wounds received during the war in 1914. While at Lourdes, he read in ‘Le Pèlerin’ our add concerning late vocations that had been transferred from Lorgues to St-Denis. He asked to be admitted and, during October 1926, ‘Rosa, la Rose’ at the age of about 27. An energetic, honest, humble, and pious man, he gives his full measure to the point where the teachers and students are in admiration of this young straightforward man always the first to do the unpleasant tasks.

For 4 years, he stayed at St-Denis. His secondary school studies finished, but because of certain slowness, we felt that he had many lacks that would be difficult to remedy even if he started the grades over. This could be an obstacle to his pursuing more advanced studies. In spite of this, he was admitted to the choir brothers’ novitiate. But at the end of the year, what we had feared proved to be true. We told him that he could be a religious with us, but in a more humble manner and suggested that he enter the novitiate of Les Essarts as a lay brother, the same house where he had been a choir brother. Ever humble and obedient, he accepted this new form of religious life. With his constant piety, obedience, and devotedness, he was the model for the lay brother novices. Having finished novitiate, he was named to St-Denis where he would take care of the most humble tasks with the same care and simplicity: assistant cook, dishes, heating, sweeping, errands, etc.

Of an equal disposition, calm, always seeing the good side of things, and very polite, these traits made him liked by all. We can never say enough good about the good he did in our communist area. With his smile, goodness radiated from him. One could feel a man of God and people would ask him to pray for them. He obtained so many graces for them. He spent long hours at the foot of the altar in our St-Gabriel chapel!

As he left the dishwashing room, he looked at the picture of the Virgin with tender devotion while smiling.

Then, trouble came! The St-Denis house right in the center of the wartime factories was particularly exposed. Bombs fell all around us every day. We expected the worse. However, the brother, always unnerved, continued his work as usual while the planes loaded with bombs passed overhead. It is true that he was an old soldier of the war of 1914 and his bravery had earned him the Military Medal.

When the Germans advanced, we had to leave St-Denis so as not to let the youth of the Late Vocations program and Brother Marie-Antoine, a Canadian, fall into the hands of the enemy as prisoners. We found hospitality at Chanac (Lozère).

Just like at St-Denis and even more so, in the Catholic area, it did not take long for the people to notice the goodness and piety of this Brother, and from everywhere people asked for his prayers for the young men at war and the prisoners. The Brother prayed for them scrupulously.

All of the young men recommended to his prayers came back safely with gratitude toward him.

Then, the late vocations who had taken refuge at Chanac were able to return to St-Denis following new decisions by the German officials. But, Brother Marie-Antoine, a Canadian, had to stay in the Lozère, a region not yet occupied by the enemy, in order to avoid being taken prisoner. Once we had gone, he was able to find shelter at the alumnate of Christ-Roi in the same locality. Once again, he gave himself totally to his work. Among his other tasks, they placed him in charge of a small herd of sheep. It is while he was watching over the sheep in a field near the alumnate that the first symptoms of the sickness that was to carry him off in a few days revealed themselves…

As you noticed, in the ‘éphémérides’ it is said that a luminous cross appeared over the house, Here are some details on that.

The day of the death of the Brother, some people from Chanac went to get supplies at Marijoulot, about 2 km. away, where they met some peasants crying who asked what was happening at the seminary (alumnate), what feast was being celebrated, since they saw above the house of Christ-Roi, like a beautiful ostensorium radiating a bright light. The people who had come for supplies answered: “Alas! the seminary is certainly not celebrating; on the contrary, it has a great sadness, for Brother Marie-Antoine is dead.” There you have the facts. Was this an optical illusion? It is not up to me to say. To each his own interpretation.

What is certain is that, many at Chanac or St-Denis who had problems asked good Brother Marie-Antoine for prayers, and they received graces, at times astonishing ones. I pray for him to intercede for me and I often felt the protection and help of this good religious that I knew very well and esteem as a saint.

Canada, which he loved so dearly, can be proud of this religious who was a credit to his country and congregation.

Fr. Didider Nègre (1877-1954) received the final vows of Bro. Marie-Antoine. At age 33, he became a postulant. His mother, Lillie Launthier, was still alive at this time. His father, Pierre Antoine was dead. Before the war, he worked as a stenographer at the telephone company. He then went to take part in the war from 1916 to 1919. After his discharge in 1919, he worked in a factory and entered the Trappist Monastery of Notre-Dame du Lac (Oka) in Canada (1919-1926). From 1923 to 1926, he made temporary vows as a lay brother and left on April 16, 1926. The people of the area where he lived at St-Denis and Chanac considered him a saint. He is the first on the list of religious in the Chanac burial vault.

[Lettre à la Dispersion, Paris, March 12, 1932 # 431.]

The reports from the Canadian Armed Forces say he entered the Draft Canadian Railway Troops as a sapper in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and applied for overseas duty. He is said to have been 22 years old, 5’ 3”, with a dark complexion and brown eyes and dark brown hair. He joined on May 22, 1917 at Cornwall, Ontario. He served in Canada, Great Britain, and France. He was honorably discharged March 27, 1919 in Ottawa at the time of the Liberation. He received the Medal of War and the Medal of Victory.

Fr. Abel Abel who was at Bergerville, Quebec, notes that Brother Marie-Antoine spent a few days there when he arrived from Europe, July 21, 1937, to visit his mother. The following day, Bro. Paul Martel took him to visit Quebec City. His funeral was held on May 17, 1942.

 

 

Maurice (J.-J. Berchmans-M.) Gagnon

1909-1983

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

At Fr. Marie –Clement Staub’s school.

Joseph Jean Berchmans Maurice Gagnon was born on October 25, 1909 in Quebec (Canada) at Lachevrotière Street near Grande-Allée. His father’s brother, Reverend Cyrille Gagnon, baptized him the next day, October 26. Maurice, the fourth of 8 children, attended the parish school, then Saint-Louis de Gonzague boarding school (1917-1919). He entered the Quebec minor seminary (1920-1929). On July 25, 1929, he asked to be admitted by the Assumptionists at Sillery. He took the religious habit on September 29, 1929 with the name of Brother Maurice and made his first vows on September 30, 1930. It was there that he met Fr. Marie-Clement Staub whom he greatly admired. The following October 12, he left for Louvain to study theology (1930-1934). He made his perpetual profession at Louvain on September 30, 1933 and was ordained to the priesthood August 4, 1934 at Sillery by the Cardinal of Quebec, Msgr. De Villeneuve.

Ministries.

Fr. Maurice started his ministry at the Assumptionist novitiate in Sillery with Frs. Léocade Bauer, Hydulphe Mathiot, and Hermès Fuchs. He gave the courses on the history of the Assumption, the Psalms, the Gospels, and religious customs. This task lasted only three months! He then became vocation recruiter visiting the colleges and minor seminaries of Quebec. On August 28, 1939, Fr. Maurice was named chaplain and treasurer of the novitiate. He was put in charge of a group of Noëllists in August of 1942. October 1946 saw him as spiritual guide and director of students. He was also known as a preacher of retreats to nuns. The Quebec Assumption also was indebted to him for his many meetings to obtain the authorization for the opening of a second A.A. house at Beauvoir in the summer of 1948. These travels and fatigues had an effect on the health of Fr. Maurice. In Belgium he had already been the victim of pleurisy; he was hospitalized in 1945 at Quebec’s Laval Hospital. He remained fragile and accepted to teach in California, since the climate of this region could favor a total cure. He was hired as professor of Sacred Scripture at the major seminary of El Cajon (August 1947) where he stayed for three years. He returned to Quebec during the winter of 1950-1951. His superiors named him again to the novitiate in Sillery as spiritual director for the brothers and sub-prior (1951-1952). Always hoping to regain his health, Fr. Maurice accepted to minister in Mexico (1953-1965): he was superior and pastor from 1955 to 1961. He was able to exercise a deep ministry close to the people in this land of enchantment for him. He was to keep a good impression of his stay there and spoke of it often. In 1965, Fr. Maurice was named superior at Beauvoir. The community numbered only 3 religious. Superior for three years (1965-1968), in August of 1968 he accepted the position of Vicar for Religious for the communities of men and women for the diocese of Sherbrooke. Again superior at Beauvoir (1972) and even treasurer, he was relieved by Fr. Claude Grenache in 1973. He became director of pilgrimages (1971-1973). After the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart no longer served the AA community as cooks and launderers at Beauvoir in 1971, he obtained for the sanctuary the help of the Sisters of Charity of Saint-Louis (1974). Exhausted, Fr. Maurice stayed at Beauvoir but in November he had a heart attack. In August 1978, he was named chaplain for St. Brigid’s Home in Sillery where he stayed five years. In 1983, he was sent back to Mexico where he had left his heart. He underwent surgery in November 1983 for bile stones and died of a new heart attack on December 21, 1983, at the age of 74. He was a good companion in community, jovial, a hard worker, and sensitive. He left his confreres the souvenir of a religious faithful to his work, full of common sense, and of a deeply pastoral temperament.

Addenda

He was the first pastor at Emperatriz in Mexico. His great dream was to return to Mexico and die there. Maurice obtained his B.A. from Laval University and his S.T.B from Louvain University. He followed sessions on “Religious Life and Anthropology” in 1970 and 1971.

Letter from Fr. Arthur Clermont to Fr. Wilfrid Dufault

“Fr. Hurd said something very nice about Fr. Maurice the other night at the spiritual lecture. He was commenting the words, “Talis missa quails sacerdos”, words often spoken by Fr. Mateo and, what is not his style, he told the seminarians that one of the most beautiful masses that he had seen was that of Fr. Gagnon. “That attracts you to the altar.” This may explain why Fr. Maurice is the one who celebrates the thanksgiving mass that follows the community mass each morning ever since the first day that we arrived here. And between us, why Fr. Hurd confesses to him as well as many seminarians. Anyways, knowing what the rector is like, it is noteworthy that I tell you this. Fr. Maurice will certainly not do so.”

Dear parents and friends of Fr. Maurice, This Christmas eve, I bring you news that will surprise you. Without any preamble, I want to tell you that Fr. Maurice Gagnon, A.A. is dead; he met the Lord on December 21 about 10:30 a.m.

I now must tell you that I received him a month and a half ago in Mexico. I shared with him his last moments. He had to be operated for kidney stones. Everything went well. He was out of the hospital and his convalescence was going very well. A family that he esteemed very much had put him up. The morning of his death, they called me to say that all was going very well and that Fr. Maurice would return to the community on Christmas Day. Five minutes later, they announced his death.

Here is a simple thought for you. The Lord permitted Fr. Maurice to return to Mexico with all of the risks that this entailed. Fr. Maurice loved Mexico. His apostolate was marvelous. He was the first pastor of our parish. All remember him in a way that few priests can hope to be remembered. A detail. On November 20 we had a ceremony to celebrate the 26 years of the foundation of the parish and Cardinal Ernesto Corripio of Mexico presided with Fr. Maurice present. It was with great gratitude that Fr. Maurice thanked the Lord for having been the initiator of this marvelous parish that is ours, thanks to him.

His funeral was splendid. On December 22, in the evening, our bishop, Msgr. José Pablo Rovalo, and some twenty priests concelebrated in a church filled with our faithful. In the afternoon of the 23rd, another funeral celebration was presided this time by a bishop who is a great friend of the Assumptionists, Msgr. Francisco Aguilera, with our community and some priest friends. This time, the church was completely filled and the youth of the parish did the singing. Last night, his ashes were returned to us and after celebrating a mass, we placed them in the crypt of our church. Be assured that our faithful will always accompany him. (Fr. Jean-Paul Trottier, A.A.)

Letter from Fr. Jean-Paul Trottier to the Provincial: December 23, 1983

With all respect, I send you these few remarks. Once again we have received a proof of the Lord’s presence in this Mexican Assumptionist community. This will be written in a telegraphic style with many facts. Please excuse this.

Maurice died on December 21 around 10:30 a.m. I had just received the visit of the engineer, Enrique Espinoza, who with his wife had received Maurice in their home after his operation. Carolina, his wife, called me to say that Fr. Maurice was dying. I went immediately and when I arrived, he was already dead.

I took care of all the necessary details and that very evening, his body was in the Crypt for a mass presided by Bishop José Pablo Rovalo and some fifteen priests from our vicariate. The Crypt was filled with faithful and the youth sang marvelously.

We held another ceremony in the main church on December 22. Another bishop, Msgr. Francisco Aguilera,  came to preside and we were five concelebrants. The church was totally filled and the youth sang once again. The celebration was a very joyous one.

The incineration will take place today and the last farewell for Maurice will be held this evening. There is   no doubt that there will be a similar manifestation and that the church will be full.

This separation of one of ours is being held during a time of great preparation for Christmas. There is an atmosphere of joy that reigns and I am certain that Maurice would be pleased with this. It was a great grace for him to return to Mexico. He had rediscovered joy. Mexico will have been his springboard for the meeting with the Lord. Our faithful are pleased that his family permitted his ashes to be kept in the church that he built and for which he was the first pastor.

Let us continue. I tried to eulogize him in my homily. We’ll celebrate Christmas and then on December 27, we’ll go to the Basilica in six buses for our annual pilgrimage. We go forward with the hope that the Assumption will be able to maintain its presence in Mexico. The Religious of the Assumption have been a great support to us.

 

 

Arnold Glazier

1925-1986

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

Curriculum vitae.

No doubt because of a long exclaustration (1976-1986), it has not been possible to obtain a detailed documentation of the life of this religious brother. We limit ourselves to the regular curriculum vitae presented at the moment of his death.

1925: Birth of Arnold Jean Glazier on November 18 at Trois-Rivières, Canada (Province of Quebec), son of John and Albina née Arseneau. He was baptized November 21 at Sainte-Cécile church in Trois-Rivières.

1932-1940: Grade school at Saint-Sauveur in Quebec West (1932-1933); then Petit-Rocher (New Brunswick) (1934-1939), and the juniorate of the Marist Brothers at Lévis (Quebec) (1940). Confirmation May 3, 1932 at Campbellton (New Brunswick).

1942-1943: Novitiate at Bergerville (Quebec). First profession November 21, 1943 in the hands of Fr. Yvon LeFloc’h.

1943-1946: Worked at the novitiate’s farm in Bergerville (Sillery).

1946-1950: Assumption Preparatory School in Worcester (U.S.A.); same work as at Bergerville. Perpetual profession September 19, 1947 at Bergerville in the hands of Fr. Wilfrid Dufault.

1950-1951: Our Lady of Esperanza, 156th Street in New York. Brother Arnold cleaned the church and the ‘casita’.

1951-1956: Our Lady of Guadalupe, 14th Street in New York. He had similar functions: sacristy and house maintenance.

1956-1959: Worked at Assumption College in Worcester. Brother Arnold helped with the maintenance of the new college and handled the kitchen until the arrival of the Oblate Sisters.

1959-1965: Brother Arnold returned to the 14th Street community in New York. He continued as cook and organized a team of young Latinos called the ‘Purple Hearts’. In the meantime, he spent five months at Cassadaga where he helped organize the installation of the new seminary of Our Lady of Lourdes. He made contacts for the organization of a work that would later become his responsibility, the bingos. On October 5, 1965, he made his first request for exclaustration. He received permission to absent himself on October 29. Brother Arnold rejoined the community of 14th Street after one day of absence.

1965-1966: Brother Arnold lived at the provincial house in New York at 108th Street. He worked getting the new provincial house set up and organized a bingo for that house.

1966-1976: Brother Arnold returned to 156th Street to do youth work. He directed himself toward the organizing of two more bingos. This work will take up almost all of his time.

From 1976 on, Brother Arnold lived outside of the community at the rectory of Saint Vincent de Paul in New York. He was sacristan and responsible for the buildings. In September 1985, he returned to Canada. He died suddenly in New Brunswick at Petit-Rocher on May 7, 1986 at the age of 61.

Addenda

Arnold had learned the trade of cobbler. He had 6 brothers and 6 sisters.

 

 

François (Jean Thomas) Lachance

1918-1993

Religious of the Vice-Province of Canada.

A son of sailors.

Jean-Thomas was born on January 17, 1918 in Quebec and baptized the same day in the church of Notre-Dame-du-Chemin, his parish. He was the son of Albert Lachance and Alphonsine Pouliot. These were both families of river pilots from father to son, top-notch pilots who guided the big ships up and down the St. Lawrence River. Jean-Thomas was the eldest of 8 children. The first superiors at the Assumption remarked in their reports that Brother François belonged to ‘one of the best families’. Jean-Thomas became a postulant at the Sillery novitiate (Bergerville) November 7, 1938. From 1925 to 1936, he went to the school of the Saint-Joseph Oratory run by the Sisters of Saint-Joseph of Saint-Vallier, then that of the Holy Martyrs under the direction of the Marist Brothers.

Collisions and misfortunes.

The events of life belied the promises of his family name. During a game, an accident seriously hurt his eyes and for the last two years of his scolarity, he needed a tutor. At about 19 years old, he presented himself to the novitiate of the Redemptorists but was unable to remain because of inaptitude for manual labor. He then decided to try the Assumption in November 1938. On June 27, 1939, he took the religious habit with the name of Brother François. The following December 28, as he was returning from promenade, he was hit by a truck and had to be hospitalized during months. Upon returning June 2, 1940, he restarted his novitiate. He finally was able to make his first vows on June 4, 1944. At Sillery, he worked on the farm, mostly with the chickens. On March 8, 1945, he was sent to Assumption College in Worcester (U.S.A.), then to the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York on November 23, 1948 till 1957. In October of 1958, he returned to Assumption College in Worcester, but August 3, 1968 saw him go back to New York to the same parish. At the college, he worked mostly in the maintenance of the house; in New York, he took care of the sacristy. Having expressed the desire to return to Canada and to be in a francophone milieu, he was named to Sillery November 1st, 1974. He was put in charge of the ‘maison du pèlerin’ (house of pilgrims), a small hostel capable of lodging some forty persons. Brother François’ health never caused concern and this enabled him to work with much regularity. However, in January of 1976, the doctor notified the superior that the Brother was suffering from hypertension and diabetes and suggested a reduction of his workload. During his last years, Brother François was followed regularly on the medical level. In the fall of 1991, the doctor prescribed a total rest. At that time, Brother François gave up his work at the ‘maison du pèlerin’. His health worsened and in February 1993, he was admitted to the Cardinal Vachon residence where medical care was readily accessible. He was happy there and came almost every weekend to spend a day or two at Sillery. He didn’t forget to take part in the novena to the Sacred Heart and planned to be present for the Eucharist the night of the feast on June 18. After the mass, he felt ill and received the Anointing of the Sick. He died almost immediately after, on June 18, 1993 at the age of 76, in the ambulance that was transporting him to the hospital.

Personality.

Brother François was a religious with a good character and a joyful disposition that was brought out in the reports of his superiors during his formation. He had a good attitude and a sense of the common good. Meek, quiet and peaceful, he smiled a lot, was pleasant, concerned about fraternal relationships, and attentive to the needs of others. He was well liked by the pilgrims and very devoted in their service; he was a straightforward and disinterested religious. People like to speak of his great regularity and fidelity as the qualities of a fine companion.

Addenda.

Poor eyesight caused him to wear very special glasses.

 

 

Raoul Marchand

1913-1968

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

A life span that was quite short.

Raoul Marchand was born June 24, 1913 at Saint-Michel-des-Vieilles-Forges, Quebec, in the diocese of Trois-Rivières. He took the religious habit on April 19, 1944 at the Sillery novitiate near Quebec City and pronounced his first vows April 11, 1945. His perpetual profession was held on March 19, 1949 at Quebec and he made his vows in the hands of Fr. André Godbout. His local superior, Fr. Lambert Saive, gave a favorable report with the remarks that Brother Raoul complains at times of having a rough time because of his confreres and seems to like change. Fr. Armand Desautels, provincial of North America in 1968, listed as follows the various nominations of Brother Raoul: New York, 156th Street, Nuestra Señora de Esperanza from 1945 to 1953; the college in Worcester, 1953-1954; New York, 156th Street, 1954-1956; Quebec, 1956-1957; Bury, 1957; New York, 156th Street, 1957-1961; the college in Worcester, 1962-1964; Quebec, 1964-1967; New York, 14th Street, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, 1967-1968. He added the following remarks: “Brother Raoul Marchand is the son of Canadian farmers. After his novitiate, he worked several times in this house as well as the Preparatory School and College of Worcester. He had been for some time at the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York when he died suddenly on November 24,1968,a Sunday morning, while getting dressed. Since more than fifteen years, he suffered from a heart condition having had two major heart attacks before this last one. Regardless of this heart condition, he worked hard in the maintenance of the house. He tended to get easily discouraged but was, more so than others, very sensitive to encouraging words. After a requiem mass in New York, his body was sent to Quebec where a second mass was celebrated in the chapel of the Canadian Montmartre. He was buried next to his companion and friend, Brother René Saint-Gelais. Brother Raoul died when he was only 55.

Historical notes on the Canadian Montmartre. [Details from L’Appel du Sacré-Coeur, July-August 1977, a special number.]

In 1917, Cardinal Bégin granted Fr. Marie-Clément Staub permission to found a center for the diffusion of the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

In 1921, the Assumptionists bought the land, present site of the Montmartre in Sillery, a property adjacent to that of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc. The section was called Shepherdtown, translated Bergerville.

In 1927, the Montmartre was built according to the plans of the architect Raoul Chenevet and blessed by Cardinal Rouleau. The chapel was modeled on the chapel of the monastery of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial.

In 1936, Fr. Marie-Clément Staub, the founder of the shrine and apostle of the Sacred Heart, died.

In 1948, the birth of the magazine of the shrine, L’Appel du Sacré-Coeur, took place.

In 1950, the episcopacy of Quebec named the sanctuary the National Center for the Archconfraternity of Reparation of the Montmartre. This declaration was reiterated in 1953 by the whole Canadian episcopacy.

In 1956, solemn celebrations for the centenary of the feast of the Sacred Heart took place.

In 1961, the Grotto of Lourdes was built.

At Christmas 1967, midnight mass was celebrated in the new chapel of the Center for Culture and Faith that Cardinal Maurice Roy had blessed on the preceding August 15th.

In 1972, the authorities of the Quebec diocese granted to the Montmartre the responsibility for the Ecumenical Office. The library ‘Oscar Gilbert’ is set up for this in the Center for Culture and Faith.

 

 

Paul Martel

1914-1999

Canadian religious from the Province of North America.

Two brothers at the Assumption.

Paul Martel was born May 12, 1914 at Warwick, a small village in the Nicolet diocese, Quebec (Canada). In 1929, he went to Assumption College in Worcester (U.S.A.) and seven years later asked to enter the Sillery novitiate. In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Father Pierre-Rodolphe (1901-1947) who also entered the Assumptionists after having gone to the college in Worcester. Brother Paul studied in the Assumptionist houses of studies in France: Layrac (lot-et-Garonne), Scy-Chazelles (Moselle), and Lormoy (Essonne). In 1940, he was part of the group of young religious on the roads of France, just like the millions of French fleeing the German bombardments. He arrived finally at the collège de l’Assomption at Nîmes (Gard) where he was able to do two years of theology at the major seminary of the city in the company of other religious in the same situation, four Canadians and nine Englishmen. When the Germans occupied the whole free zone in the south of the Loire in November of 1942, he had to flee to Spain with fifteen confreres since he was a citizen of a country at war with Germany. It was from there, after several episodes, that he was able to get to England (1). He arrived in Sillery January 31, 1943. He then continued his theological studies at the Quebec major seminary and was ordained to the priesthood August 14, 1943.

Employment and ministries.

From 1944 to 1952, Fr. Paul is a monitor, dean of discipline, and teacher at the college in Worcester, then recruiter in Canada, one of the founders of college d’Alzon at Bury, and then, in February 1956, chaplain at the mother house of the Sisters of Saint Joan of Arc in Sillery. In 1964, he went to New York to be an assistant to the pastor in the parish of 156th Street, but only for a year; he then returned to the Montmartre (Sillery) where, for more than ten years, he was director of pilgrimages and secretary of L’Appel du Sacré-Coeur, the magazine of the Montmartre. In 1976, he was named chaplain of the Augustinian Nuns and their hospital in Gaspé and seven years later, he returned to Sillery again as chaplain to St. Brigid’s Home, a residence for retired Anglophones. In 1995, after a stint of twelve years in this residence, he retired to the Montmartre, but continued having a limited ministry, presiding the Eucharist and taking his turn of duty at the sanctuary.

The eve of life.

A cancer and various illnesses eroded his health. Nevertheless, he followed the community at all the exercises except morning and evening office and concelebrated seated. On Sunday, May 9, 1999, he spent several hours on duty, but when he came down to dinner at 5:30, he suddenly felt very weak and had strong cold sweats. An ambulance transported him immediately to the hospital where, even though he received immediate care, he died some sixty hours later on the morning of May 12, his birthday, as he was beginning his 86th year. His funeral was held on Friday, May 14 in the chapel of the Center of the Montmartre with about one hundred religious, nuns, and friends present. Fr. Gilles Blouin spoke of the main traits of the life of this religious in his homily: simplicity, friendly hospitality, regularity, and fidelity. Fr. Paul was particularly esteemed and loved for his ministry with nuns and the elderly. He now rests near the body of Fr. Armand Desautels in the Saint-Michel cemetery in Sillery.

(1) Fr. Paul Martel published in 1988 in the newsletter of the vice-province of Canada the lively story of the adventures and misfortunes of the sixteen Canadian and English Assumptionists that were forced to flee when the troops of Hitler invaded the South of France in November 1942. This was “The Odyssey of the Sixteen.”

Addenda

To leave this earth during the Paschal season that we are now living, a few days before the Ascension when the Lord promises to send the Holy Spirit as He leaves, is the true measure of one’s life. It reminds us that every death is passing into a deeper life: the life of God.

Father Paul died last Wednesday morning, very early. He certainly didn’t choose the time, and yet we can say that it happened as he would have liked it to happen: quickly and fully conscious. Just a few hours before, he had the strength to open his eyes and say: “Thank you, Gilles.” This sufficed to indicate that he knew he was dying and going into a new life.

In the Gospel that we have just heard, this is precisely what the Lord tells us: “Who sees the Son and believes in him has eternal life.” And the Father’s will is that they all be raised up. May all those who have believed in him see the day of the Lord! His immense love that we can hardly imagine will certainly be our lot when we die. Fr. Paul, a man of faith who gave his life to God, can be certain that the Gospel opens God’s heart to us and leads into eternal life.

When we look at Father Paul’s life, I see three things we can remember that spell out what his life was with us. He was a man of simplicity in his contacts, a man of warmth. I was reminded of this just a few moments ago. For the people of St-Brigid’s Home, Father Paul had warmth; he liked to sit down and talk with people. He was interested in the people he met. This ministry, his last one at St-Brigid’s, brought him quite close to the Anglo-Irish community of Quebec , but it also brought him closer to the meaning of death, the death of others, as well as his own, since he kept a register of the persons who died at St-Brigid’s. His ministry prepared him for his own death…

This simplicity was also reflected in his first ministry at Assumption College, near Boston. All the religious who knew him at this time will tell you that he was very close to the students. He had a facility to get close to the students to such a point that as dean of discipline, this was not a good thing. Father Paul kept fine memories of his stay in Worcester and left friends behind when he came to exercise his ministry here.

There are several sisters of St-Joan of Arc here today, who knew Father Paul when he was chaplain at the Mother House… From his stay in Gaspé, he kept an excellent souvenir and people regretted his departure for quite some time.

The second thing to note about Fr. Paul’s life is that he was a man of habits. In the community, we often teased Fr. Paul by quoting a famous saying: “Before the time, it is not the time; after the time, it’s no longer the time; when it’s time, it’s time.” He was a man on time with almost an excessive punctuality. If we look at this on a spiritual level, this regularity can mean a great faithfulness; faithfulness in prayer, faithfulness in ministry. He loved the ministries that he had. I think that he was a faithful man and many can witness to this. He was also faithful to one love in his life: Nelly, his car, an old Peugeot that stayed faithful to him. Barely two weeks ago, he took a last ride around the property in Nelly and he must have told her: “So long, my dear.” (Brother Gilles Allard drove Nelly in the funeral procession all the way to the cemetery. This must certainly have pleased Paul.)

Father Paul was a man of principles. Some would say that he was so in a maniacal way. That is why I thought it wise to send immediately three comments to Saint Peter who receives him into heaven. The first is not to place Paul too close to a piano. He didn’t like the piano. In fact the only one that he liked was that at St-Brigid’s; the piano had no notes. The second is to be very careful with his food. Sister Noella can bear out the fact that Father Paul was fussy about his food and the Sisters at St-Brigid’s knew that Fr. Paul had some cooking principles that had to be respected. That means that he will need small plates with well-cooked food that is not too varied…

Finally, the third thing –and this is essential – is to never place him in a draft. When Brother Pierre-Jean and I went to the hospital, a few moments after his death on Wednesday morning, as we left the hospital, we looked at the room where he died. Looking at the window, I made the following remark to Pierre-Jean: “The window was open; he died because of a draft.”

Let us return to the first reading. God is love. I chose it because this beautiful page of Saint John reminds us of the essential in our life. God is love. He loved us; let us love one another. That is the core of any Christian life. It is the essence of the life of the priest, of a religious. To go back to essentials means to simplify many things, to make the life as Christians easier. If Jesus wanted to summarize allof the Gospel in one sentence, that is the phrase that He would have chosen. God is love; love one another. As we accompany Father Paul in his last moments, let us remember this page since it is a wish for each one of us, a message that we are called to live and transmit. Yes, God is love; love one another as he loved us.

[Funeral homily by Fr. Gilles Blouin, A.A., May 14, 1999]

 

 

Pierre-Rodolphe (C.-E.) Martel

1901-1947

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

From one ocean to the other.

Born at Princeville, Quebec (Canada) November 11, 1901, Charles-Emile Martel did his classical studies at the seminary of Nicolet (1913-1921). He studied philosophy at the college in Worcester (U.S.A.) (1921-1923). On September 3, 1924, with the name of Brother Pierre-Rodolphe he entered the Assumptionist novitiate of Saint-Gérard (Belgium) when he took the religious habit on October 31, 1923. He was then sent to Taintegnies where he made his profession November 1, 1924. He then studied theology at Louvain (1924-1928) and made his perpetual vows November 6, 1927 and was ordained a priest July 29, 1928.

Teacher for a short time.

In 1928, he returned to the Sillery-Bergerville novitiate as treasurer and teacher. Then he went back to the college in Worcester in 1931 where he was dean of discipline. In August 1941, he was once again sent to teach at the Quebec novitiate. But having barely arrived, he complained of problems with his spinal cord. A specialist was consulted in early September and noticed an infection of the spinal cord that could not be well defined. In early December, two other specialists agreed that it was multiple sclerosis. One of them, after having described the inevitable evolution of this sickness, added: “As a compensation, nature gives to the victims of these microbes a certain euphoria that helps them support joyfully their sad lot”. In fact, Fr. Pierre-Rodolphe was always quite joyful. When people visited him, they would ask: ‘How are you doing today?’ Unruffled, he would answer: ‘It could be worse’ or ‘Except for my illness, things are going well’. He went slowly downhill just as the doctor had foreseen. At first he took short walks; then, walking with a cane, he reduced the distance. Finally bedridden, he could no longer eat or drink without the help of the infirmarian. When someone is cared for in a house of the Congregation, he is fortunate to have at his disposition, day and night, very devoted Brothers. It was also for him, he readily admitted, a great grace to be able to prepare himself for death that would inevitably come, for he would say, “I often preached to others that they would die, but I can’t get used to the idea that I also must die”. On January 23, 1947, Fr. Wilfrid Dufault, the provincial, came to Quebec for Cardinal Villeneuve’s funeral held on Friday, January 24. Fr. Pierre-Rodolphe, now that he had seen the newly named provincial, could chant his Nunc dimittis. On Saturday morning, the 25th, his agony started. It lasted till Sunday morning, the 26th at 3 o’clock, the official date of his death. His death was announced in the local parishes and many people came to pray before his body exposed in the parlor of the house. The funeral mass was celebrated by the defunct’s brother, Fr. Paul Martel (1914-1999), who was a teacher at the college in Worcester with Fr. Pierre-Célestin Therrien from the New York community as deacon and Fr. André Godbout from the Sillery novitiate as sub-deacon. Fr. Pierre-Rodolphe Martel was buried in the Assumptionist cemetery in Sillery near Fr. Albert Catoire (1969-1945), a religious from Belgium buried March 14, 1945. Fr. Pierre-Rodolphe was the first deceased religious of the young North American Province erected in 1946. In his notebook where he noted his meditations for the students, we found these thoughts or apophthegmata (sayings) that revealed his soul: “The rule is a blessing and not an obstacle to happiness for the student. If you want to have happy vacations, three great loves must fill them: love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self. Death will come like a thief; sow happiness during your life”.

Addenda.

He celebrated his last mass on the anniversary of ordination of his brother Fr. Paul (August 14, 1943). He was dean of discipline at Assumption from 1931 to 1940 and during these 9 years, he was in daily contact with the students in his office, in the hallways, in the chapel where he preached a few minutes during mass.

 

 

Louis Pelletier

1901-1986

Canadian Religious of the Vice-Province of Canada.

Overview of life.

Louis Pelletier was born April 2, 1901 at Saint-Louis-Kamouraska (Canada) in a family of farmers, He was the sixth of seven children of whom two became priests. He also thought of the priesthood and to this effect took courses in a late vocation school of Saint-Victor. However, he gave up that idea and went to the United States to earn his living. He returned to Canada some years later. He discovered cement, which had become the privileged material for construction. Upon his return from the United States, he got involved in making cement pipes. The restrictions that came about because of World War II forced him to shut down his business. In 1944, at the age of 43, Louis Pelletier entered the Sillery novitiate in Quebec where he took the religious habit July 9, 1945. He was professed July 10, 1946. Fr. Yvon Le Floc’h made the following remarks for the profession report. “Brother Louis has two brothers who are priests that he helped personally in their vocations and he always kept, while living in the world, a nostalgia for religious life”. The perpetual profession report is more explicit: Brother Louis has great qualities for the lay brother vocation. He is active, desirous of saving as much as possible. Being skillful and of great experience in manual labor, the Brother has been a precious help for our implantation in the Beauvoir sanctuary. Concerning his character, he can at times be stubborn, especially once he has clearly brought out his thoughts concerning work to be done. Opposition on this point annoys him, but by taking him carefully on the side, much can be obtained from him”. Brother Louis made his perpetual vows June 18, 1950 at Beauvoir.

Personality.

The whole life of Brother Louis was spent at Beauvoir and he only absented himself to help out in other houses of the Province. Gifted with great physical strength and an exceptional endurance, he was a ‘great worker’. Cement held no secrets for him. He made benches, slabs, and statues. He was also an expert woodcutter and an able and untiring road worker. Early to rise, he worked until darkness set in. Brother Louis was always interested in herbs and knew how to use their therapeutic value: this was a family tradition. He was known as ‘ the Brother of herbs’. He had a large clientele. He was often consulted and joyfully dispensed advice and potions. Exteriorly rough looking, he nevertheless related to everyone with ease, simplicity, and compassion especially for the poorest and the sick. Personally, the Brother lived simply, poorly, with a desire not to waste anything, not to lose anything. He was also a man of great prayer, of great fidelity to common prayer as well as personal prayer: meditation, adoration, rosary, and daily Way of the Cross. In his relationship with God, he was very simple. During a stay at the provincial house in Milton near Boston (U.S.A.) where he went to help out, Brother Louis had the first of his cerebral hemorrhages that would finally do him in. He died May 7, 1986 at the Youville Centre Hospitalier (Sherbrooke). He was 85 and had lived at Beauvoir almost forty years. Loved by all, he left the souvenir of a hard worker, filled with goodness, compassionate toward all, having a sense of humor, and a smiling mischievousness.

Addenda

When asked where he preferred being assigned, he answered, “Where there is greater need. What others don’t like to do, I do.” He worked in Saugerties in 1955; Assumption College (1957-1959) making cement benches for the campus; Fiskdale (1964); and Milton, where he would go each winter chopping trees and cutting brush. Once a week, he would take a paper bag and put some bread in it and leave to go and help the poor on their farms in the area of Beauvoir. His cement statues of Mary and the Sacred Heart were well known and sold at the Beauvoir gift shop. He was affectionately called by the religious ‘pépère’ (grampy).

Brother Louis is a man who formed himself alone. He was his own boss all his life. One should not be surprised that he has his own way of doing things…

His character faults or his different formation from ours is compensated by great qualities that make us want him to stay with us. He is precious to us for so many things. First of all, he is a good religious. He does his religious exercises like a novice; he won’t miss even one. He works hard days and evenings. You have to stop him. He prays his office or reads his books of prayers until 10:30 p.m. He never misses a communion and his conversation is always proper. He never permits himself something risqué in speech. He is always the first one in the chapel in the morning and his visit to the Blessed Sacrament is quite long. He does so much work in a day. At times, the Fathers go to help him and he wears them out. Neither rain nor bad weather will stop him. Whatever you ask him to do is done correctly as long as it is not something delicate. He likes heavy work and does it with pleasure and it is solid. He is precious and is the man needed at Beauvoir.

Now if I must bring out his faults, I must say that he is a bit headstrong in his decisions. If he thinks something should be done, then it won’t be easy to have him change his mind. And he is not always in the wrong. He is more practical minded than we are and this can be seen as stubbornness… He works well and his work is well done. He is the first at work in the morning, only comes back for lunch, and shortly after is in overalls. After supper, he goes out once again… He is always afraid of not doing enough. He says: “If I don’t earn my food, send me away.” He certainly earns it, and if he couldn’t do so one day, he has already earned it for the rest of his days. [Fr. Pierre Célestin Therrien, May 12, 1949]

I want to thank you for all the work that you did at the Provincial House [Milton]. If the property is in such a good condition, it is in great part thanks to you. Above all, I want to thank you for your prayers for the Province. Your example of piety is an inspiration for all of us. [Fr. Richard Lamoureux, Provincial, 28 February, 1985]

 

 

Jean-Marie Rioux

1915-1970

Canadian Religious of the North American Province.

A son of the ‘Belle Province’, founder of the Guilde-Assomption.

Jean-Marie Rioux was born at Sayebec, Matapédia County, Quebec, Canada, January 10, 1915. He was the son of Antoine Rioux and Marie-Adèle Desrosiers. He went to high school at the Juniorate of Marie-Immaculée in Chambly-Bassin from 1932 to 1936 and then finished his courses at the Sacré-Coeur seminary in Saint-Victor of Beauce from 1936 to 1937. In 1937 he chose the Assumption and entered the Sillery novitiate October 3, 1937 where he made his first vows October 4, 1938 witnessed by Father Bernardin Bal-Fontaine, provincial of Paris, on which the Assumptionist vicariate of North America depended at that time. He studied philosophy for a year at Lormoy (Essonne) in France from 1938 to 1939, but because of the war, he had to return to America. He finished his philosophy at Assumption College in Worcester (U.S.A.) in 1941 and did his theology at the Quebec major seminary. He made his perpetual vows October 3, 1942 and was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Villeneuve June 16, 1944 in Quebec. The first three years of his priesthood were spent in Worcester where he taught the students of Assumption Preparatory School. In 1948, he returned to Canada where he would spend the rest of his life between the residences of Quebec and Beauvoir, this latter starting in 1963. But it was in 1963, at Quebec, that he undertook the most important work of his religious life, the Guilde-Assomption (mass guild) of which he was the founder in Canada. At first sight, this work would seem to be financially oriented, since it involved, through an association that collected mass intentions, assuring an income for the Canadian region that would serve for the education of pre-postulants and young religious. In this regard, Father Jean-Marie brought an important contribution that the Assumptionist region badly needed. But this work was to also involve an apostolic dimension to which he was very committed and which was very important for him. He often repeated that it was not alms that he was seeking first of all, but rather that he was offering a spiritual service. With the numerous letters that came in daily to the Guilde, it was evident that he knew how to establish a personal and spiritual link with many people afflicted by death or illnesses. This gave a clear apostolic dimension to these relationships. In 1968, Fr. Jean-Marie knew that he could not live much longer and his days were numbered. He went through a very delicate heart operation that had not as its goal to prolong his life, but rather to permit him to work till the end. The last week of his life in September 1970 was very difficult, but he continued working, even at night. On Sunday, September 27, after having celebrated the Eucharist, he complained that he was not feeling well. He was taken to the hospital around 11 o’clock and died there of a heart attack around 3:30 p.m. He left behind a brother and ten sisters. His funeral was celebrated at the Canadian Montmartre on Wednesday, September 30. Father Jean-Marie was buried in the community cemetery in Sillery, the eleventh religious to be buried there. Fr. Joseph Loiselle, provincial of North America, presided at the funeral ceremony: “I wish to express to the sisters, the brother, and the whole family of Father Jean-Marie the sympathy of the Assumption on the occasion of his death, a sympathy that is very deep since we as Assumptionists have lost a brother. And this is the third for us in less than a year, all relatively young…” (1).

(1)     Effectively were deceased for the Province of North America: Brother Rosario Roy, March 3, 1969 at 56 years old; Fr. Aimé Deschamps, January 23, 1970, at age 55; and Fr. William Dubois, May 21, 1970, at age 42.

Addenda

He was treasurer at Quebec (1949-1953) and was involved in pilgrimage work from 1953 on.

The Lord in the Gospel text that we have just read warns us to always be ready, that our belts have to be tight, that our lamps must be lit, so that we not be taken by surprise at the master’s return. This is a warning for us, those in good health that we understand on the intellectual level. But on the level of our everyday life, when we are so busy, it seems to me that it is difficult to understand the urgency to be ready at all times.

This was not the case for Fr. Jean-Marie. If we have seen him worried about his health, troubled, at times anguished by the thought of death, it is because he knew very well – and he said so – that death was ever watching him. He knew where he stood as far as his health was concerned.

Upon learning of his death, what struck me the most was the goodness of God. Here is a man who taught several years, who worked hard in parish ministry and pilgrimage work at Beauvoir, who had known success and failure, and had returned to Quebec with a poor health. He knew since a few years that he was condemned to die. Nevertheless, thanks to God, he found a work (in favor of religious and priestly vocations) that not only interested him but also gave meaning to his life. It was very useful to the Assumption of Canada and through it to the Church. Like Job, and in Father Jean-Marie’s name, we can say: Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Now what? Saint Paul answers us in his First Letter to the Corinthians that was read to us a few moments ago. At first sight, this text seems to be gibberish. It would seem that Saint Paul beats around the bush and has lost his sense of direction; the word “resurrection” or “risen” comes back a dozen times in ten verses. But Saint Paul knew exactly what he was saying.

Let us first remark that he was speaking not to pagans but to Christians, the Christians of Corinth who believed firmly in the resurrection of Christ. However, some doubted that they would be raised up… Things have not changed. Then St-Paul says: Come on! If you don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, then you cannot believe in the resurrection of Christ. And yet you tell me that you believe in His resurrection. If Christ has truly been raised up as you believe, it is so that we too could be raised up. Otherwise, what is faith good for? Otherwise, what’s the use of living a good Christian life with its many demands upon you if all is finished at death? Without faith in Christ, Christian life itself would only be a delusion. Don’t worry! Let your faith be strong! Christ is truly risen, but He is risen as “the first among those who have fallen asleep in death.” Our hope is thus justified since we too will be raised up.

My friends, these words console us today. To be sure, the separation from Father Jean-Marie is sad, and that is understandable. But we also know that he has been raised up and that he is full of life and full of light. He had tightened his belt and lit his lamp. The Master came back from the wedding feast and he was waiting. He entered with Him in the dwelling of life and happiness without end. There lies the consolation in our mourning. And for the lifespan that remains for us, there lies our hope. Amen.

[Funeral homily by Fr. Joseph Loiselle, A.A., Provincial, September 30, 1970]

 

 

Odoric Roy

1927-1998

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

Curriculum vitae.

Odoric Roy was born January 15,1927 at Le Bic, Quebec: he was the son of Vital Roy and Marie-Rose Beaulieu. He got a good Catholic education and studied at his parish grammar school till the seventh grade. In 1949, he entered the Assumptionist novitiate of Sillery (Quebec). An older brother, Rosario, was already a member of this Congregation. Brother Odoric made his first vows in 1950 in the hands of Fr. André Godbout and stayed at the Canadian Montmartre (Sillery) till 1954. He then went to the American novitiate in Saugerties, New York till 1955 when he was named to Assumption College in Worcester (Massachusetts). It was there that he spent the rest of his life. A hard worker and gifted with a practical sense, Brother Odoric was named to the Buildings and Grounds Department at the new Assumption College. In 1967, he became the director of this department. He served in this sector during a period of heavy growth for the College. In 1993, he resigned from this position. At this time, he received the president’s medal from the College in recognition of his devotion. Quoting the citation accompanying this honor is sufficient to indicate the influence that the brother exercised in his position: “From 1956 to 1993 as a member, and later on, the director of the maintenance department of Assumption College, you worked tirelessly to rebuild the new Assumption College from the rubble that the tornado of 1953 left. You headed up the construction of more than 30 buildings and supervised the work of thousands of workers and contractors who maintained these buildings during these years. You transformed the rugged landscape into one of the most beautiful campuses in New England. We are grateful to you for these realizations and for your mild and humble devotion in your responsibilities that witness to your vocation as a brother totally involved. This is an example for all your collaborators.” In further recognition of this devotion, the Board of Trustees of the College decided to name the central maintenance building after him. How can we describe the main qualities of this religious in his community as well as on campus? Brother Odoric is a religious who is warm, tender, and amiable. He is always a pleasant and serviceable companion and faithful to a nourishing prayer life. He is often ill, but does not complain; on the contrary, he tries not to bother his brothers. Brother Odoric ‘adores’ golf. He tries to get away often to play. Each year, a friend invites him to Florida during winter so that he can practice his game and Brother Odoric readily accepts this repeated invitation. It is said that from time to time he even leaves his workstation when in summer it is beautiful weather to meet friends at a golf club.

After he retired in 1993, Brother Odoric had a cerebral embolism. He then had difficulty speaking and walking. He had to relearn both English and French. After a period of recuperation, he could no longer speak his maternal tongue, French, because he no longer mastered it. He suffered much during his final illness, but he held on to life right till the end. He only stayed two and a half days in hospital after he was taken off the respirator. He died May 30, 1998 at 71 years and in the 47th year of religious life. Many people were present at Brother Odoric’s funeral celebrated in Worcester the following June 2: this was a beautiful witness to the influence that this religious had during his whole life. His brothers can praise and thank the Lord for the presence and influence of this confrere in their own life.

Addenda

Brother Odoric made his perpetual profession on June 29, 1956 in Worcester in the hands of Fr. Armand Desautels. He was naturalized as an American citizen on June 24, 1959.

It was about ten days ago, when the College was celebrating its commencement exercises, that President-Emeritus Joseph Henry Hagan delivered the commencement address for the graduation of 1998. President Hagan chose as the theme of his remarks the virtues of faith, of hope, and of love. I thought it was fitting to take those same virtues and to use them as guideposts in the reflection I would like to share with you this morning about the life and the ministry of Brother Odoric Roy.

The first reading that we listened to is taken from Chapter 12 of the Book of Genesis, the first four verses… It is the story of the vocation of Abraham… He has left his homeland…

Many years ago, back in the very earliest 1950,s, Brother Odoric Roy left his homeland. He was born in the far reaches of the Province of Quebec in a little town, a very little town, called Le Bic. There at Le Bic, Odoric Roy heard a call, a call that his older brother, Rosario, had heard many years earlier. Rosario Roy was 14 years Odoric’s senior. Rosario had heard that call, too, to join the congregation of the Assumptionist.. Rosario, having completed his novitiate in Quebec, was sent to Worcester to what was then the joint Prep School and College on West Boylston Street in Greendale, years before the tornado. Odoric heard the same call.  He left his little village. He went to Quebec City where he made his novitiate, and then he came here, almost immediately, to Worcester. College records indicate that Brother Roy began his employment at Assumption College on January 1, 1955. Even before the campus was ready and complete, but after the tornado had brought its terrible destruction to Greendale, when this property was being transformed from fields into a campus, Odoric Roy was here. He heard a call to leave his homeland, to leave the home of his parents, and to go to a land very different from his own. He came to America. He came to New England. He came to Worcester, Massachusetts. He embraced this call so truly that some years later he became a naturalized American citizen.

He really embraced the object of his call and he committed his life, his considerable talents, and his nearly boundless energy to building up this campus and this community. Like Abraham, Brother Odoric Roy was a man of faith:

-faith in the God whom he believed was calling him

-faith in his ability and willingness to respond to that call

-faith in the religious community and the broader community of Worcester with whom he would minister, with whom he would live, and with some of whom, he would learn to play golf.

The second reading was taken from the fifth chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. The first word of this reading is hope. Brother Odoric was a man of hope. Like all Christians, he hoped in the promised Resurrection. Every morning he attended and participated in the Eucharist with this community. He received the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. He had a sure and certain hope that one day his Redeemer, our Savior, would raise him from the dead and welcome him to eternal life. He had a very real hope, but he had a very real enjoyment of life…

Brother Roy had a great hope – many hopes involving golf. He looked forward to losing a game or two to Ray Picard, who would charge him a dime for every game lost. He looked to winning a game or two from Frank Gurley. He never said if Frank gave him a dime for every game he won. Every Sunday afternoon you could find Brother Roy sitting in the television room watching the golf tournaments whenever they were broadcast, learning from those special people like Tiger Woods, how to do the impossible on the golf course… Brother Roy had a lot of hope in his life. It began with the Resurrection but it extended into many wonderful dimensions of his life as well.

I chose for the Gospel a selection from the 14th Chapter of the Gospel of John, because, in its own way, I see it speaking to us about the love of Jesus Christ for all God’s people. Jesus speaks not only of the resurrection, which will come some six chapters later in this gospel, but He speaks of our resurrection, and of our hopes for eternal life. He promises that in His Father’s house there are many rooms for all God’s children. Jesus teaches again of love, the love the Father has for all the Father’s creatures, and the love Jesus had for all of us as He was preparing to give His life for us that we might live well now and eternally later.

But I chose this chapter among many others because it speaks of construction – in my Father’s house – the old translation used to say there are many mansions, now reduced to rooms and pretty soon it will be suites. Brother Roy, a few weeks ago, just before his last hospitalization, confided in a wonderful woman who is our housekeeper at Old English Road, he confided in Belinda, that he had had a hand in the construction of all the buildings on this campus, except the new Living/Learning Center. He was very proud of the contribution he had made here. Whereas we sometimes applaud people for having built this campus from the ground up, we will forever remember Brother Roy as someone who built this campus from the ground down. He knew where everything was underground… Other people of Buildings and Grounds have been saying, “What happens when we have to dig a hole now?” “What happens if we find pipes and wires and we’re not sure what they are?” Brother Roy always seemed to know where everything was. In many cases he put them there. This man had a remarkable memory for the infrastructure of Assumption College. He was in charge of our underground, and he did it very well. Many people yesterday at the wake came to speak to me about his enormous practical sense. This was a man who may not have had much formal education, but enjoyed a common sense and a wisdom that many of us lack…

This was a man who loved, but who loved practically. He loved this campus. He loved this College. He loved the ministry Assumption College represents. He gave of himself to this place.

I said to one person yesterday, “It’s too bad that our cemetery isn’t on this campus because if there is one person who deserves to be “planted  here, it is Brother Roy.” So much of this campus is the product of his hands, of his energy, of his wisdom. And so we remember this man, fondly, lovingly, without canonizing him, without forgetting that he had his faults like all of us do. I think it is possible to remember a man of faith, of hope, and of love. I don’t think that is too bad a way to remember any Christian.

[Funeral homily by Fr. André Dargis, A.A., June 2, 1999]

 

 

Rosario (Joseph-Auguste-Rosario) Roy

1913 – 1969

Canadian religious of the Province of North America.

Two Assumptionist brothers.

Joseph Auguste Rosario Roy was born April 6, 1913, at Sainte-Cécile-du-Bic, Rimouski County, P.Q., Canada. He was the older brother of future Brother Odoric Roy. Their parents were Vital Roy and Marie-Rose Beaulieu. Joseph received his primary education at the local parochial school. After his postulancy in Bergerville, Sillery, Quebec, from November 15, 1930 to May 17, 1931, he asked to enter the novitiate.  Fr. Marie-Alexis Gaudefroy gave him the religious habit in Bergerville May 17, 1931, under the name of Brother Rosario. He took his first vows January 22, 1933. His Master of Novices, Fr. Léocade Bauer, signed the report for his profession. He pronounced his final vows at Our Lady of Esperanza Church in New York City January 22, 1936. Fr. Adrien Buisson, the local superior, praised Brother Rosario’s religious qualities and practical abilities, which were precious assets for the community and the parish.

Brother Rosario was assigned successively to the following communities: Montmartre Canadien, Quebec (1933-36), Our Lady of Esperanza, New York City (1935-36), Assumption Preparatory School, Worcester (1936-57), Collège d’Alzon, Bury, P.Q., Canada (1957-66), and finally, the community at Saint Augustine Seminary, Cap Rouge, Quebec (1966-69).

Extremely practical with his hands, Brother Rosario rendered great services wherever he was assigned.  Afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, he underwent two operations. After the second one, he remained several months in a coma. He died March 3, 1969, at the age of 56, at Saint Augustine Hospital in Courville, P.Q., Canada.  Besides Brother Odoric, his Assumptionist brother, he also had a sister who was an Ursuline, Sister Cécile.  Brother Rosario’s funeral was held at the Assumptionist Pavilion, Saint Augustine Seminary, Cap Rouge, Quebec. He was buried in the cemetery of the Canadian Montmartre, Sillery.

Addenda

Brother Rosario was talented for welding of all sorts and photography.

Thumbnail sketch of Collège d’Alzon, Bury (1955-67).

Collège d’Alzon in Bury was founded in 1955 on the alumnate model in order to develop the Congregation in Canada. The religious of the Canadian Region had long desired such a foundation. During the 1955 Lenten season, Fr. Alexandre Beaudet from the Beauvoir community went to preach at Saint Raphael Church in the small town of Bury in the Eastern Townships. The village had a population of approximately 1,000 souls, the majority English-speaking Protestants. Fr. Alexandre was told by the pastor that the school next to the church was closed and up for sale. The place could be converted into an alumnate.

The Provincial, Fr. Henri Moquin, went to inspect the premises. He discovered to the east of the town of Bury, on the right, at approximately 50 feet from the road, on a slight elevation, Fairview School that was hidden by a row of tall pine trees. Constructed in 1907, the building had six well-lit rooms. They could be used as a chapel, a study hall, and classrooms. On June 28, 1955, the Bury School Committee announced the sale of the school to the Assumptionists. On July 3, Bishop Georges Cabana, the local Ordinary, agreed to the new institution in his diocese. On July 11, Fr. Amarin Mertz was appointed the first superior. A neighboring farm comprising 75 acres of arable land was purchased in August.

The Bury institution lasted 12 years (1955-67), during which time 41 religious gave of their services to operate this school and educate a total of some 350 students, only two of whom became Assumptionists although several others entered the novitiate but left.  The Sisters of Saint Joan of Arc began contributing their services there in November 1957. In 1965, the upper classes were moved to Cap Rouge. The alumnate was closed in 1967.  Its buildings were rented out from 1968 to 1972 and then sold.

 

 

René Saint-Gelais

1921-1968

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

A religious brother.

René Saint-Gelais was born July 14, 1921 at Laterrière, Quebec, Canada in the Chicoutimi diocese. A child of a numerous family, he followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Brother Edmond (1). He was vested with the religious habit at the Sillery novitiate under the direction of Fr. Yvon Le Floc’h (2) on July 1, 1943 and pronounced his first vows July 2, 1944. In June of 1945, he decided to leave the Assumption and possibly religious life. Fr. Yvon Le Floc’h, his novice master explained: “Brought up in the country by a very Christian mother [Emma Girard], used to piety and manual labor, he is a bit disconcerted by the variety of characters that he meets in religious life. He is very sensitive and at times susceptible. However, in general he is a good companion, rather happy”. Brother René was only gone for a short time. He asked to return to his religious family and Fr. Gervais Quenard, at the time superior general, authorized him to return in July of 1945. An indult granted him permission to pronounce his second annual vows on August 15, 1946 without the obligation of having to redo his novitiate. After his novitiate, he worked in different Assumptionist houses: Quebec (1944-1955); Worcester, U.S.A. (1952-1955); Bury in Quebec province (1955-1956); the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York (1956-1968). His official work was as sacristan and in maintenance. He was a man of few words, not only because he had difficulty speaking English but also because he was timid. However, his smile was never lacking. He was an ardent worker who started early and only stopped at 9 p.m. when he would fall asleep in his chair. He cared for the church and the sacristy, proud of keeping everything spotless. He gave in to the Puerto Ricans of New York concerning the required decorations for feast days. He also knew how to prepare the meals for the community. He died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage August 1, 1968 at the age of 47 in the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe as he was preparing the altar for the next day’s masses. A great proof of the sympathy of the parishioners of New York was seen in the fact that there was a crowd for his funeral. Brother René’s body was brought to Quebec (Sillery) after the religious funeral ceremony. He rested in the cemetery found on the Montmartre property.

(1)     Edmond Saint-Gelais, born in 1919, professed in 1942.

(2) Fr. Yvon Le Floc’h (1889-1975) followed as master of novices in Sillery, Frs. Marie-Alexis Gaudefroy in charge from 1927 to 1931 and Léocade Bauer from 1931 to 1940. According to the study by Fr. Yves Garon, Le recrutement du noviciat assomptionniste de Sillery de 1926 à 1964 (The Recruitment of the Assumptionist Novitiate in Sillery from 1926 to 1964), during this period there were seven masters of novices. That is to say, besides those named above, we need to name Frs. André Godbout in charge from 1948 to 1954, Xavier Vandermeerschen, Belgian, from 1954 to 1959, Theodore Lussier, from 1959 to 1963, and Oliver Blanchette, from 1963 to 1964. According to the same study, the Sillery novitiate in 1943 had one choir novice and 5 lay brother novices. From 1926 to 1964 there were 382 postulant entries to the Sillery novitiate, an average of 10 per year. A large number did not persevere (244), especially as lay brothers. More so, 56 of 138 left the Congregation after perpetual vows. This is consistent with what happened in other Congregations. In 1995, the following statistics could be noted: 21 brothers and 61 priests having gone through Sillery persevered in their fidelity to their initial project of religious and priestly life. Fr. Yves Garon concluded that the Sillery novitiate was fruitful even during difficult times.

Addenda

Brother René made his perpetual vows in the hands of Fr. Yvon LeFloc’h in Quebec on August 15, 1948. He spent three months at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1948. In 1951, he was in Washington for four months. This was followed by six months at Assumption College in 1952, then Beauvoir until September 1, 1953. At this time, he returned to Assumption College in 1953.

 

 

Rosaire (Jean-Paul) Saint-Laurent

1916-1994

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

A formation spanning two continents.

Jean Paul Saint-Laurent was born October 5, 1916 at Saint-Simon de Bagot in the diocese of Saint Hyacinth in Quebec (Canada). His parents were Rosaire Saint-Laurent and Marie-Louise Desrosiers. He studied at the Saint-Hyacinth minor seminary (1930-1937). It was thanks to a visit to the seminary by Fr. Maurice Gagnon that he knew of the Assumption. July 10, 1937 saw him enter the Sillery novitiate under the guidance of Fr. Léocade Bauer and he received the name of Brother Rosaire, the first name of his father. On October 3 he took the Assumptionist religious habit and made his first vows October 4, 1938. He then left for the scholasticate of Scy-Chazelles (Moselle) in France to do a third year of philosophy. In September 1939, he started his theology at Lormoy (Essonne). The advancing German armies forced him to leave Lormoy in June 1940 to take refuge at Chanac (Lozère). From there, he traveled to Nîmes (Gard) where, with Canadian and English confreres, he continued his theology studies at the major seminary of this city. He pronounced his perpetual vows October 4, 1941 and was ordained to the priesthood October 28, 1942 after a slight postponement. In November of that same year, he had to once again leave Nîmes to escape the Germans who had captured the southern zone of France. He returned to Canada via Spain and England and arrived in Sillery January 31, 1943. He finished his theology studies there at Laval University.

Activities and ministries.

Fr. Rosaire went to Assumption College in Worcester (U.S.A.) September 7, 1943. He was named French teacher and, for a time, director of dramatics. In September 1948, he was named to the sanctuary of Beauvoir, near Sherbrooke (Canada). He was chaplain and then in charge of propaganda and preacher for the parishes during the winter season. During several years, he was director of pilgrimages at Beauvoir (1948-1969). At the end of 1969, he became chaplain at the Saint-Joseph residence of Sherbrooke; ten years later, in January 1980, he retired to the Saint-Hyacinth seminary, his alma mater, to which he was greatly attached. He exercised ministry in the nearby hospital, but especially cared with great devotion for the old and sick priests, retired at the seminary like him. On November 1, 1994, Fr. Rosaire was the victim of an auto accident. He was transported to Saint-Hyacinth Hospital and then to Notre-Dame Hospital in Montreal where he died the following November 3. His funeral took place in the chapel of the Saint-Hyacinth seminary November 7. Bishop Langevin from the diocese presided and gave the homily. He gave a fine eulogy of Fr. Rosaire stressing his devotion to the elderly priests. Fr. Rosaire’s body rests in the crypt of the seminary.

Personality.

Fr. Rosaire was an esteemed preacher. He prepared his homilies and sermons at length, fixing the essential in an elaborate plan that he typed up. He preached brilliantly and was well received. During the last years of his life, he collaborated with several newspapers and magazines, at times regularly. His texts were actual, concrete, and interesting. He was also a handy man with talent for radios, metal, locks and even a bit of an artist. He created and made a crucifix in several copies with a very original body and also a remarkable Virgin. These little masterpieces showed much imagination as well as sensitiveness.

Addenda

He was ordained to the priesthood at Nîmes by Bishop Girbeau. He was in charge of recreational activities at the Foyer Saint-Joseph in Sherbrooke (1970-1980) and Substitute chaplain at Honoré-Mercier Hospital as well as confessor to the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary (1980-1990).

 

 

Damase (Arthur Joseph) Tanguay

1905-1997

Canadian Religious of the Province of North America.

Curriculum Vitae.

Arthur Joseph Tanguay was born January 3, 1905 at Saint-Philémon, Quebec, Canada. Soon after, his family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA. Young Arthur Joseph went to Saint Joseph elementary school. He entered the Assumptionist novitiate in Sillery April 30, 1933. He did his novitiate under the direction of Fr. Léocade Bauer. He made his first vows as a lay brother May 1, 1934 with the name of Brother Damase: “I am glad to present Brother Damase for vows. His manual skills and the persevering efforts that he made to reform his character will make of him an excellent subject for our works”. After the Vatican II Council, Brother Damase took back his own baptismal name, Arthur. May 1, 1937 saw him make his perpetual vows in Sillery: “Brother Damase is the best lay brother vocation that we have ever had. Mature in age and with life experience, we cannot praise him enough for the way that he has served the novitiate from the material point of view and in his help with the young vocations. I wish to present him with great joy”, wrote once again Fr. Léocade. The listing of the Brother’s various apostolic nominations are as follows: from 1934 to 1937, he lived at the Canadian Montmartre in Sillery. From 1937 to 1940, he was sent to the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York. From 1940 to 1947, he returned to work at the Canadian Montmartre. From 1947 to 1954, he went to the parish of Our Lady of Esperanza in New York. From 1954 to 1957, he was at the college of Bury (Quebec). He then was named to Assumption College in Worcester from 1957 to 1959. In June of 1959, he became an American citizen. From 1959 to 1964, he was once again serving at the parish of Our Lady of Esperanza. Finally from 1964 to 1997, he lived or was attached to the community of the parish and sanctuary of Saint Anne of Fiskdale.

Portrait.

Brother Arthur was a religious totally given to God, a good worker, a man of prayer with a rosary constantly in his hand. He was also quite independent with his own ideas. Worn out by age and unable to take care of himself, he entered a nursing home where he remained for almost six years. He had difficulty adjusting to this life, emotionally and socially, since it was a milieu that was so different and so new to him. But as his strength diminished, he became more serene and accepted more readily his long and at times painful illness. Finally, he concentrated all of his energy in his desire, oftentimes repeated, to become a saint. He did not reach the feast of All Saints 1997, but died at the time of night prayer on October 31. At the beginning of his religious life, Brother Arthur did mostly manual labor, a domain in which he was very skilled. There are two words linked together that best evoke in our mind the apostolate of Brother Arthur, altar boy and pilgrim. At Saint-Anne’s, but even more at New York, he was devoted to his altar boys. He helped them as much as he could when they were looking for their vocation or when they were poor, by taking them on outings to Yankee Stadium or Camp Adrien, a camp for poor boys in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Later on, he received many letters of gratitude thanking him for having helped them pursue a religious vocation or for having helped them win their battle with alcohol or drugs. At the Saint-Anne sanctuary, the pilgrims understood his compassion and his confidence in prayer to the good Saint Anne. It seems that some were healed and thanked the Brother for his prayers. He consoled, encouraged, and counseled. He helped the poor and the afflicted that came to the sanctuary with gifts of money, clothes, and food. If there was a bit of Robin Hood in Arthur, there was much more of Don Bosco!

The religious kept vigil with Brother Arthur’s body in the church of Saint Anne and it was there that the farewell mass was held November 3, 1997. To give thanks, to say good-bye, to hasten the moment of this entrance into the Father’s house, and to proclaim their faith in the resurrection, the family members, friends, parishioners, and Assumptionists were there. Brother Arthur reposed among his brother Assumptionists in the cemetery of Saint-Anne in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Addenda

During the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of visiting Camp Adrian to care for the spiritual needs of the boys there. Being vocational director for the Paulist Fathers and acting as chaplain to the Brothers and boys at Power Memorial Academy brings me in constant contact with boys and their problems. Meeting one who has such a wholesome influence upon boys, as does your Brother Damase, was indeed a special pleasure for me.

The boys who hail from our parish at 59th Street were unanimous in their praise of Brother Damase and it is amazing how Brother is able to use the smallest incident as a means of teaching the boys some truth of our Faith or of inculcating some moral principle. It was a blessing for our boys that they had the good fortune of getting to know Brother Damase.

As Brother’s Superior I felt that you would like to have this observation.

[Letter by Fr. Francis McGough, C.S.P., secretary to the Superior General, to Fr. Wilfrid Dufault,, A.A., Provincial, August 22, 1949]

 

 

Pierre-Célestin (Achille) Therrien

1898-1951

Canadian religious of the Province of North America.

First Canadian Assumptionist.

Achille Therrien was born January 3, 1898, in Saint-Adrien d’Irlande, Quebec, Canada.  He received his elementary education with the Sisters of Saint-Louis de France in Saint Adrien.  After his secondary education with the Brothers of Christian Schools in Thetford Mines and at the minor seminary of Quebec (1914-19), he entered the Assumptionist novitiate in Saint Gérard, Belgium, where he received the religious habit November 4, 1921, under the name of Brother Pierre-Célestin.  At the time, there was no Assumptionist novitiate in North America.  Annually professed March 19, 1923, he was sent to the house of studies in Louvain for theology (1923-27).  Perpetually professed in Louvain June 24, 1926, he was ordained a priest July 24, 1927, thus becoming the first Canadian priest in the Congregation.

Ministry.

Upon his return to North America, Fr. Pierre-Célestin was assigned to Assumption College in Worcester (USA) as a teacher.  In 1930, he was appointed to the important position of Dean of Discipline. Equal to the task, he knew how to combine strength with esteem, as well as respect for authority with fatherly joviality, as he worked to educate the students.  From Worcester, he was transferred to pastoral ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in New York City in 1933, where he was a curate until 1948 and, for a time, treasurer of the community.  In 1935, he rested for six months after experiencing heart problems. In 1946, Fr. Pierre-Célestin went to Mexico for a few months to improve his knowledge of Spanish.

He was still in New York when, in 1948, he was called to begin the new foundation in Beauvoir, Quebec, where he gave fully of himself.  He soon became a popular preacher and made many friends for this well-known pilgrimage center.  Though he did not always speak in a classical style, he knew that his listeners understood what he was saying.  As the first superior of the new community in Beauvoir, he was exercising an intense apostolate when sickness struck him.

Sickness and death.

Frequent heart problems obliged him to make several visits to the hospital. Hospitalized for a few months in Magog, next in Sherbrooke, he was constantly monitored by the doctors and received very devoted care from the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart.  On several occasions, the doctors warned the religious that Fr. Pierre-Célestin could die suddenly.

He succumbed to uremia on July 14, 1951, in Magog at the age of 53.  His funeral, presided by the Provincial, Fr. Wilfrid Dufault, took place at Beauvoir on July 17, in the presence of a large crowd.  The novices from Sillery assured the singing.  The congregations of Assumptionist Sisters were also represented: the Religious of the Assumption, the Little Sisters of the Assumption, and the Sisters of Saint Joan of Arc.  After the funeral, the casket was brought to Sillery for burial.  On the way, a Libera was sung in the church of Saint Alphonse in Thetford Mines where, after leaving Saint-André d’Irlande, some of the members of the Therrien family had gone to live.  His body was placed in the community’s small cemetery in Sillery, next to Frs. Pierre-Célestin Régnier (1866-1921), Albert Catoire (1869-1945), and Pierre-Rodolphe Martel (1901-1947).

Addenda

Fr. Pierre-Célestin did his philosophy at Laval University (1919-1921). He was a curate and assistant treasurer at Esperanza (1932-1933).

Closer to the Sacred Heart [Le Messager, Sherbrooke, July 28, 1951, p. 12]

Fr. Therrien is no longer with us. News of his death surprised everyone, even his own family. He had not taken too seriously the seriousness of his illness, even though his nurses were worried as well as his doctor. Furthermore, his regular joviality camouflaged the signs of his pain and his attachment to the shrine kept him at his post. He wanted to prolong his active service to the Sacred Heart but the Sacred Heart was already preparing his reward.

Fr. Pierre-Célestin Therrien was last seen publicly at Beauvoir on the feast of the Sacred Heart (June 1, 1951) and, in the days that followed, spoke a few times to groups of pilgrims. He was more tired than usual but didn’t want to show it. He went to Cap-de-la-Madeleine the evening of the 12-13 of June where he could no longer hide his pain. Two days later, he had to return to the Magog hospital, he thought for 10 days, but in fact, it was to die there.  He was again seen in Sherbrooke, Newport, Thetford in early July. On July 12, he was expected at Beauvoir for dinner; he didn’t show up because of an indigestion. The next day, July 13, his illness took was clearly diagnosed: generalized cancer. The Superior of Beauvoir was urgently called to the hospital to administer Extreme Unction and give him the Viaticum. Father offered his life as a sacrifice to the Sacred Heart, spent a good night, and waited for Saturday dedicated to the Virgin to pass into eternity. Fr. Pierre Therrien died at La Providence Hospital in Magog, Saturday, July 14 around 9:30 a.m. That very evening, his body was transported to Beauvoir in a coffin, hands joined, silent, and eyes closed. The one who had preached so often at the shrine, directed so many holy hours, met so many pilgrims, and had helped people know and love the Sacred Heart during the three years he had been there at Beauvoir would speak no more.

Fr. Therrien was very outgoing by nature. He had many devoted friends that he brought gently to the Sacred Heart. When he preached, he smiled. In the confessional, he loved the penitents. By his conversations and letters, he brought joy. Many religious souls will always remember him as : “ the good Father Therrien” as they called him.

It is at the feet of the Sacred Heart, whom he approached in his death, that Father Therien’s friends will best remember him. He will be a link between the Beauvoir of the earth and the Beauvoir of heaven. How beautiful it must be to see the Sacred Heart for the one who contemplates Him face to face!

 

 

Michel (J. André Elzéar Léo) Tremblay

1917-1989

Religious of the Vice-Province of Canada.

Regional Superior from 1964 to 1975.

A life given generously.

J.-André Elzéar Léo Tremblay was born in Chicoutimi, Quebec January 25, 1917. He did his high school studies at the seminary of the same city (1932-1938). He took the religious habit at the Bergerville (Sillery) novitiate October 2, 1938 under the name of Brother Michel. Later on, he took the double name of Michel-André. Under the guidance of Fr. Léocade Bauer, master of novices, he committed himself to religious life as he made his first vows October 3, 1939: “ Brother Michel did a good novitiate and we can count on his serious desire to continue progressing. His studies will not be too brilliant, but to compensate this fact, he has a great desire of perfection and a dedication that fill us with hope. The Brother still needs support, but the house of studies will better fulfill this role for him”. He went to France at Lormoy (Essonne) where he began his ecclesiastical studies but they were interrupted by war. He went back to America to Worcester (U.S.A.) to finish his philosophy. It was at Laval University in Quebec that he studied theology (1941-1945). Among his confreres were the future Msgr. Jean-Marie Fortier, archbishop of Sherbrooke, and the future Msgr. Laurent Noël, bishop of Trois-Rivières. He was ordained to the priesthood June 16, 1944. His apostolic ministry began in Worcester. From 1945 to 1948, he taught French in the Preparatory school of the College. Fr. Yves Garon, his confrere, said: “ For the students, he is more of a big brother than a highly imposing teacher. He is at the very least as young as his students who are never bored in his company. Simple and happy, he has an edifying rigor concerning his duties toward his little people. He prepares his short and long term classes with great diligence. I have inherited a good part of his class preparations amassed with much hard work with a view to future teaching. The teachers of that time had to consecrate much time to corrections of homework and quizzes, a task that was both tedious and exhausting. The over zealous Fr. Michel was swamped with corrections to be made: you found him invariably at his desk faced with his papers to correct. He enjoyed his weekend ministry first at Easthampton, then at Saint Joseph’s of Worcester and also wrote a column for the magazine ‘L’Assomption’ that was greatly appreciated. Fr. Michel was then named to the sanctuary that the Congregation had just accepted to staff in 1948 at Beauvoir. At first he was its treasurer, then superior from 1961. In 1964, he went from Beauvoir to the Canadian Montmartre at Sillery (1964-1967) and then he was in charge of the transfer of Bury to Mont-Saint-Anne (1967-1973) before returning to Beauvoir (1974-1978). From 1978 to 1983, he was chaplain to several groups, notably to the Sisters of Notre-Dame du Bon Conseil in Chicoutimi and in 1981 at the Rose Giet residence to the Filles de la Charité du Sacré-Coeur in Sherbrooke. In the various communities where Fr. Michel was named, he served many times as superior and treasurer. From 1964 to 1975, he was regional superior. When illness visited him in 1983, he retired to the community of the Canadian Montmartre. It was there that he died April 23, 1989 at the age of 72. He was buried in Sillery. Father Michel held almost all of the possible responsibilities at the Assumption: teacher, treasurer, local and regional superior, chaplain of religious communities, pastor, and pilgrimage director. In each position, he showed devotedness, lack of attachment, and a love of the Church and his Congregation that were extraordinary. In prayer and suffering accepted with humility and generosity, his life ended on a Sunday. [Taken from an Assumptionist newsletter from the Vice-Province of Canada.]

Addenda.

In 1964, Fr. Michel was superior at the Canadian Montmartre in Sillery and superior of Mont Saint-Anne in 1967. His sense of humor was as powerful as his voice. In the later years of his life, he wore a hearing aid. He was famous for his tall stories and exaggerations. He died of emphysema.

Last Sunday, Fr. Michel entered gently into the Paschal mystery. This vigorous man, full of life and humor that we knew during many years retuned to the Father’s bosom like a child comes from the womb of his mother and kept warm by the oven door.

The agony and realization that he was a mortal being lasted some eight years during which he gradually realized that the athlete of Christ, as his physical strength diminishes, can still take long steps to reach the one who was and wanted to be his whole life, Jesus. “For me, to live is Christ.” It is precisely at that moment that he reached his goal in the course of his 72 years of life, in successes and failures, joys and deceptions of each day that became the crucible in which his gold was refined and his sacrifice offered as incense that was received by the God who is Love and Forgiveness who had called him by his name, André and created him in his image and likeness.

No one has any doubts that André was noisy, that he liked to play tricks on people and liked to joke. No one doubts that, while keeping his jovial personality, Fr. Michel was a convinced religious and a zealous priest who fulfilled his tasks with zeal. Many others can give their witness: those who were touched through his ministry and friendship. His religious confreres lived this daily experience and found in him a pleasant and friendly companion.

But the baptized person, lay, religious or priest, remains a mystery, the mystery of this word of God hidden in the depths of one’s heart. This word often travels in the greatest secret. It grows before God and gradually discovers God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Michel was no exception. His piety was not exterior, but it had deep roots in compost, the good soil of his heart.

The true man of God is discovered bit by bit and through small revelations. At times, he was the one who said,” If they are looking for me, I am in the chapel.” At times you surprised him as he said his rosary. He could share his sufferings and at the same time make others laugh through his expressive language.  He was the one who constantly deepened his relationship with Jesus, with more serenity and peace. He was the one who, diminished by illness, continued as he much as he could to take part in the community activities, the concelebrations, and the Office with the desire not to bother anyone. He did not bother others. At the same time, he discovered surprisingly that his brothers showed him their kind and tender affection.

During his two last months, he felt that he was leaving. “Was I afraid? I don’t know.” But his identification to Jesus became more complete day by day. During Holy Week, he knew that, just like Jesus, he was embarking on crossing over from life to death to life. His desire on Good Friday was to enter completely into the Paschal mystery. The symbol of his faith in the resurrection is clear. And if he had not been hooked up to machines to keep him alive, his crossing over would have been more rapid. He lived this last purification with serenity, this final purifying of his gold.

The grain of wheat fell in good soil and brought forth his fruits of eternity. Let us thank his family here present, his brothers and sisters of the Assumptionist family, for having lent him to us for these years. We thank you Lord, for the seed planted in Michel. This seed, Your Word, hidden in the depths of his spirit and body, hidden, tiny, ignored, without any apparent value, but called to develop itself in his stony soil amid the brambles, coming to grips with the wind and rain of storms and the ardent sun of midday life, in order to produce in him your life, tenacious and impenetrable in its mystery, your image, the masterpiece of your beauty. Thank you, Lord! Last Sunday, Fr. Michel entered gently into his Paschal mystery while waiting for the resurrection.

[Funeral homily by Fr. Eugene Laplante, A.A., April 26, 1989]


 

Martin (Daniel) Viallet

1911-1914

Religious of the Province of Paris.

A late vocation. An early death.

Daniel Martin was born November 9, 1911 at Jarrier, Savoy in the diocese of Saint-Jean de Maurienne. According to his personal file of 1937, his family was established at that time in Manitoba, Canada. Since he was a late vocation, he took upgrading courses at Saint-Denis House (Seine-Saint-Denis) from 1934 to 1935 and at Chanac, Lozère, from 1935 to 1937. Fr. Marie-Albert Devynck was his master of novices at Les Essarts (Seine-Maritime) where Daniel took the religious habit October 10, 1937 under the name of Brother Martin. We transcribe the remarks of Fr. Marie-Albert who presented this religious for his first profession: “Although he had hesitations coming from his delicate conscience, Brother Martin gives himself generously to his new religious life. He has all that he needs to go forward: common sense, a good judgment, even if he suffers from an inadequate prior formation and studies that were begun quite late and are therefore incomplete. He is young man who is brave, energetic, and very devoted. At times he tends to have doubt, but he overcomes them by his fervent piety. He is simple and practical, and leads a harmonious community life by his charity and good character. We can count on his good health. He inspires total confidence by his seriousness, his maturity, and his supernatural spirit. I believe that with time, his hard work, and his capacities, that he will be able to overcome the lacks of his intellectual formation, which is still very basic.” After novitiate, Brother Martin was sent to the house of studies at Scy-Chazelles (Moselle). October 11, 1938. He made his first vows there.

Without any doubt, this religious only has the appearance of having good health since in December 1938, he had to be sent to rest at Lorgues (Var). He started his theology under the direction of the superior, Fr. Clément Laugé thanks to the help of several religious who lived there. This latter signed his report for the presentation to perpetual vows that were taken at Lorgues October 11, 1941. Fr. Jean de Matha Thomas (1894-1976) announced the death of Brother Martin, who died January 17, 1944 at Lorgues: “We have just shut the eyes of our beloved Brother Martin Viallet, who, two weeks ago, was still full of life and even full of hope to be ordained in the near future. He came to Lorgues from Scy-Chazelles before the war. We thought that he was almost cured when he suddenly had an attack of violent fever. We suggested that he receive Extreme Unction and he read the formula for the renewal of his vows. This morning, January 17, finding that his pulse was calmer, I told him that this was a first effect of the sacrament. He answered: ‘Or else, it is the end approaching. What worries me is my poor father, far away in Canada.’ In fact his family left Savoy when he entered Saint-Denis. He spoke to me, very resigned and shook my hand. He died in the afternoon without even a moan. He was an exemplary religious who never complained. Let us pray for him. May God spare us from other bereavements!

Lorgues, 1944.

The Lorgues community is getting ready to live difficult times in this year of 1944. The prefecture threatens to seize the house for the benefit of 200 children from Boulouris who have bone T.B. and need to be evacuated. Fr. Jean de Matha suggested another solution by naming the Sisters of Our Lady of the Angels whose young interns could find refuge elsewhere. The Vichy government decided to regroup all of the Anglo-American citizens at Toulon. Fr. Jean de Matha must protect and shelter Brother Stephen Reynor. The authorities also demand to send Brother Eduardus [Van Berkel, Dutch] and Brother Marie-Antoine [Bénin, Bulgarian] to the S.T.O. However, their transfer to Germany, in these uncertain times, would mean their death sentence. Fr. Jean de Matha Thomas has to once again go to the local authorities to protect the Oblates from the seizure of their house…

Addenda

“I am almost at the end of my year of novitiate. After having prayed, reflected, and seriously studied my vocation, I humbly ask my admission as a choir brother by making my first vows in the Congregation of the Priests of the Assumption. Dear Father, I understand clearly the obligations incumbent upon me by my religious profession since in the course of this year, with the help of my Master of Novices, I strove to train myself in the spirit and customs of the Congregation, and, with his wise guidance, we studied in the minutest details the Constitutions of the Institute and the three religious vows. I am very committed to the religious and apostolic characters of the Institute. I only wish one thing: to devote all my energies in the posts where obedience will assign me. I also desire to advance in the Holy Orders; it is my dearest wish, regardless of my unworthiness but with all that the love of Christ inspires in me. I ask this of my own free will and I hope to get a favorable answer.” [Brother Martin Viallet, Les Essarts, 1938. Letter to Fr. General.]

Brother Martin died as a scholastic with temporary vows. Two years after his vows, he had to go to Lorgues for reasons of health and lived another five years. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

 

 

Daniel Viallet 

1911 - 1944

Among the descendants of Jean-Michel Viallet and Jeanne-Marie Dompnier, the name of Daniel recurs again and again.  Could the reason be that we do not want to forget the Daniel of the first generation born the second oldest precisely of Jean-Michel and Jeanne-Marie, on November 9th, 1911 at Jarrier, a small village nestled in the Alps in the department of Savoie, France?  It is very likely. As for myself, I so wanted to remember Daniel that when came time to choose my religious name, I picked the name, Sister St. Daniel.

This Daniel, my brother, was eleven years old when he arrived in Canada on June 8th in 1922.  The family settled in Haywood, Manitoba.  His brother, Henri was 14 years old, Albert 6 and René 4.  His two younger sisters, Rose and Marie-Louise were born in Canada.  Unfortunately, the latter lived but a few hours in the midst of her family before winging her way to heaven.  In the family it was good to recall that Daniel, then aged 16, had in this case of emergency, baptized our little Louise.  Whether he was asked to perform the ritual or that he offered to do so, could it have been an indication of a ministry he anticipated to exercise in the future?

I regret not knowing exactly how his aspirations to religious life developed in the years preceding his departure for France.  I believe that Father Edmond Lavoie, who was then pastor in Haywood, helped him discern his calling to the priesthood.

The calling can very well be there but the means to attain it are also necessary. Daniel was getting on in years and the normal age for studies was running out.  A newspaper from France entitled “La Croix” came to our home.  It so happened that an insert prepared by the Assumptionnist Fathers, probably from Paris, announced the acceptance of studies for young men of late vocation.  This was an answer to Daniel’s dreams.  But where would the money come from? Certainly not from Jean-Michel Viallet’s farm.  The meager revenues hardly kept the household going. It may be mentioned here that Daniel and his brother Henri, for several years in the fall, would go to Saskatchewan for the threshing season in order to help add a few dollars in the family’s wallet.  God provides in surprising ways.  It so happened that the Dompnier parents in Jarrier had left to Mother Jeanne-Marie, a monetary inheritance, which would suffice to cover the studies’ expenses.  The arrangements were made.  But now, who would endorse the expenses of the trip from Winnipeg to France?  I don’t know who had the bright idea but even though Daniel already had his Canadian citizenship, he offered I suppose to go to France for his military service and thus, the French army took charge of the fare.

Although I was only 8 at the time, I vividly recall his departure from home on November 11th, 1932.  Already a deep blanket of snow covered the ground and the whole family accompanied him in a big sleigh to the train station at dusk.  What courage! What stamina on the part of this 21-year-old man in order to reach the goal to which God was calling him! To leave his family, his mother whose health was already failing at the time he was leaving, called for a major determination.

His military service once completed, Daniel joined the Assumptionnist Fathers and pursued his studies at St Denis in Paris. At the end of his novitiate in Rouen, Daniel made his religious profession of vows and thus became a full-fledged member of the congregation of the Assumption under his new name, Brother Martin Viallet.  He pursued his studies in philosophy and theology at Metz in preparation for the priesthood.

One must remember that at that time, the Second World War was raging in Europe. Life conditions were neither comfortable nor healthy and therefore, in spite of his robust constitution, Daniel, this tall and handsome man, became a victim of a lung disease and died on January 17, 1944.  At that time he was in a convalescent home at Lorgues in the Var.  His illness was lengthy but maybe not that painful as we learned later on through a letter that a religious sister sent us saying that he had repaired an alarm clock for her just hours before he passed away.

In 1944, France was totally occupied by the German army and therefore communications with the external world had been cut off.  The news of Daniel’s death reached us in Haywood with a 24-word message sent by the Red Cross on August 23, 1944. We were overtaken by disappointment and sadness! Our father had planned on attending his ordination, which was to take place in October of that same year.  As for myself, I had grown and become an adult and had kept in touch through correspondence.  I loved him and, dare I say, he was my favorite brother.  I had joined the Congregation of the Missionary Oblate Sisters in St. Boniface only a few days before the news of his death reached us.  I had dreamt that from that day on, we could have shared on the same wavelength and understood each other at a deeper level.  Unfortunately, those beautiful dreams crumbled!  At the moment, I thought I would never be consoled but time has a way of healing and calming even if such deep pains are never to be forgotten.

Let us now share the memories that others and I have of Daniel’s personality.  He was definitely tall and slender, which in a military uniform made him look like a dignified and attractive soldier.  One tells me that he had a soft voice, and another one tells me that he was part of the church choir; he therefore must have had some musical aptitudes.  Musical instruments were a rarity in those days of scarcity.  But Daniel had somehow laid hands on a mouth organ with which he would cheer us up, magically extracting from it melodies that enthralled me. Yet he had forsaken that little instrument as he had with everything else, for this mouth organ lay in a drawer long after his departure.

Another one tells me: “He was rather timid by nature.  He was well mannered and his kindness reflected on his face.  When he was still with us, I was not yet very capable of analyzing the psychological aspect of people.  Yet here, when mentioning his kindness, I would like to confirm it by a fact.  I was in Grade I in school.  People my age will undoubtedly remember the “syllabaire” which was our tool for learning to read in French.  One day, I was very dejected because I had not “known my lesson for the teacher.”  When I got home, I probably complained about the fact.  Daniel took me on his lap and with relentless patience, taught me the page I had not known as well as the next one for the following day.  I was so happy to know it.  His kindness evidently touched me since after 70 years it is still fresh in my memory.

It’s a pleasure to talk or write about those we love.  But whatever I would add from this moment on would no longer be true because all my memories are exhausted except a few episodes, which could be related verbally but not written.

I feel rewarded to have been given the opportunity to share what in my heart I dearly cherished about my brother Daniel.  I have always felt that everyone had the right to know who this brother of mine was.

Strangely enough, through fortunate circumstances, after I had completed writing the short biography above, more information came to me about Daniel through an Assumptionnist priest who is working in the archives of his congregation in Creighton, Massachusetts.  It completes the missing link which none of us could have known otherwise. I am quoting the parts, which have not been mentioned previously.

« We transcribe the remarks of Father Marie-Albert Devynck who was his master of novices at Les Essarts where Daniel took his religious habit October 10, 1937 under the name of Brother Martin.  We transcribe the remarks of Fr. Marie-Albert who presented this religious for his profession: “Although he had hesitations coming from his delicate conscience, Brother Martin gives himself generously to his new religious life.  He has all that he needs to go forward: common sense, a good judgment, even if he suffers from an inadequate prior formation and studies that were begun quite late and are therefore incomplete.  He is a young man who is brave, energetic and very devoted.  At times he tends to have doubts but he overcomes them by his fervent piety.  He is simple-hearted and practical, and leads a harmonious community life by his charity and good nature. We can count on his good health.   He inspires total confidence by his seriousness, his maturity and his spiritual gifts.  I believe that with his capacities, time and hard work, he will be able to overcome that which is lacking and basic of his intellectual formation.”  After his novitiate, Brother Martin was sent to the house of studies at Scy-Chazelles (Moselle) where on October 11, 1938 he pronounced his first vows.  “…Fr. Clément Laugé signed his report for the presentation to perpetual vows that were taken at Lorgues October 11, 1941.” (Archives, Brighton, Mass.)

Another priest, Father Jean de Matha, his superior at the time, relates the details of his passing away in the following account:

“Our beloved Brother MartinViallet who, just two weeks ago, was still full of life and even full of hope to be ordained in the near future, has died.  He came to Lorgues from Scy-Chazelles before the war.  We thought that he was almost cured when he suddenly had an attack of violent fever.  We suggested that he receive the sacrament of Extreme Unction and he read the formula for the renewal of his vows.  This morning, January 17, finding that his pulse was calmer, I told him that this was a first effect of the sacrament.  He answered: ‘Or else the end is approaching.  What worries me is my poor father far away in Canada.’  He spoke to me well resigned and shook my hand.  He died in the afternoon without even a moan.  He was an exemplary religious who never complained.  Let us pray for him.” (Archives, Brighton, Mass.)

The following is a letter that Daniel wrote to his Superior General as he was approaching the time of his temporary vows.

“I am almost at the end of my year of novitiate.  After having prayed, reflected and seriously studied my vocation, I humbly ask my admission as a choir brother by making my first vows in the Congregation of the Priests of the Assumption.  Dear Father, I clearly understand the obligations that are incumbent upon me by my religious profession since, in the course of this year, with the help of my Master of Novices, I strove to train myself in the spirit and customs of my Congregation, and with his wise guidance, I studied in the minute details, the Constitutions of the Institute and the three religious vows.  I am very committed to the religious and apostolic characters of the Institute.  I only wish one thing: to devote all my energies in the posts where obedience will assign me.  I also desire to advance in the Holy Orders; it is my dearest wish, regardless of my unworthiness but with all that the love of Christ inspires me.  I ask this of my own free will and hope to obtain a favorable answer.”

(Brother Martin Viallet, Les Essarts, 1938)

(Assumptionist Archives)

Rose Marie Viallet, m.o.  (Daniel’s sister)

601 Aulneau Street,  St-Boniface, Manitoba

R2H 2V5

Nouvelles de la famille occupée #29, 1941-1944

Bro. Martin Viallet (Province of Paris) – Fr. Jean de Matha notified us of a new bereavement at Lorgues. “We have just closed the eyes of our beloved Brother Martin Viallet who, 2 weeks ago, was still full of life and even full of hope for his priestly ordination. He came to Lorgues from Scy before the war and we thought that he was almost healed when suddenly a violent fever took hold of him. Yesterday, Sunday, we suggested Extreme Unction. We prepared the prayers and the renewal formula for vows together, that he wanted to read himself. This morning, 17 January, finding that his pulse was calmer, I told him that this was a first effect of the sacrament. He answered: “Or else the end is near. What I find sad is that my poor father is back there in Canada (where his family had left Savoy while he entered Saint-Denys). He spoke totally resigned and squeezed my hand; in the afternoon he died without even a sigh. He was an exemplary religious who never complained. Pray for him. May God spare us from other bereavements!”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:45
 
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