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THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA 

THE HISTORY OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN EDMONTON 

A DISSERTATION 

SUBMITTED TO THE SCHOOL OF GRADUATE STUDIES 
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE 
OF MASTER OF ARTS 

FACULTY OF ARTS AND SCIENCE 
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY 

BY 

RAYMOND ANGUS MACLEAN 
MULGRAVE, NOVA SCOTIA 


MAY, 195S 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2018 with funding from 
University of Alberta Libraries 


https://archive.org/details/historyofromanca00macl_0 


i 



ABBREVIATIONS 

O.M.I. 

Oblate of Mary Immaculate 

C.Ss.R. 

Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer 

O.F.M. 

Order of Friars Minor 

D.D. 

Doctor of Divinity 

D.P. 

Domestic Prelate 

P.P. 

Parish Priest 

S.D.B. 

Salesians of St, John Bosco 

F.C.J. 

Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus 

S.G.M. 

Soeurs Grises de Montreal - Grey Nuns of Montreal 

J.C.D. 

Juris Canonicis Doctor - Doctor of Canon Law 

S.A. 

Sisters of the Atonement 

F.S.C. 

Brothers of the Christian Schools 





. 

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11 


MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS 


Pages 


Map of the Missionary Areas 16 
First Cathedral at St. Albert 32 
Old Seminary at St. Albert 33 



iii 


TABLE OF CONTENTS 


Chapters 

I Introduction 

II Lac Ste. Anne - St. Albert 
III Parishes Established By The Oblates 

of Mary Immaculate 

IV Parishes Established Since 1920 
V Archbishops and Bishops 
VI Separate Schools 

VII Religious Orders and Institutions 

VIII Roman Catholic Organizations 
IX Conclusion 


Appendix A 
Appendix B 
Appendix C 
Bibliography 


Pages 

1-16 
17 - 33 

34 - 53 
59 - 32 
33 - 93 
99 - 109 
110 - 131 
132 - 141 

142 - 147 

143 - 149 
150 - 157 
153 - 161 
162 - 166 






- 


- 










iv 

Preface 

The history of the Roman Catholic Church in Edmonton is primarily 
a story of steady growth and expansion. With the increase in the 
number of Roman Catholics there has been a corresponding increase in 
the number of Roman Catholic institutions and organizations. With 
the exception of institutions for higher education,, or education at 
the university level, Roman Catholics here have every opportunity 
to be educated in an atmosphere of their own design. They also have 
ample opportunity to exercise a good influence in the spiritual 
field and through welfare agencies. The growth of the Roman Catholic 
Church here was not always an easy one. Many of the advantages 
enjoyed today were won at the cost of much hardship on the part of 
the early missionaries. 

The second most significant feature of Roman Catholicism in 
this city has been the blending of various racial groups and cultures. 
Among Roman Catholics the two major racial groups were the French and 
the English. All during the missionary period the French were in the 
majority and were served by their own priests. As settlement increased 
and more English-speaking people came to live here, the need for 
English-speaking priests increased. It was Archbishop O’Leary who 
dealt successfully with this problem. The culture of both groups has 
been maintained and allowed to develop*though the term English-speaking 
Catholic embraces people of many nationalities. 

Sincere thanks is expressed by the author to Father Doyle, Arch¬ 
diocesan Chancellor, without whose co-operation this work could not 
have been completed; to Fathers Breton and Serrurot, O.M.I., for the 




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use of archives material on the early Oblate missionaries; to 
Father Alexis Tetreault, O.M.I., of Battleford, Saskatchewan, for 
permission to use his notes on St. Albert; to Sister Le'onie Ferland, 
s.g.gu, archivist for the Grey Nuns at the Youville Convent in St. 
Albert, for permission to make photostatic copies of necessary 
material on the Grey Nuns and Lac Ste. Anne; to all the Superiors 
of the various religious institutions in the city and to those 
parish priests who completed and sent in questionnaires sent to 
them requesting information; to Mr. Maurice Lavallee for proofreading 
my French correspondence; to Miss Elizabeth Filipkowski for proof¬ 
reading my material; and finally, to all of those others who assisted 
in any way in giving information and direction. 


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VI 


IMPORTANT EVENTS 

IN THE 


HISTORY OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN 

EDMONTON 1838-1960 


I? 30 
1850 

1850 

1870 

1870 

1890 

1890 

1910 

1 910 
1930 

193 0 
1950 

1950 

_ 

I960 

■ 


_ Fathers Blanchet and Demers - first missionaries here - 1838 

— Arrival of Father Thibeault - 1842 

— Mission established at Lac Ste. Anne - 1843 

— Arrival of Father Bourassa - 1844, Father DeSmet, S.J., - 1846 


— Father Lacombe comes to Fort Edmonton - 1852 

— First Oblate priest, Father Remas, O.M.I. - 1853 

— Chapel built in Fort Edmonton - 1859, school opened - 1862 

— Mission at St. Albert - 1861, Bishop Grandin - 1868 

— St. Albert named the centre of a new diocese - 1871 

— Boys’ College, Bishop’s Palace, hospital - completed at St. Albert 

— First resident pastor in Edmonton - 1883 

— First separate school in Edmonton - 1888 


— Ordination of first native Albertan to priesthood - 1890 

— Death of Bishop Grandin - Bishop Legal succeeds him in 1902 

— Opening of General and Misericordia hospitals - 1895 - 1905 

— Establishment of several new city parishes 


— Seat of diocese moved to Edmonton - 1912 

— Death of Archbishop Legal - 1920 

— Installation of Archbishop O’Leary 

— Steady expansion in number of Catholic institutions 


— Depression period - expansion slowed 

— Archbishop MacDonald succeeds Archbishop O’Leary - 1938 

— Large number of local clergy enlist for military service 

— Period of steady and rapid growth 


— Expansion continues - new churches and schools 

— New seminary - Archbishop Jordan, O.M.I., named coadjutor 


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CONSOLIDATION — EX PAN 51 ON 










































1 


THE HISTORY OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN EDMONTON 

CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTION 

Many Canadians today consider Edmonton as a city built on the 
oil industry and point to the fact that the discovery of rich oil 
deposits at Leduc, Redwater and Woodbend were the factors which 
touched off the tremendous growth experienced here since 1947* 
Others will agree to this but point out that Edmonton was destined 
to prosper anyway because of its location as the centre of a rich 
agricultural hinterland. They argue that Edmonton is one of the 
best farming areas in Canada, an area blessed with rich soil, 
sufficient rainfall and long hours of summer sun, all of which 
combine to produce large quantities of agricultural riches. There 
are also those who maintain that Edmonton’s ultimate prosperity 
will be in the chemical field because of the area's deposits of 
coal and natural gas. During World War II, and in the years 
following, another claim for Edmonton has been put forward and it 
is aptly described in the slogans, ”The Gateway to the North,” and 
"The Crossroads of the World.” There is no reason for anyone to 
doubt that Edmonton will become one of Canada's greatest cities* 

Its strategic position in relation to the North West Territories, 
Alaska and the Canadian Northwest, coupled with its location as 
the centre of a rich agricultural and industrial area, would appear 
to assure the most dubious that this city is bound to become one of 
Canada's greatest® 

This generation of Canadians is not putting forth any original 


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idea in stating that Edmonton is bound, or compelled, to grow and 
prosper. This area was selected over many others because of factors 
which were evident to the earliest explorers in this region. The 
Saskatchewan River gave a natural transportation route; it could be 
easily reached from the plains to the south and east without the 
necessity of hazardous treks over mountainous bush country and 
dangerous waterways; it was far enough removed from the major battle¬ 
grounds of warring Indian tribes but close enough to engage the aid 
of the Indian in the acquisition of fur, the first of the riches of 
Edmonton. 

Since 1812, Edmonton has had a permanent population. Prior to 
that date, the fort built here by the Hudson 1 s Bay Company in 1802, 
had been abandoned in 1810 and rebuilt in 1812* From 1795 until 
1821 the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company had been 
engaged in a trading war in this region and throughout the entire 
northwest. Both Companies were fighting to establish exclusive 
control over the richest fur centres of the territory. In 1821, 
because of the superior strength and riches of the Hudson’s Bay 
Company, the Companies amalgamated under the name of the Hudson’s 
Bay Company. Even at that time Fort Edmonton was recognized as a 
strategic site. As far as the fur trade was concerned, and that 
was the prime concern in chosing the location, it was the hub for 
many of the more important fur trading areas. The Plains Indians 
lived to the south and west, and the Woods Crees lived to the north 
of the fort* Both groups could be relied upon to bring furs to 
Fort Edmonton for it was the most convenient centre for them. In 
addition, millions of buffalo roamed the prairies to the south and 


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east. The buffalo not only supplied food and other necessities such 
as robes and leather, but their route often determined the location 
of the Plains Indians who depended upon the buffalo to a very great 
extent. If one chose to travel north from Edmonton he could go to 
Fort Assiniboine and down the Athabasca to the MacKenzie River; 
to the west lay the fort at Rocky Mountain House, those who went to 
the west coast would portage to the Athabasca at Fort Assiniboine. 
Therefore, the early traders and explorers seemed to have considered 
all of the factors before selecting this area in which to build a 
fur trading post. Their records describe this territory as being 
rich and plentiful, and having an abundance of.fur beariftg 
animals. 

The land adjacent to the fort could be described as rolling 
prairie, with wooded areas to the north and plains to the south. 

It has considerably more variety in contour than do the prairie 
lands further south and east. To the north of the North Saskatchewan 
River lived the Woods Crees, one of the major Indian groups, and one 
of the first to establish friendly trading relations with the white 
fur seeker. They usually built their encampments along the streams 
and rivers of the wooded areas for these supplied ideal trapping 
areas, especially for beaver and muskrat. The Woods Crees would spend 
the late autumn and the winter months in hunting and trapping. After 
the deep snows of winter had been melted or rained away, the Crees 
would take their furs to the post at Fort Edmonton. After exchanging 
their furs for the goods they desired they usually remained in the 
vicinity of the fort for a few days and engaged in whatever form of 
social entertainment was being provided. Sometimes Indians of various 


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tribes managed to secure some liquor and would then busy themselves 
in war dances or fighting. Quite often, killings occurred. It is 
to the credit of the Hudson’s Bay Company that it discouraged the 
sale or trade of liquor to the Indians. Experience had shown the 
officials of the Company that the issue of ”firewater” to the 
Indians had disastrous results. The Hudson’s Bay Company had 
followed this policy since its early years in the northwest. 

South and west of Fort Edmonton lay the territory of the 
Blackfeet Indians. The Blackfeet were proud, fierce and warlike, 
and proved much more difficult to the later missionaries to convert 
to Christianity than the Crees. Moreover, the Crees were the hated 
enemy of the Blackfeet and both groups often engaged in skirmishes 
even around Fort Edmonton. Officials at the fort were always wary 
when members of both tribes happened to meet there. They feared 
bloodshed and their fears were justified on several occasions, 
particularly if one group outnumbered the other. Both the Blackfeet 
and Crees traded here, and although they had skirmishes in this 
vicinity, their major battles were usually fought further south. The 
Plains Crees lived in the territory south and southeast of Fort 
Edmonton,as did the Blackfeet, so their major wars were fought in that 
territory. The Blackfeet were noted fighters and hunters and it was 
to them that the early missionaries referred to as the ’’noble red-man.” 
With the coming of large numbers of white traders to this territory, 
and with the consequent diseases and the degrading use made of liquor 
by the white man, the ’’noble red-man” was soon reduced to a pathetic 
shadow of his former greatness. Gradually forced to accept the 
dictates of a stronger power he lost his self-respect and became more 


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and more dependent upon the society of the white man. 

From 1821 until the late years of the nineteenth century, 
the Hudson’s Bay Company dominated the entire economic life of the 
Canadian west. It not only controlled the economic life but also 
supplied the only form of government kno\m in the west for many 
years. The chief factors and chief traders were often veritable 
dictators in their respective domains. Generally speaking, they 
made good use of their authority but the Company itself was slow 
to realize that it could not continue to exercise a monopoly on 
such a vast region. It was slow to give encouragement to settlers, 
which was natural enough in itself; and it was also slow in allowing 
the missionaries to work in its domain. Knowing that increasing 
settlement meant a decrease in fur trading areas, the Company for 
many years pursued a policy designed to keep settlers out. Some 
of the early settlers jokingly referred to the H.B.C. of the 
Hudson’s Bay Company as meaning ’’Here before Christ.” At least, 
that was the impression given by some of the Company’s employees. 

The Company exercised control over the immense territory west of 
the Great Lakes and north to the Arctic Ocean. It controlled not 
only the fur trade but all hunting and fishing rights. Since Fort 
Edmonton was one of the more important posts maintained by the 
Company the type of control or government exercised here by the 
various Chief Factors may be taken as indicative of that exercised 
throughout the rest of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s domain. 

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quadrangle of about 150 feet by 125 feet and was surrounded by a 
twenty foot palisade. Guards could easily keep watch from an elevated 



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platform which ran along the entire inside of the fort. In 1838 
there were approximately 150 people living at the fort. The 
dominant personality there was the Chief Factor, John Eowand. A 
Catholic of Irish extraction, Rowand had married a Metis woman. 

His children spoke only Cree for many years. Rowand was noted for 
his quick temper and courageous heart. One story is told of a 
temper demonstration which occurred at some company banquet. 

During the course of the banquet somebody was supposed to have made 
a remark slighting the Pope. Rowand jumped to his feet in anger 
and hurled a bowl of soup at the gentleman who made the remark and 
announced that nobody was going to insult the Pope in his presence. 
Somebody later remarked that if Rowand did not know how to kneel 
for his Church,at least he knew how to stand for it. This was 
probably prompted by the knowledge that Rowand and some of the 
missionaries sometimes clashed over methods of working with the 
Indians. Generally, Rowand gave considerable help to them and when 
Father Lacombe arrived in 1852 Rowand assigned to him a small site 
within the fort for his work. Previous to Father Lacombe 1 s arrival 
other missionaries were also given accommodation at Fort Edmonton. 

It was fortunate that the early missionaries here were accorded 
some hospitality at the fort because they had a sufficient number of 
other hardships and obstacles to overcome. Even though they were 
given lodgings and help at Fort Edmonton it was the policy of the 
Hudson 1 s Bay Company to discourage the efforts of the early 
missionaries for the Company felt that Christianity would bring 
civilization which in turn would mean the end of the rich fur trade. 
The missionaries also had to teach and preach against the practices 


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7 


of many of their would-be converts. Some of the religious superstitions 
held by the. Indians were most difficult to uproot and even many of 
those converted to Christianity, or at least baptized, continued to 
follow their old pagan rituals. Then there was the actual living 
with the Indian, and remaining with them long enough to pass on some 
of the rudiments of Christianity; the personal habits of the Indian, 
and the temporary adoption of what appeared to the missionary of a 
barbaric culture; these factors had to be considered by those sent 
here to spend their lives as missionaries. When one considers that 
these missionaries spent much of their time in the midst of filth 
and hunger and in watching the practice of witchcraft and pagan 
ceremonies, one must wonder at their ingenuity in explaining such 
mysteries as the Trinity or in teaching the meaning of the Sacraments. 
They were subjected at all times to unremitting toil, fatigue, travel 
and privations of many descriptions. Their long journeys over dry 
prairie and virgin wilderness, over endless snows and icy wastes, 
were enough to test the mettle of the strongest of men. 

The monotonous diet of fish and pemmican, the constant lack of 
privacy, the many disappointments incurred in trying to instill the 
teachings of Christianity; all of these w ere experienced in full 
measure by those men who had offered to spend their very lives in 
trying to win converts to Christ. Canada indeed owes much to those 
men for they aided immeasurably in speeding the advance of civiliza¬ 
tion in the Canadian northwest. 

In 1838 all ecclesiastical rule in Western Canada emanated from 
Quebec, through St. Boniface. Bishop Provencher of St. Boniface was 
coadjutor to the Archbishop of Quebec and it was he who sent the fist 




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8 


permanent missionary to this area in 1842^ That missionary was Jean 
Baptiste Thibeault, born on December 14, 1810, at St. Joseph of Levis, 
Quebec. He had arrived at St. Boniface in 1833 and was ordained there 
on September 8, 1833 

Though Father Thibeault was the first permanent missionary in 
this area, he was not the first Catholic priest to visit Fort Edmonton. 
The first Catholic missionary arrived here on-September 6, 183£»y 
On that day Reverend Francis Blanchet and Reverend Modeste Demers 
stopped at Fort Edmonton or Fort of the Prairies for a visit while on 
their way to the Pacific coast. Father Blanchet was later to become 
the first Bishop of Oregon City in 1846 and Father Demers was conse¬ 
crated as the first Bishop of Vancouver Island, now the Diocese of 
Victoria, on November 30, 1847* While remaining here until September 10, 
1838, the two priests baptized thirty-four children, five adults, and 

blessed three marriages. Those baptized by the two priests were the 

4 

first people to receive Baptism in what was to become the Province of 
Alberta. The Mass offered during this visit was the first Mass ever 
said in Alberta. In addition to baptizing-, saying Mass, and blessing 
marriages. Fathers Blanchet and Demers gave instructions* On the day 
of their departure they planted a large cross on the hill close to 
the fort. It is claimed that the cross was planted on the site now 
occupied by our Parliament Building. Many early missionaries followed 
this custom of planting a cross at their posts of endeavour, whether 
they remained at the post for any great period or not, in order to 
symbolize the possession of the territory as Christian. 

The two priests sent back good reports on this area to Bishop 
Provencher in St. Boniface. They spoke of the desires of the inhabitants 


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and of the half-breeds and Indians for a permanent missionary* In 
1841 a, half-breed named Piche went to St. Boniface in order to 
petition for a permanent missionary. Many of those working and 
trading at the fort were French Catholics and they wanted a priest. 

The officials of the Hudson 1 s Bay Company gave their reluctant 
permission. Presented with those arguments, and by the earnest 
request of Piche, Bishop Provencher in 1842 dispatched Father Jean 
Baptiste Thibeault to Fort Edmonton. 

Father Thibeault left St. Boniface on April 20, and spent some 

time at Frog Lake before arriving at Fort Edmonton on June 19, 1842.„ 

? 

After he met the half-breed Pich£, as was arranged beforehand, he 
spent the summer visiting Forts Edmonton, Ellis, Carleton and Pitt. 
Altogether he administered 353 baptisms, performed twenty marriages, 
and instructed four people on the reception of their first communion. 

He returned to St. Boniface on the 20th of October. 

6 

In 1843 a request was signed and sent to the Governor of the 
Hudson's Bay Company by the half-breeds and Indians, asking the 
Company to ease restrictions on newcomers and to allow a permanent 
missionary to come among them. Father Thibeault re-visited Edmonton 
in 1843 but established a permanent mission by a lake which early 
travellers had called Devil's Lake, He named this mission Lac Ste. 

Anne. Another reason which prompted his moving to that area was the 
personality of chief factor Rowand at Fort Edmonton. Father Thibeault, 
a timid and sensitive person, did not care for the loud and boisterous 
manner sometimes adopted by Rowand, and he felt that he could accomplish 
more by being away from the fort. However, the main reason in moving 
was to escape the many battles and skirmishes being fought by the Crees 


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and Blackfeet in the vicinity. 

At Lac Ste. Anne, the first Roman Catholic parish in Alberta, 

Father Thibeault built a small dwelling and chapel* He was joined 

in 184/^ by Father Joseph Bourassa. From there, the two missionaries 

served Lesser Slave Lake, Grande Prairie, Isle a la Crosse, Edmonton, 

Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, Jackfish Lake and Fort Pitig, Until 1861 

Edmonton was a mission of Lac Ste. Anne. A chapel and small residence 

had been built inside the fort in 1859. being rushed to completion 

9 

on Christmas Eve of that year* After 1861 the chapel in the fort 

was served from St. Albert. Fathers Thibeault and Bourassa both 

remained at Lac Ste. Anne, using it as their base of operations, 

for nine years. During those nine years both men travelled long 

distances in all types of weather, sustained themselves on a meagre 

and tasteless diet of fish, pemmican,and the occasional bit of fresh 

meat. Living and working under the most primitive of conditions took 

its toll on the two men. In 1852 Father Thibeault returned to St. 

Boniface, exhausted by his missionary efforts. Father Bourassa 

returned in 1853o While working from Lac Ste. Anne they had raised 

the number of Catholics in their missions to over 2,000* 

’ 10 

One of the most significant events during their stay in the area 
was the visit of another missionary to Fort Edmonton. He was Reverend 
Pierre Jean De Smet, S.J., who came from Rocky Mountain House in a 
fruitless attempt to meet with the savage Blackfeet*^ The Blackfeet 
were constantly raiding the Flathead Indians of the American northwest, 
among whom Father De Smet was doing successful missionary work. He had 
no luck in making peace with the Blackfeet for he was unable to make 
contact with any representative group. Having arrived at Fort Edmonton 



11 


on December 31, 1345^ 0 he remained here throughout the winter. Part 
of his time was spent in catechizing the young half-breed children 
around the fort. Father Thibeault, on one of his journeys from 
Lac Ste, Anne, met Father De Smet at the fort on January 3, 1346, 

Father De Smet left Fort Edmonton on the twelfth of March, 1346, for 

13 

Fort Assiniboine and Jasper House before returning to his southern 
mission. 

Following the departure of Father Thibeault from Lac Ste, Anne 
in 1352, Bishop Provencher was faced with the problem of finding a 
successor. Father Bourassa was to return to St, Boniface in 1353; 
both he and Father Thibeault having been worn out by excessive labor 
and hardships. Early in May, 1353, a young volunteer missionary had 
arrived at St, Boniface in the company of Bishop Tache, coadjutor to 
Bishop Provencher, This young missionary had previously worked at 
Pembina but had returned home and was serving as a curate at Berthier, 
near Montreal, He met Bishop Tache in Sorel, Quebec, and after having 
talked to him concerning the western missions, he resolved, with his 
Bishop's permission, to return to the West, this time as an Oblate, 
This young man was none other than Reverend Albert Lacorabe, who 
came to this region as Father Thibeault f s accredited successor, and 
who remained to become the most picturesque figure of his time in the 
Canadian Northwest, 

It is not our intention here to dwell on the work of Father 

Lacombe, That has been admirably done by those much better qualified 

to do so. However, we shall give a brief background of his career up 
14 

to 1352, His name will appear often throughout the rest of this 
narrative for he played a vital role in the history of Catholicism in 




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Edmonton* 

Father Lacombe was born on February 27, 1827, at St* Sulpice, 
in the Diocese of Montreal, Quebec* In 1840 he entered L*Assumption 
College and in 1847 continued his theological studies at the Bishop*s 
Palace in Montreal. Ordained to the priesthood at St. Hyacinthe on 
July 13, 1849, he left for Red River on August 1, 1849* From his 
arrival in Western Canada in 1849 until October of 1851, he worked 
mainly at Pembina with Father Belcourt. Returning to Quebec in 1851, 
he served as curate at Berthier, near Montreal, until he again 
departed for Western Canada^ 

It is interesting to note that Father Lacombe was not an Oblate 
when he first came to Edmonton in 1852* The early missionaries here. 
Fathers Blanchet, Demers, Thibeault and Bourassa, were all secular 
priests. Father De Smet was a Jesuit* The first Oblate priest in 
this area was Father Remas who came to Lac Ste. Anne in 1853* However, 
it was Father Lacombe*s hope before leaving Eastern Canada to become 
a member of the Oblates, for he felt that he could do his best work 
as a member of a missionary group. 

On September 17, 1852, Father Lacombe first arrived at Fort 

16 

Edmonton. He had sailed from Red River on one of the boats belonging 
to the Hudson* s Bay Company. At the fort he was welcomed by Rowand*s 
family and given quarters during his stay there. Remaining at the 
fort for a few days, he then left for Lac La Biche where he gave the 
first of many sermons to the Crees* Although he had spent some time 
in studying Indian dialects while in Pembina, he had as yet only a 
limited knowledge of Cree. Therefore, during the winter of 1852-1853 
he stayed at Fort Edmonton to study the language. He was taught by 


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Colin Fraser, one of the employees at the fort. While studying at 
the fort Father Lacombe also ministered to Catholics living there. 

In the spring of 1853, Father Lacombe, who had replaced Father 
Bourassa, was joined by Father Remas, and for the next five years, 
using Lac Ste. Anne as their base, they served together or separately. 
Fort Edmonton, Lac La Biche, Lesser Slave Lake, Fort Dunvegan, Fort 
Jasper, and Peace River^ 

An important visitor who arrived on March 23, I854^was Bishop 
A. Tache, of St. Boniface. He had been made coadjutor to Bishop 
Provencher on June 23, 1850, became Bishop of the vast Northwest 
upon the death of Bishop Provencher on June 7, 1853, and was to be 
the guide of Roman Catholicism in this area until 1868 when Bishop 
Grandin became Bishop of what is now Northern Saskatchewan, Alberta, 
and the North West Territories. At Fort Edmonton, Bishop Tache 
confirmed seventeen persons. From here he went to Lac Ste. Anne where 
he baptized twenty-two adults and confirmed ninety-eight. Although 

19 

no chapel was built in the fort until 1859, it was during this first 
visit of Bishop Tache that he and Father Lacombe gave the name of 
St. Joachim to the mission. This visit by Bishop Tache in 1854 was 
the first by a Roman Catholic bishop to Alberta. He was to visit the 
district again in i860 and 1864® 

As mentioned. Fathers Lacombe and Remas worked from Lac Ste. Anne 
from 1853 onward. It was in that year that the great missionary work 
of the Oblates began in this region. In 1855 Father Lacombe began 
his novitiate prior to becoming an Oblate. He became a member of 
that Order on September 28, 1856, under his immediate superior. Father 
Remas. The simple ceremony took place in the chapel at Lac Ste, Anne® 




14 


As far as the influence of the first missionaries on the Indians 
was concerned, we know that they and the Indians made many adjustments 
before many of the teachings of Christianity were accepted. Naturally 
enough, many of the beliefs taught by the missionaries clashed with 
those held by the Indians. Always, as a result of this impact, the 
beliefs of the Indian were discarded or made to fit those of the 
Christian. The early settlers and traders ridiculed many of the 
Indian beliefs and laughed at regulations that had been observed for 
centuries. The Indian resented this but there was nothing he could 
do about it. Gradually, he was forced to submit to the norms of a 
stronger society and he had to adjust his religious beliefs to meet 
changing conditions. Whether or not he adopted Christianity from 
conviction or self-interest he more or less had to adopt it. Those 
who adhered to the old beliefs, socially or religiously, were left 
behind in the competition with those Indians who adopted the ways 
and beliefs of the white man. Except where they bear a likeness or 
resemblance to Christian teachings the old beliefs have not survived. 

Sometimes, in a situation of that sort, they are clung to tenaciously* 
One belief in which they had to make adjustments was that of monotheism. 
All Indian tribes had a ”sky-god” of some description. Some gave this 
god credit for having infinite power but did not emphasize his moral 
nature; others ranked him as an equal with other supernatural beings. 
This particular clash with Christian teachings resulted in the 
Indians being purified of their notions in this respect. The list 
could be made longer but this point serves to illustrate the hardships 
and difficulties encountered by the early missionaries, who not only 
worked to make converts to Christianity, but who also strove to change 





15 


a primitive culture and to help prepare the way for an entirely 
different mode of life. 

The early missionaries to this area accomplished notable feats. 
Following closely behind the fur traders, they planted the seeds of 
Christianity in a pagan and primitive culture. The teachings which 
they instilled bore fruit and because of that the civilizing process in 
the Canadian Northwest had been considerably quickened. By 1660 the 
foundations for the work of the Roman Catholic Church had been laid in 
the Canadian Northwest. Problems still remained to be faced, but these 
early missionaries, by their tireless devotion, had ensured that they 
could be faced with confidence. 


1. Bishop Provencher, Melanges Religieux, from '’Notice Sur La Riviere 
Rouge Dans Le Territoire De La Baie D f Hudson.” (Bishop Provencher 
was coadjutor to the Archbishop of Quebec, but did not have the 
right of succession.) 

2. Morice, Rev. A.G., O.M.I., History of the Catholic Church in 
Western Canada , vol. I, pp. 146-147. 

3q Le Chevalier, Rev. Jules, F&tes des Pionniers . (A copy may 

be seen in the archives of St. Joachim’s Parish.) 

4* Morice, op. cit. . pp. 166-170. 

5. Legal, Most. Rev. E., O.M.I., History of the Catholic Church in 
Alberta , p. 10. 

6. Tachi, Most.,Rev. E., O.M.I., Vingt Annees de Missions, p. 126. 

7. Legal, op. cit. . p. 10. 

6. TachS, op. cit. . p. 126. 

9. Hudson’s Bay Archives relating to Fort Edmonton in 1859> London, 
England. (A copy is in the possession of Reverend P. E. Breton, 
O.M.I., 9916 - 110 Street, Edmonton.) 

10. Legal, op. cit. , p. 13. 

11. Magaret, Helene, Father De Smet . p. 163. 

12. Ibid. . p, I 64 . 

13 0 Magaret, op. cit. . p. 163. 

14. Hughes, Katherine, Father Lacombe. The Black Robe Voyageur . 

15. Ibid. , p. 37« 

16. Lacogibe, Rev. A., O.M.I., ^Notice Historique sur les missions de 
Lac Ste-Anne, St-Joachim et de St-Albert,” p* 7. (These notes 
were written in 1663 and may be seen in the archives of the Oblate 
Fathers, 9916 - 110 Street, Edmonton.) 

17. Legal, op. cit. . pp. 1-15. 

18. Lacombe, op. cit. . p. 6. 

19. Diary of Father Lacombe, Archives of the Oblate Fathers, 

9916 - 110 Street, Edmonton. 


















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16 



PRESENT DAY ALBERTA, SHOWING THE MISSIONARY AREAS. 














17 


CHAPTER II 

LAC STE. ANNE - ST. ALBERT 

Bishop Tache had gone to Montreal in 1857 in order to negotiate 
with the Motherhouse in Montreal concerning the delegation of some 
Sisters to St. Boniface. He spoke to the Superior in charge of such 
a project. Mother Deschamps. It was agreed that some Sisters would 
go from Montreal to St. Boniface, and from there to the missions. 

On September 17> 1858, Reverend Mother Valade, who had come to 
Montreal in order to help in the matter, returned to St. Boniface 
with six new recruits. Three of them were for the House in St. 
Boniface. The other three were for the founding of a House at 
lie a la Crosse, which Bishop Tache hoped to establish in 1859. 

The trip from Montreal had taken thirty-three days and had given the 
Sisters an indication of the hardships they would undergo 

Sisters Emery, Laray, and Alphonse waited at the mission with 
the expectation of being sent to lie a la Crosse. However, Bishop 
Tache, seeing more pressing needs elsewhere, began to modify his 
plans for a new foundation, and decided to send them to the settlement 
at Lac Ste. Anne. In order to send them there, permission had to be 
secured from Reverend Mother Deschamps in Montreal. She gave the 
required consent but proposed two conditions which she felt necessary. 
The first concerned the number of Sisters to go; it was the rule of 
their constitution that three must be sent together to any distant 
mission. Secondly, she wanted assurance that there were at least two 
priests at Lac Ste. Anne. She feared that if only Father Lacombe 
were there, the Sisters would be alone too much, for he was so often 
out working with his beloved Indians. Both these conditions were met 


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and on the third of August, 1859,£ the Sisters made their sad but 
courageous departure from the Red River Colony. Travelling in a caravan 
of horse-drawn carts, the Sisters made the trip to Lac Ste. Anne in 
fifty-two days. During its course the Sisters were faced with considerable 
hardships from rain, scorching sun, flooded rivers, and monotony. They 
were accompanied by Father Remas, O.M.I., who had come from Lac Ste. Anne 
at the insistence of Father Lacombe, O.M.I. They arrived at their 
destination on September 24, 1859. Here is Father Lacombe's description 
of their arrival: 

f, In the springtime of 1859, Father Remas went to 
Red River from which he returned the same year, 
accompanying three Sisters of Charity, the Sisters 
Emery, Lamy and Alphonse, who had left Montreal the 
preceding year, and having passed the winter at Red 
River, came to consecrate their existence in the 
distant missions, in order to aid the Fathers and to 
be the mothers of all the poor miserable ones, the 
Metis or savages. 

On the 24th of September they arrived at Lac Ste. Anne 
and we are able to say that their arrival was a day of 
consolation for the missionaries and the whole population. 

From the beginning, they began their work of charity in 
conducting a school for children, caring for sick ones, and 
in taking care of the linens and vestments of our chapel.y 1 
The three Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns of Montreal) remained 
at Lac Ste. Anne until March 23, 1863. They taught school for the 
half-breed and Indian children and looked after the chapel for the 


V 





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19 


Fathers. Their efforts in school teaching did not meet with the 
hoped for success. The Indians, not understanding the need or 
meaning of education, often took their children on hunting or 
fishing trips for weeks at a time. The Sisters, upon their arrival, 
were also faced with the necessity of learning Cree. In a letter to 
Mother Deschamps in Montreal, Sister Emery said: 

“It is absolutely necessary here, if we wish to do 
good, to learn well the Cree tongue. Father Lacombe, 
who is the first at the mission, has patience in giving 
us every day, an hour’s class in this tongue. Sisters 
Lamy and Alphonse learn with more ease than I do. There 
would be very much more to do here if we could learn this 
language .£ 

In the same letter Sister Emery also gives a description of 
the chapel built by Father Thibeault in 1843* 

“ “It is very poor, but also pretty. Its size, which 
was at one time sufficient for the mission, no longer suf¬ 
fices. When everybody is assisting at services many are 
obliged to remain outdoors. This chapel is approximately 
fifty feet in length......The sanctuary is very small and 

serves at the same time as a sacristy.The back is 

papered in different colors. A large curtain of red wool 
separates the nave from the sanctuary. Near the altar rail 
is suspended a magnificent lamp of wood made by Father Lacombe; 
it is painted in yellow* A little lower, one finds a lamp 
holding several lights, it is also of wood and the crystals are 




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20 


made from little pieces of white iron. For the diamonds and 
chains, .there are all sorts of little birds’ eggs, gray, 
white and yellow. ’’ 

When the Sisters arrived in September of 1859 they were given the 
house of the priests. Fathers Lacombe and Remas moved to a small 
cabin. Father LeFrain also worked at Lac Ste. Anne during this 
period but had to retire because of poor health. The house 
contained several rooms, one of which was used as a classroom. 

Upon the opening of the first class on October 10, 1859, there 
were forty-two children, among whom were some girls over twenty 
years of age. As can be imagined, the difficulties of imparting 
knowledge under such a language barrier were tremendous. Many of 
the first days in school were spent in teaching the children to 
sing, especially the parts of the Mass. The Sisters, realizing 
the semi-civilized state of their pupils, were quick to commend 
them for their excellent progress and piety in singing. Otherwise, 
it was always a struggle to teach. Eventually the Sisters acquired 
a working knowledge of the Cree language which they put to good use 
both at Lac Ste. Anne and St. Albert. Their work at Lac Ste. Anne 
continued until March of 1863 when they moved to St. Albert. 

The biggest single reason for the abandonment of the settlement 
at Lac Ste. Anne was the unsuitability of the surrounding area for 
organized farming. In places the land was dotted with muskeg or was 
hilly and covered with bush. There is no doubt that progress had 
been made since Father Thibeault’s arrival in 1843* The site had 
been chosen because there was a bounteous lake and it was far from 
the tribal wars of the Indians. The nomadic wanderings of some of 


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21 


the Indians and half breeds had been curtailed and they were given 
a start on a ‘life more or less on a community-like basis. 

Bishop Tach6 and Father Lacombe decided that more good could 
be accomplished by the Sisters at St. Albert than at Lac Ste. Anne. 
Consequently, in March of 1863> they moved to continue and expand 
on the work begun at Lac Ste. Anne. St. Albert, founded by Bishop 
Tach^ and Father Lacombe on January 14, 1861, was making considerable 
progress. Bishop Tach^ had spent some time in December of I860 with 
Father Lacombe at Lac Ste. Anne and had been quite impressed by the 
progress made there. St. Albert, however, was more central, was 
closer to Fort Edmonton, and had better farming land. Father 
Lacombe thought of it as a great mission centre where the Metis 
could be shown sound farming methods and the Indians could be 
instructed in religion and encouraged to settle. Some half breeds 
settled there and sent their children to school where they were 
taught by the Grey Nuns. The new settlement did much to quell the 
wandering spirit of many half breeds and kept them friendly in 
times of danger. 

When Father Lacombe left Lac Ste. Anne for his new mission at 
St. Albert in April of 1861, he brought with him Michel Normand 
and his wife. Rose. Normand was a French-speaking Metis who had 
come to Lac Ste. Anne from St. Boniface with Father Lacombe. They 
took some horses, oxen, and farm implements from Lac Ste. Anne to 
St. Albert. Thus began the mission of St. Albert and the decline 
of the mission at Lac Ste. Anne. With the departure of the Grey 
Nuns for St. Albert in 1863, the mission was practically deserted. 


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The Church there had resident pastors for many years afterwards 
but its important connection with Edmonton ceased in 1861. 

Lac Ste. Anne had served its purpose well. It was the first 
Roman Catholic mission in Alberta and had opened the first regular 
school in this province. From there. Fort Edmonton was served by 
the missionaries. After the arrival of Father Lacombe in 1852 the 
visits to the fort were quite regular. Since 1843 it had served 
as a mission centre for much of northern and central Alberta. 
Fathers Thibeault and Bourassa, along with the Oblate Fathers, 
Lacombe, Remas and LeFrain, had all worked from Lac Ste. Anne. A 
school and chapel had been erected; children had been taught and 
many were christianized. 

Since 1843, Fort Edmonton had been a mission of Lac Ste. Anne. 
From 1861 until 1883, the time of the first resident pastor here, 
Edmonton was served from St. Albert. 

The primary purpose of the St. Albert mission was to foster 
the spiritual, moral and material development of the many Metis 
families. These people, many of whom were former employees of 
the Hudson*s Bay Company, were not prepared to meet the changing 
economy of the Canadian northwest. Although the fur trade was to 
continue on a big scale for many years to come there were already 
signs that the nomadic way of life, that of gaining a livelihood 
solely by hunting and fishing, was on the wane. The buffalo were 
becoming fewer and the hunting and fishing grounds were beginning 
to be invaded by white settlers. We shall trace the story of 
St. Albert mainly insofar as it is connected with Edmonton. 


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23 


The first chapel there was built in 1861 under the direction 
and work of Father Lacombe. In 1862 a dwelling was built for him 
and small houses were built along the Sturgeon for the twenty Metis 
families who had come from Lac Ste. Anne and elsewhere. The first 
bridge in the West was built across the Sturgeon in 1862. During 
that year Father Lacombe, to avoid paying the high freight rates 
of the Hudson^ Bay Company, organized a train of thirty oxen carts 
to obtain necessary supplies for his new mission and made a journey 
to St. Boniface. Father Caer, replaced him at St. Albert. 

The trip was made in one month each way. On that trip Father Lacombe 
purchased a grist mill, which, when set up in St. Albert, was operated 
by horse power and sometimes by the slower moving oxen. On the return 
trip he was accompanied by Brother Scollen who was sent by Archbishop 
Tache to open an English school at St. Joachim. Of the school Father 
Lacombe says: “Brother Scollen started his school at Edmonton in the 
autumn and since he continues he is succeeding very well with our 
little Metis. 11 ^ 

In 1863 work was started on a two-story convent and orphanage 
for the Grey Nuns who came from Lac Ste. Anne in March of 1863. 

Until it was completed in September of 1864, they lived in the house 
of Father Lacombe. In 1864 this tireless man was engaged in building 
a dam on the Sturgeon to supply water power for a new grist mill which 
he brought in from the United States. By the end of 1864 there were 
approximately 300 people living in St. Albert; it was a thriving 
mission. Father Lacombe received permission in 1865 to return to his 
beloved Indians. 

From 1865 to 1867 the mission was served by Fathers J. Tissot 





24 


and A. Andr£, O.M.I. Father Andre was replaced by Father Leduc, 
O.M.I., in 1867. Father Leduc took sole charge of the mission in 
1868. He later became vicar-general of the diocese, remaining there 
until 1896. 

The next important step in the history of St. Albert was the 
arrival of Bishop Grandin on October 25, 1868. He was accompanied 
by four priests, two ecclesiastical students, and four lay brothers. 
In order to prepare for his party a dormitory had been made in the 
loft of Father Lacombe’s dwelling and a log structure was added to 
it. Bishop Grandin had the only private room in the house. He 
spent four months there and during that time study quarters were 
made available to the ecclesiastical students. From 1869 on 
Bishop Grandin made his headquarters at St. Albert. Bishop Grandin 1 s 
arrival in St. Albert was marked by rejoicing on the part of the 
inhabitants. Of his arrival there he said: ft I was received in 
St. Albert with all the honors of a titular bishop of whom I was 

only the representative. ,f In the same letter he also gave his 

8 

first impressions of St. Albert. f, I am here only since October 25. 

The missions of St. Albert and surroundings are entirely different 

than those that I have made up to the present. The winter is less 

long, the earth more suitable to cultivation, the voyages less 

painful because they are on land with horses or oxen most of the 

time. However, as part of my vicariate, I will not entirely forget 

trips by canoe and snowshoes. Here we have a certain air of 

civilization. Many of our half breeds cultivate a little and speak 

a type of French. It is necessary that I study the Cree language 

and I will need to learn the Blackfeet.’* 

9 


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In 1869 a store house and blacksmith room were built and a 
large room was opened in the orphanage to care for the sick. The 
second cathedral at St. Albert was built during 1870-1871 and was 
blessed by Bishop Grandin on Easter Sunday, 1872. The old one 
built by Father Lacombe was becoming weather worn, being held in 
position by a succession of big tree trunks. Besides, it was too 
small and crowded. Occasionally, the mitre of Bishop Grandin 
would catch in the rafters. The new cathedral was eighty-four 
feet in length, thirty-two feet in width, and had a width of 
seventy-two feet at the arms where the transepts were built in the 
form of a cross. It was located almost directly west of the 
present church, about fifty yards away. 

During 1870 many of the prairie settlements, including 
St. Albert, were struck by an epidemic of smallpox. St. Albert 
became a gathering point for many of the Indians and half breeds 

seeking help and consolation. It is estimated that of the 700 

10 

Indians and Metis who had sought refuge there, 300 were carried 
away by the plague. Bishop Grandin, with his priests and nuns, 
did everything in their power to assist the suffering. It was 
during this epidemic that all of them, especially Father Lacombe, 
earned the undying love of the Indians and Metis. 

A very important event occurred in the history of St. Albert 
on September 22, 1871» On that day. Pope Pius IX signed the decree 
which raised St. Albert to an Episcopal See and Bishop Grandin 
became the first Bishop of St. Albert^ The news of this appointment 
did not reach St. Albert until April 2, 1872. From that time on, 

St. Albert became not only the centre, but the "heart” of all Catholic 




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missionary activity in Alberta and Northern Saskatchewan. The 

territory of Bishop Grandin included the northern half of Saskatchewan, 

Alberta, and the present Northwest Territories. 

A school was built in St. Albert in 1874 and became known as 

the "Boy's College." The upper part of the building served as a 
12 

dormitory for boys who intended to study for the priesthood. The 
lower part of the building contained two classrooms for boys and 
girls. This was the first public school in St. Albert and its first 
teachers were Grey Nuns, Sister Blanchette and Sister Ste. Genevieve. 
The parish priest from 1874 to 1877, Father Lestanc, also 

served as the Inspector of Schools. Here is one of the reports he 
made in 1866: 

"Name of teacher - Reverend Sister Dillon - First Class 
Certificate 

Reverend Sr. Marie des Anges - 
Miss Aurelie Cardinal - assistant 
No. of pupils on register - 77 
Present (July 5, 1886) - 77 

Remarks on proficiency of pupils - Excellent results. 

State of buildings - Very good. 

State of school apparatus - Very good. 

General tone of school - Excellent. 

The above school has been examined on the 5th day of July, 1886. 

J.J.M. Lestanc ptre.. G.M.I. " 

13 

Bishop Grandin faced a serious problem during the late 1870's 
and early 1880's. A heavy influx of settlers was arriving during 






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those years and the Indians and Metis were rightfully afraid of 
losing their -lands. Bishop Grandin and his missionaries received 
government assistance in securing permanent tracts of land for 
their charges., ^ They helped the government in drawing up a treaty 
whereby each prairie Cree Chief who had twenty families subject to him 
would receive a tract of land. This did not satisfy all the 
Indians and Metis but it was a start. They were in an ugly mood 
and detachments of the North West Mounted Police were concentrated 
at strategic points. But for the work of Bishop Grandin and his 
assistants. Father Lacombe in particular, open warfare might have 
resulted. The Bishop was faced with the problem of lands and 
schools for the next several years and spent the winter of 1882- 
1883 in Ottawa pressing his request to have Catholic teachers 
appointed to schools on Indian reserves where the population was 
Catholic. Because of the heavy immigration he was also faced with 
a shortage of missionaries, schools and churches. He went to France 
in November of 1877 and while remaining there for two years, he 
sought to obtain priests, brothers, and funds for his missions. He 
returned home in November of 1879o-^ 

Progress was being made at St. Albert during this time in 
spite of a severe hailstorm in 1876 which resulted in a loss of 
$3,000 at the mission. A new grist mill was set up in 1878 and a 
new residence was built in 1879* In 1882 work was started on a 
convent-hospital for the Grey Nuns. The work went on for five 
years. Appeals were made for financial aid but the results were 
so poor that it was decided to make the building a convent-boarding 
school instead. The building was finally completed in 1887 but the 


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Grey Nuns refused to occupy it. Because of the poverty of Bishop 
Grandin f s residence they wanted him to use it. They made an 
exchange of domiciles; Bishop Grandin taking the new residence 
while they occupied the one built in 1879® This new residence is 
still being used at St. Albert by the Oblates. It was covered over 
with brick in 1922* The years 1884 and 1887 were marked by the 
destruction of a large portion of the crops by frost. The convent- 
hospital was completed in 1887 and Bishop Grandin took up residence 
there. The nuns moved into the Bishop’s former residence, moving 
from the old convent built for them by Father Lacombe in 1862. The 
following year, 1888, a new convent was built for them* 

The Diocese of St. Albert was divided in 1889 at the request 
of Bishop Grandin. Because of its size, and because of his recurring 
illness, he begged permission to have it divided. His request was 
granted in July of 1889 at the first Council of St. Boniface which 
was presided over by Bishop Tache. Father Pascal, O.M.I., a 
missionary in the MacKenzie, was made Vicar Apostolic of the 

eastern half of the diocese, with his See at St. Albert* , The first 

16 

native Albertan to be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Grandin 
at St. Albert on March 19, 1890 was Reverend Edward Cunningham, O.M.I. 

As early as 1892 it was evident that a new cathedral, the third 
to be built in St. Albert, was necessary. The one built in 1870 
was too small and was continually in need of repair. Even though 
Edmonton was the railway terminus and was growing rapidly it was 
decided that the new cathedral would be in St. Albert. The corner¬ 
stone was laid in 1900 but the building was not in use until 1906. 

The building which served as the second cathedral was later used for 


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some time as a parish hall. 

The death of Bishop Grandin on June 3, 1902, brought to an end 
the career of one of the greatest missionaries in the Canadian 
history of the Roman Catholic Church. He was buried in the second 
cathedral on June 10, 1902. In 1906 his remains were transferred 
to the crypt of the nexv cathedral by his successor. Bishop Legal. 

The diamond jubilee of Father Lacombe^ ordination and the 
fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the Grey Nuns in Alberta 
were two events celebrated at St. Albert in 1909* Father Lacombe 
was to spend most of his remaining years at MLdnapore where he had 
built an "Old People 1 s Home.” One of the most famous figures in 
the Canadian West during the last half of the nineteenth century, 
his efforts to christianize and civilize his beloved Indians and 
Metis will not soon be forgotten. Though not all his efforts were 
crowned with success, he had more influence for good over the 
Indians than any man of his time. 

We are now bringing to a close our connection with St. Albert. 

On November 30, 1912^the See was transferred to Edmonton, which 
became an Archdiocese. Bishop Legal thus became the first Archbishop 
of Edmonton. The move was brought about mainly because of the growth 
and the growing importance of Edmonton. It was by this time quite 
evident,even to the most sceptical, that Edmonton and not St. Albert 
was to be the important centre. Some felt that the rate of growth 
was so rapid that Edmonton would soon include St. Albert. Edmonton 

in 1912 had a population of 53,611 which was approximately twenty 

IS 

per cent Roman Catholic. 

The work of St. Albert as the centre of the diocese was finished. 


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The missionary period for this area was over, even though much 
remained to be done elsewhere. Since 1868 St. Albert had been the 
nerve centre of a vast area which included the northern half of 
Saskatchewan, Alberta and the North West Territories. The northern 
half of Saskatchewan had been made a new diocese in 1889; the 
MacKenzie and Yukon districts were placed under the spiritual juris¬ 
diction of Vicar-Apostolic, Reverend Gabriel Breynat, in 

1901, The diocese of Calgary was created in 1912. The work done 
by BishopsGrandin and Legal, and by the Oblate missionaries, was 
done from St. Albert. Those men, by their courage and determination, 
laid the foundations for the growth of Roman Catholicism in the 
Canadian Northwest. That phase of the work, at least for this area, 
was finished. It was time for a change in methods. One aspect of 
that change was the transition to Edmonton, a growing city which 
needed a greater degree of attention if the growth of Roman 
Catholicism here was to be promoted. 


1* Preliminaires De La Fondation Du Lac Ste*- Anne Historique, 

Soeurs Grises de Montreal . Prov. S. Albert, Archives, 

2. Fondation de St- Albert, Soeurs Grises de Montreal , (Chroniques, 

1859 - 1864, pp. 256-257.) Prov. S. Albert, Archives. 

3. Lacombe, Rev. A., Q.M.I., f, Notice Historique sur les missions de 
Lac Ster* Anne, St*- Joachim et de St?- Albert, 11 p.7. 

4. Soeurs Grises de Montreal , Mission du Lac Ste. Anne, 4 decembre, 

1859, Soeur Emery a Mere Deschamps, p.5. Prov. S. Albert, Archives. 

5* Ibid . 

6. Tetreault, Rev. Alexis, O.M.I., Notes compiled on the history of 
St. Albert. (Father Tetreault was former Director of the Museum 
at St. Albert.) 

7. Lacombe, op. cit., pp, 20-21. 

8. Letter to his cousin, Mrs. Latouche, December 16, 1868. (collection 
de la famille Grandin), (A copy is in the possession of Rev. E. Breton, 
O.M.I., 9916 - 110 Street, Edmonton.) 

9. Ibid . 

10. Tetreault, op. cit. 

11. Morice, Rev. A. G., O.M.I., History of the Catholic Church in 
Western Canada , vol. II, p. 88 0 









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31 


12. Tetreault, op. cit. 

13. Archives of the Grey Nuns of Montreal , p. 22. (School District 
of St. Albert - Roman Catholic Public School District No. 3 of 
the N. W. T.) 

14. Hermant, Rev. Leon, O.M.I., Thy Cross % Stay , p. 104. 

15. Tetreault, op. cit. 

l6o Hermant, op. cit. , pp. 135-136. 

17* Acta Apostolicae Sedis , Commentarium Officiate, Typis polyglottis 
Vaticanis, vol. 5, p.182. 

18. Scott, L.C., Enumeration Statistics, Edmonton City Hall, July 25, 1957. 








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THE FIRST CATHEDRAL IN ST ALBERT — BUILT BY FATHER LACOHBE 






















































































































































































































































































33 



TO THE LEFT — THE OLD SEMINARY BUILDINGS. TO THE REAR— A RESIDENCE 
LATER MOVED BEHIND THE PRESENT RESIDENCE OF THE FATHERS. 
TO the RIGHT- second cathedral in ST. ALBERT Built in 1870 . 












































34 


CHAPTER III 

PARISHES ESTABLISHED BY THE OBLATES OF MARY IMMACULATE 

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate is an Order concerned with the 
field of missions of the Roman Catholic Church* It is the most 
important Order in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in the 
Canadian Northwest* 

Preliminary work on the foundation of this Order was begun in 
France in 1815 by Reverend Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod* Their 
first house was established on January 25, 1815, at Aix* On February 17, 
1826, their constitution was approved by Pope Leo XIII. From that 
time on, the new congregation was known as the*Oblates of Mary Immaculate* 
Previously, the members had called themselves the "Missioners of 
Provence. ,, 

Members of the Oblates first came to Canada in 1841 upon the 
invitation of Bishop Bourget of Montreal. He asked Bishop de Mazenod 
of Marseilles for some young men of the Congregation to work in the 
Canadian missions. Some of them came in 1841o 

The first Oblates to arrive in Western Canada were Father P. Aubert 
and Brother A. Taclie who arrived at Red River on August 25, 1843*-^ 

Brother Taclie was ordained a priest not long after reaching Red River* 

In 1850 he was made coadjutor to Bishop Provencher, at the age of 
twenty-seven, the youngest bishop in the world* Later still he was 
to become Archbishop of St. Boniface, at that time the largest ecclesi¬ 
astical province of the Catholic Church* 

Although the Oblates were not the first to serve this area they 
produced the famous missionary names, in Tache^ Grandin, Lacombe. 



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Grouard, Faraud, Clut and many others. In 1881 there was only one 
secular priest in Alberta, Father Bellevaire of Battle River*, All 
the others were Oblates. When Father Lacombe became an Oblate in 
1856 the only secular priest in Western Canada was Father Thibeault 
at Red River. 

In 1858 Fathers Lacombe and Remas were still working from Lac 
Ste. Anne. In that year, hoping to make a thriving mission centre 
at Lac Ste. Anne, Father Lacombe succeeded in his attempts to get 
the Grey Nuns to open a school there. As we have seen, the first 
regular school in Alberta was established there as well as the first 
permanent parish. 

The first Oblates to come to the Canadian Northwest came with 
the idea of christianizing and civilizing the Indians and half-breeds 
to be found there. This is true as well for other missionary groups. 
The efforts of the Oblates may generally be said to have been 
successful, mainly because of the heroism and sacrifice, and their 
willingness to devote themselves unstintingly to a cause. In the 
1870’s they were confronted with another problem, one that was 
caused in part by their own heroic efforts. As more and more Indians 
and half-breeds were being converted to Christianity, and were being 
persuaded to settle down to a life which was more routine than that 
to which they had been accustomed, there was a steady and increasing 
number of white settlers moving into the territory. This in itself 
was a natural movement and one that had occurred earlier in Eastern 
Canada and in the United States. 

In this region however, that problem was somewhat more complex. 
The territory had been to a large extent under the missionary efforts 


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of the Oblates, who were Roman Catholic and French-speaking. Many 
of the newcomers were Protestant and English-speaking. They were 
often accused, with considerable truth, of corrupting and debasing 
the Indian and of taking his land away. They were not accused 
simply because they were Protestant or because they were English- 
speaking > but the fact that they were added fuel to the fire. In 
some cases the missionaries would see years of work being destroyed 
by unscrupulous whites, Protestant and Catholic, who were hoping to 
get what they could of good land and let someone else worry about 
Indian rights. The biggest unofficial issue at stake though, was 
that the Oblates saw their dream vanish before their eyes and although 
they fought a strong rearguard action for years to come, the change 
was inevitable. This was the dream of a Roman Catholic French-speaking 
populace throughout the vast regions of the northwest. It was a 
natural thing and was not a plan designed to hinder development in the 
region. Any religious or any racial group would have followed, under 
similar circumstances, the same pattern. After all, they did most of 
the Christianizing and civilizing during the initial stages of growth. 
Why should they.not want to continue the pattern by bringing in 
settlers of their own religious and racial background? Nevertheless, 
this situation caused friction; not only with Protestants, but later 
on with English-speaking Catholics. 

All of the first parishes in Edmonton were established by the 
Oblates. In fact, it was not until their arrival here that any steps 
were taken to form a permanent parish. Bishop Tache and Father Lacombe 
had given the name of St. Joachim to the mission at Fort Edmonton; this 
was done in 1854. A room was made available to the visiting missionary 












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for use as a chapel until the first chapel was completed on 
December 24, .1859 .3 

Fort Edmonton was served from Lac Ste. Anne from 1843 until 
1861. From 1861 to 1883 it was served by the Oblates from St. Albert. 
The first resident pastor. Reverend Henri Grandin, O.M.I., moved to 
Edmonton in 1883* 


On July 20, 1876,. Chief Commissioner Graham of the Hudson*s Bay 
4 

Company requested 3ishop Grandin to move the chapel and anything else 
to which they had claim, outside the fort and beyond the land of the 
Hudson’s Bay Company. We can surmise that this was done for several 
reasons: settlers were coming in and taking up residence on land east 
of the fort, the Mounted Police had arrived here, and a treaty had 
just been concluded between the government and the Indians so the 
fear of Indian attacks was considerably diminished. 

The chapel was taken down and on October 11, 1876,^ the work of 
removing material was undertaken by a Mr. L. Beaupr/ and completed 
on the following day. Because the Hudson’s Bay Company owned the land 
immediately adjoining the fort, the materials were taken almost two 
miles west to a parcel of land which had been turned over to Father 
Lacombe by Malcolm Groat. This plot of land was in the block now 
located between 122 and 123 Streets, directly south of Jasper Avenue. 
There, the materials of the old chapel and mission house were used to 
construct the second church and residence. This chapel was blessed 
on January 14, 1877, by Reverend Henri Grandin, O.M.I. However, it 
was still served by priests from St. Albert. The records show that 
on February 20, 1877, Father Lestanc, O.M.I., came to St. Joachim’s 
from St. Albert and that there were twenty people present in church. 


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Father Scollen, O.M.I., remained there for some time in 1882 to 
minister to the Crees in the district. He was the former Brother 

Scollen who had started the first school classes in the fort in 1862* 

6 

The first permanent pastor came to St. Joachim’s on October 1, 
1863. He was the Reverend Henri Grandin, O.M.I., a nephew of Bishop 
Grandin. He was accompanied by a Brother Lisee who was continuing 
his studies under the tutelage of Father Grandin. For a short period 
of time Brother Lisee also held classes for the Catholic children of 
school age. The building of the Canadian Pacific Railway was bringing 
new immigrants and homesteaders to this area. Expecting to share in 
the prosperity, the Hudson’s Bay Company was putting tracts of land up 
for sale. Bishop Grandin made the acquisition of a whole block of 
land near the fort* It was during this time that he appointed Father 


Grandin to be a permanent pastor in Edmonton 




A short time later, in 1885, the Riel Rebellion threw many of 
the people in the Edmonton district into a state of severe anxiety. 
Rumors of Indian attacks were rampant and the people sought protection. 
Some sought the aid or advice of Father Grandin who remained at his 
residence throughout the crisis, while the majority went to St. Albert 
to seek protection afforded by the mission. Some stayed in buildings 
at the mission while others set up tents on the grounds. Some remained 
there for several days but when they saw that there was no danger of 
attack they returned to their homes. 

By 1886 a larger church was necessary and the third church of 


St. Joachim was built in that year on the land acquired from the 
Company by Bishop Grandin. The church was blessed by Rev. J.M. Lestanc, 
O.M.I., on August 22 of that year. Father Grandin remained there as 




39 


pastor until May of 1889# This third church of St* Joachim was 
located on what is now the southwest corner of 99 Avenue and 111 Street* 
School classes were also held for a time by Brother Lisee and a Mr* 
Saint-Cyr, but it was not until 1888 that classes for Catholic children 
were put on a permanent basis. On October 11, 1888, a religious order 
of women, the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus, located here. 

They came upon the invitation of Bishop Grandin to teach in the first 
Separate School. Father Grandin gave up his residence while one was 
being prepared for them. 

Father Grandin left St. Joachim 1 s in 1889 in order to work around 
Lac La Biche. He was temporarily replaced by Father Vegreville, O.M.I., 
who remained until January of 1890 when he was succeeded by Father 
Fouquet, O.M.I., the second pastor of St. Joachim*s. Father Fouquet 
was appointed to Calgary in 1894 and his place at St. Joachim's was 
taken by a man who had served the district forty years earlier. This 
man was Reverend Albert Lacombe, O.M.I. Father Lacombe was accompanied 
by a curate. Reverend Louis Dauphin, O.M.I., who remained here for only 
a few months. 

While at St. Joachim's Father Lacombe had a new rectory built 
for the parish. It was covered with brick and is still standing as 
part of St. Joseph's Seminary on 110 Street. . Edmonton was growing 
rapidly at this time and Father Lacombe also wished to undertake the 
construction of a new church in 1896 but funds were not available. 

The church in use was moved to the centre of the block (directly west 
of the present church) and was repaired and painted. 

Reverend Hippolyte Leduc, O.M.I., succeeded Father Lacombe as 
pastor in 1897. Soon after his arrival plans were drawn up for the 








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construction of the present church of St, Joachim, Some funds for 
the project had been collected under Father Lacombe. The church was 
opened on December 8, 1899 • 

The next important event in the history of St, Joachim* s was 
the division of the parish in 1913# The church was too small for the 
growing population and since a land division was not feasible it was 
decided to divide the parish on the basis of language, English- 
speaking Catholics were to attend services as a group and the French- 

speaking Catholics were to do the same. . 

S 

Plans were also made for the construction of a church for the 
English-speaking group. Construction was actually started, the 
excavation was made and the foundations were poured but it never 
progressed beyond that stage. This excavating was done immediately 
west of St. Joachim’s, as it was intended that the new church would 
face 111 Street, Since this project was not completed, both the 
English and French groups attended St, Joachim’s until 1925 when the 
present St. Joseph’s Cathedral was erected. The English-speaking 
group then attended the new parish. 

The first baptism in the parish was that of Noel, the son of 
Kekkete and Marie Savard. He was baptized by Father Lacombe on 
January 1, 1858. The first marriage was on the same date and Father 
Lacombe witnessed this ceremony. Alexandra Savard and Therese Bisson 
were the couple married. The witnesses were Antoine Galarneau and 
Jean Baptiste Bisson. The first funeral in the parish took place on 
January 3, 1859* Jean Baptiste Bruno, 70, was buried in the cemetery 
at Fort Edmonton. Witnesses were Joseph Beaudry, Charles G-ladu and 
Augustine Dugo. These were not the first baptisms, marriages or 






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funerals at Fort Edmonton* However, they are the first recorded in 
St. Joachim* s parish. One notices the predominance of French names 
of the time among the employees of the Hudson*s Bay Company. From 
the 1880*s onward there is a gradual increase in other nationalities 
today there are several large segments of nationalities, in addition 
to many small racial groups. Most of them are central European in 
origin. St. Joachim* s has always been served by the Oblates of Mary 
Immaculate. 

During the 1890 * s Edmonton was already known as the gateway to 
the north. With the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway 
terminus at Strathcona in 1891 new settlers were arriving in large 
numbers. Many of them were heading for the north and used Edmonton 
as a supply depot. For many years all cross continental traffic 
passed through Edmonton and transport for goods in both directions 
was provided here. The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway 
served to increase the importance of this location. Catholics 
living in Strathcona came under the spiritual jurisdiction of the 
Oblates at St. Joachim*s. The first permanent pastor. Reverend 
Georges Nordmann, O.M.I., took up residence there in 1905. 

Under Father Fouquet of St. Joachim* s (1890 - 1894) Mass was 
first offered in private homes in Strathcona, but increasing numbers 
made that impossible. Father Lacombe, with the assistance of Mr. 
and Mrs. J. J. Duggan, obtained a small building in 1895 which 
served as a chapel until 1898, when it was evident that a larger 
church was necessary. In that year plans were drawn up for the 
building of a new church. 


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The first school classes in the parish were held in the little 
building which had been used as a chapel from 1895 to 1898. Two of 
the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus crossed the river each day 
from St, Joachim* s to teach the children of the district. The 
sanctuary of the little chapel was closed off by a curtain and the 
Sisters taught in the body of the church. This school was later to 
serve as the sacristy of the church built in 1901. In that year 
another room was built to serve as a school. Lay teachers were 
appointed in 1902 and in 1905 the present St. Anthony*s School was 
built. 

Father Le Marchand, O.M.I., directed the preparations for a new 
building. Lots were purchased at 105 Street and 84 Avenue. Eight 
hundred dollars in funds was raised at a bazaar organized by Mrs. J.J. 
Duggan. This bazaar was held in a field opposite the Canadian Pacific 
Railway station. It was around this time that the parish received its 
name. Father Lacombe on one of his visits suggested that it be called 
after St. Anthony of Padua so that ”it would never lack for money.” 

With the completion of the bridge in 1901, many new settlers 
came to Strathcona. This population increase necessitated the building 
of another church, the second in three years. It was built under the 
direction of Father Jan, Q.M.I. Started in 1901, the church was 
mainly completed in 1902. Its building gave the parish a considerable 
debt to pay, but most of this debt was paid in 1910 by the sale of 
parish land. St, Antnony*s now had a suitable church but no rectory. 

It was not until 1905 that a permanent pastor came to St. Anthony*s 
but a small rectory had been built before that. The official record 
of the Archdiocese gives 1905 as the first year of the parish, perhaps 




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because it received its first permanent pastor. Reverend Georges 
Nordmann, O.M.I., in that year. 

From 1905 until the arrival of Father Carleton in 1921, the 
parish had a succession of pastors, all of whom were Oblates, Some 
of them served the parish on more than one occasion, as priests were 
few and changes were rapid. Following Father Nordmann there were: 

Fathers McQuaid, Jan, Denis, McCarthy, Leduc, Tissier, De Vic, 

Culerier, Bieler, Lestanc, Le Marchand, Blanchet, Tosquinet, La Rose 
and La Coste. Father La Coste was the last Oblate to serve St. Anthony’s, 
After the arrival of Archbishop O’Leary in 1920, the parish was turned 
over to the secular clergy. 

The selection of Strathcona as the site of the nevr Provincial 
University and the construction of Canadian Pacific Railway roundhouse 
were two factors which added to the growth of Strathcona and St* 

Anthony’s Parish, 

After the Oblates left in 1920 the parish was served by Father 
McGuigan until the appointment of Father William Carleton in 1921, 

Father Carleton was the first secular priest to be appointed as pastor 
of St. Anthony's Parish, Reverend William Carleton was born in 
Ottawa in 1883 and attended the Separate Schools there. In 1893 his 
family moved to New Hampshire where he attended the parochial schools; 
later, he went to Holy Cross College in Worcester, St. John’s Seminary 
in Boston, and the Grand Seminary in Montreal, He was ordained to the 
priesthood in Ottawa in 1911, 

Following his ordination, he spent three months as a curate at 
St. Brigid’s in Ottawa. His first parish was at Metcalfe, Ontario. 

During the period 1915 - 1918, Father Carleton served in the Canadian 



44 


Army. After the war he served at Martindale in Quebec until 1921 

when he came to Edmonton. Soon after his arrival here he was appointed 

to St. Anthony 1 s. He served as pastor there until 1939 when he joined 

the army. In 1942 he received his honorable discharge. From 1942 

until 1946 he served as Rector of St. Joseph*s Cathedral. Since 1946, 

Monsignor Carleton has been Vicar-General. Father Carleton had been 

9 

raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate in 1930 and was named Proto- 
Notary Apostolic in 1949* He has lived through much of Edmonton's 
development and has contributed substantially toward the growth of 
the Catholic Church in the city. 

Father McGuigan had come to Edmonton as Secretary to Archbishop 
O'Leary. Upon their arrival in December of 1920 they lived in a 
block which had formerly been occupied by Archbishop Legal. For a 
time it was thought that the new cathedral would be located on the 
south side and an excavation toward that purpose was made at 109 
Street and £3 Avenue. The development never progressed beyond that 
stage. For some time afterward the excavation was used as a natural 
skating rink by the children of the district. 

Archbishop O'Leary built a rectory in 1921 and he and his staff 
occupied it in 1922. It was located on 83 Avenue and 105 Street. 

The old residence became St. Mary's Boys' Home and Father Carleton 
obtained the aid of the Sisters of Providence to care for a small 
group of neglected children who were placed in the Home. Previous 
to the establishment of St. Mary's Home some young people attending 
the University formed a Newman Club and held their meetings in the 
old residence. The first lectures were given by Father Bernard 
MacDonald of Calgary. The first president was Margaret Malone, sister 





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45 


of Monsignor Malone, now of St, Joseph*s Cathedral, 

The Archbishop and some of his staff remained on the south side 
until the residence on 113 Street was completed. He had decided 
that the Cathedral would be built on the north side. Until it was 
completed the residence at St. Anthony’s was the centre of archdiocesan 
activity. Father Carleton remained as pastor at St. Anthony*s until 
1939 when he joined the array. In 1940 when he was transferred to 
Calgary, he was succeeded by the present pastor, the Eight Reverend 
C. J. Foran, D.D. 

The war years, with the influx of many American personnel, and 
the strategic importance of Edmonton to the north country, witnessed 
many developments. As a result of this development, with its 
consequent increase in population, a new church was necessary. It 
could not be constructed during the war because of building restrictions. 
In the meantime, many who attended any of the five Sunday Masses had to 
remain outside. However, preparations for a new church were already 
underway. Lots for the new church were purchased in 1945 at the corner 
of 107 Street and Whyte Avenue^ In June of 1946 the old church and 
rectory were sold to the Basilian Fathers of the Greek Catholic rite, 

St, Anthony’s was to retain the use of the church until the new one 
was completed. The first sod for the new church was turned on May 7* 
194S, the cornerstone was laid on July 25 of the same year, and the 
church was opened on June 5> 1949# The complete debt on the new 
church was paid off in 1955 , an indication of the prosperity of 
Edmonton, for the present church had cost over two hundred thousand 
dollars* ^ 

The second parish on the north side was started in order to 



46 


Relieve congestion at St. Joachim* s. It was established by Bishop 
Legal in 1906; and was officially opened on December 8 of that year. 
Five years later it was too small for the congregation and the parish 
was divided on a language basis. This led to the establishment of 
Sacred Heart Parish in 1913• 

The first two pastors of Immaculate Conception Parish were 
Oblates: Father Hetu (1906 - 190 ?)> and Father Le Marchand (1907 - 
1911)* The third pastor. Father Rocque, was a secular priest. This 
made Immaculate Conception the first parish in the city to be served 
by secular clergySucceeding pastors were the Fathers Ouellette, 
Ethier, Lepage, Bernier, and Right Reverend J. R. Ketchen, the 
present pastor, who took over in 1928. Father Ketchen was raised to 
the rank of Monsignor in 1956. He has served in Edmonton and 
district since the early 1920 f s. 

North Edmonton was another section of the city which was under¬ 
going rapid growth. A packing plant of Swift and Company had 
located on the Canadian National Railway line northeast of Edmonton. 
Many of the men working there settled in the district. By 1909 
there was a fairly large community there, sometimes referred to as 
‘•Swiftville.” Bishop Legal prevailed on the Franciscan Fathers to 
locate in the district. They arrived in June of 1909 and for their 
first months there they held services in a shack. Upon the completion 
of their Monastery the chapel was used until October 6, 1912, when 
Bishop Legal blessed the new church. The first pastor in the new 
church was Reverend Boniface Heidmeier, O.F.M. 

Fire has struck at the parish church of St. Francis on two 
occasions. The church opened in 1912 was destroyed by fire on 




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November 20, 1915. By June of 1916 the building had been restored 
so that it could be used. It was used until March 11, 1947, when 
fire struck again. The present church was blessed on October 2, 1949 
by Archbishop MacDonald. 

The Mendicant Order was founded by St. Francis of Assisi during 
the twelfth century. Final approval was given to the Order by Pope 
Honorius III in 1223. Much of their missionary work and preaching 
is done in large cities or close to them. For that reason they 
moved from Edmonton to Lamoureux in June of 1909 under Superior, 
Reverend Berchmans Mangin, O.F.M. To them, Edmonton showed evidence 
of becoming a large city. Their first monastery was completed in 
1912 but was destroyed by fire in 1935. A new addition was later 
made to St. Anthony*s College and the Fathers took over the older 
part of the college as their Monastery. 

In Edmonton the Franciscan Fathers have charge of St. Francis 
of Assisi Parish and St. Anthony*s College, which includes a boarding 
school for high school boys and a Philosophy Department. They also 
do missionary work and assist at some of the parishes. The present 
Superior of this Order in Edmonton is Reverend Randolph Wagner. 



The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway had built their shops in the 
Calder district, northwest of the city limit. The employment 
offered there attracted workers and their families of whom a considerable 
number were Catholics. As a result. Bishop Legal decided to establish 
St. Edmund's as another new parish in the Edmonton district. 

15 

The first pastor was Reverend G. Gaborit, a priest of the Order 
of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, from San Quentin, France* In 1911 a 


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small church and a rectory were built near the railway shops; this 
church was enlarged in 1913. A new church (basement) and rectory 
were built in 1950. Now part of Edmonton, the Calder district is 
growing as rapidly as the other sections of the city. 

Edmonton in 1912 was a fast growing city of 53,611. Since the 
turn of the century a tide of prosperity had been steadily crossing 
western Canada. Many new ethnic groups were moving in and being 
absorbed in the native population. This immigration was particularly 
evident in Edmonton from 1899 to 1914 when the population of the city 
jumped from 2,212 to 72,516.further cause for some of the increase 
was the amalgamation of Edmonton and Strathcona in 1912. One can 
easily imagine the tremendous problems faced by civic authorities 
prior to World War I. That period of Edmonton’s history is very 
similar to the period since 1945, more especially since the discovery 
of rich oil deposits near Leduc in 1947. Both periods were ones of 
rapid expansion in material assets, accompanied by a tremendous 
influx of population. A large percentage of the population which 
settled in Edmonton in both periods was Eastern-Canadian born. These 
people moved to Edmonton, hoping to share in the wealth created by 
the land and oil booms. 

The general air of prosperity which pervaded throughout Western 
Canada around the turn of the century was somewhat checked by the 
shadow of a depression in 1913. By 1914, people were beginning to 
fear a serious depression, and immediately prior to the war there was 
unemployment in many areas, including Edmonton. The war, however, 
soon created an expansion of industry and a demand for labor. A labor 
shortage developed, along with shortages in other fields, and it was 


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49 


particularly serious among teachers and the clergy. There had 
never been a sufficient number of clergy in the West at any time, 
nor is there today. The war made acute demands upon ecclesiastical 
authorities who were forced to appoint their clergy to centres and 
areas where they could serve the greatest number. As a result, 
small and isolated communities suffered from a lack of spiritual 
consolation and guidance, and many were lost to the faith. Such 
was the picture facing church authorities in Edmonton in 1912, A 
severe shortage of clergy and meagre financial resources were 
problems to be faced and overcome. In a relative degree, they are 
problems which will always have to be considered. 

In Edmonton in 1912 there were three parishes: St. Anthony 1 s, 

St. Joachim’s, and the parish of the Immaculate Conception, There 
was also the parish of St. Edmund’s which served Calder, and the 
parish of St. Francis of Assisi, serving North Edmonton. St, Anthony’s 
parish was serving the entire district of Strathcona, We may say 
that St. Joachim's and the Immaculate Conception parishes were serving 
the entire north side. St. Edmund's and St. Francis of Assisi were 
a considerable distance away and had their own area to serve. At 
this time, Edmonton was little more than a glorified farming community. 
A large percentage of the population was transient, remaining in the 
city only long enough to gather supplies or information before heading 
on to the vast stretches of farm land that lay in every direction. 
Pictures taken just previous to 1912 show the northeast end of the 
city to be a large farming area dotted by patches of prairie woodland. 
The apex of several years of mushroom growth was 1913* 

Sacred Heart Parish was erected by His Grace, Archbishop Legal, on 




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December 21, 1912. Previous to the opening of the church on 
Christmas Day,- 1913, the members of this parish attended Mass and 
other services at the Immaculate Conception parish, which was 
intended to care for the English and French-speaking residents of 
the northeast section of the city. Soon after its opening in 1906, 
it became evident that this arrangement could not be continued. By 
1908, the parish was serving more than two hundred families of many 
nationalities. Services were being conducted in English, French, 
German and Polish. Immigration continued to increase, and by 1911, 
a separate parish for the English-speaking people was deemed 
imperative. Plans were laid for the foundation of an "Irish" parish, 
to be called Sacred Heart. It is interesting to note that Sacred 
Heart never really became an "Irish" parish. Although it contained 
a large number of Irish Catholics, it never came to serve any group 
exclusively, but served English-speaking Catholics, many of whom 
were Irish. 

Plans for the new church were started in 1911. The new parish 
had the same boundaries as Immaculate Conception, and was to serve 
the English speaking element. Tenders for the new church were 
called for in April of 1913. The site selected was on Kinistino 
Avenue, directly opposite the Immaculate Conception Church. The 
cornerstone was laid by the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Stagni, 
on July 13, 1913. The church was opened on Christmas Day, 1913; 
and the first Mass was offered by Reverend M. Pilon, the first pastor. 

Reverend M, Pilon remained as pastor until December 2, 1921. On 
that date. Reverend M. J. 0 f Gorman was appointed pastor* Father 
0 1 Gorman, now Monsignor 0 f Gorman, has remained as pastor since 1921. 




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A native of Renfrew, Ontario, he received his early education in 
the Separate Schools there and later attended the University of 
Ottawa. In 1912 he entered the Grand Seminary in Montreal and was 
ordained in Pembroke in 1915 by Bishop Thomas Ryan. In 1917* 

Father 0*Gorman joined the army and was soon posted overseas where 
he remained until 1919* He was appointed to a parish called Wylie, 
in the Chalk River area, in 1920. The now famous Chalk River 
district was at that time only a small mission of Wylie. Upon the 
invitation of Archbishop 0*Leary he came West in 1921. He was 
loaned to the Archdiocese of Edmonton and was not incardinated here 
until 1938. In 1930 Father 0 1 Gorman was raised to the dignity of 
Monsignor. 

St. Anne’s Mission, on the corner of 89 Street and 101A Avenue, 
is served from Sacred Heart Parish. The building had been used as 
a Separate School until it was closed in 1926. Mass was celebrated 
there at irregular intervals because of the shortage of priests. 

In 1929 the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, newly arrived in 
the city, did a lot of catechetical work among the families of the 
mission. The mission has been served regularly for many years by 
the priests of Sacred Heart Parish. ^ 

Sacred Heart Parish today is a melting pot of many nationalities. 
The parish also cares for much of Edmonton's transient population. 

A considerable number of German and Italian families have settled in 
the district, and the area has lost any semblance it ever had to an 
Irish parish. The parish was formed on a racial basis and the Irish 
were the strongest minority of a group of English-speaking Catholics. 
That is why hopes were held for the formation of an tf Irish" parish. 


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52 


so called. There has never been an English-speaking parish in 
Edmonton characterized by any racial or social groups such as one 
may find in some of the older Eastern Canadian cities. Edmonton's 
growth has been too rapid and there has always been too large a 
floating population to allow for the stabilization of one group over 
others. A problem faced by Sacred Heart Parish today, and by a few 
other city parishes, is the industrialization taking place within 
the parish boundaries. As industries move in on residential areas, 
many of the older settled families move out to locate in newer 
and more residential parishes. The loss of one parish may be the 
gain of another but such a movement does not seem to hinder the 
spirit of the older parish. However, it makes it difficult to 
maintain unified parish organizations; as a result, the former 
close-knit feeling of members of a parish may not be as strong as 
formerly. 

From 1913 to 1927, Catholics in the northwestern end of the 

city were served by St. Francis Xavier Parish. This was the chapel 

of the Jesuit College erected in 1913, and previous to the acquisition 

of St. Andrew’s Church, it served the considerable number of Catholics 

in the area._ d 
lo 

Holy Rosary Parish was established in 1913 in order to care for 
the Polish population in the eastern part of the city. The church 
was erected in 1913, and, although it was only visited twice monthly, 
there was always a large congregation. Father P. Kalowy, O.M.I., 
directed the construction of the new church, located on what is now 
113 Avenue and 95A Street. In 1914, a house was purchased as a 
residence for the parish priest.^ 


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Because of problems of overcrowding, it was decided in 1955 
to build a new -church for Holy Rosary Parish, A site was selected 
on 114 Avenue and 106 Street* For the most part the building was 
completed in 1956* The new structure enables all Roman Catholics 
of Polish extraction to attend services in their own church* The 
old church has been sold to the Catholics of the Greek Rite, 20 

In Edmonton, in 1914, St. Anthony's Parish was serving all 
Catholics on the south side of the river. The facilities of the 
parish were very heavily taxed, and with the continued growth of 
that area, it was only a matter of time as to how long it could 
adequately care for the growing number of Catholics. The arrival 
of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the building of the University of 
Alberta, and the construction of the High Level Bridge were all 
factors which contributed to the growth of the "South Side." 
Consequently, Archbishop Legal decided to establish another parish 
in this district. It was designed to serve the parishioners of 
St. Anthony’s who were too far removed from the parent church. One 
group to which the new parish would cater was a larger number of 
Belgian families living in the country outside Bonnie Doon* 

The parish itself came into being on October 26, 1913, with a 
meeting of the parishioners. Reverend Charles Devic, O.M.I., the 
first pastor, built the first church early in 1914. It was located 
on the corner of 90 Street and 95 Avenue. The church was called 
St. Rerie in honor of Reverend Rene Remas, O.M.I., a pioneer missionary 
of Lac Ste. Anne and St. Albert. The new parish served the entire 
area east of Mill Creek* 

For the most part, the parish was served by Father Devic from 




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1914 to 1919. Because of the serious shortage of priests, it was 
temporarily closed from 1919 to 1922. During this time it was served 
occasionally by priests of St. Anthony 1 s Parish. The first Baptism 
in this church was administered by Father Devic to Anna Holland on 
March 7, 1914* Parish records show that the first funeral was that 
of Mary Elizabeth Holmes on August 10, 1914. From 1922 on. Father 
Dgvic was able to devote more time to the parish. He was succeeded 
in 1925 by Reverend J. H. Ingoldsby. We may say that his appointment 
as pastor marked it as a permanent parish. Father Devic, O.M.I., who 
has rendered valuable service to his Church, is at present stationed 
at the Oblate House in Edmonton. The second pastor. Reverend J. H. 
Ingoldsby, is now pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Toronto. 
Father Ingoldsby remained as parish priest there until 1931. Shortly 
after his arrival in 1925, the parish was renamed by Archbishop 
O’Leary. It came to be known as the Assumption Parish of Bonnie Doon. 
Reverend M. S. Murphy succeeded Father Ingoldsby in 1931 and remained 
there until 1934* The late Father Leamy was pastor from 1934 to 1941. 
Father Leamy died in 1955 in the General Hospital where he had been 
Chaplain. From 1941 to 1943 the parish was served by Father George 
Tetreault, O.M.I., from St. John’s Gollege. There was a succession 
of pastors from 1943 to 1946, when Reverend D. W. Martin, the present 
pastor of St. Clare's Parish, was appointed. Succeeding Father Martin 
was Reverend E. Doyle, the present Archdiocesan Chancellor. He was 
pastor "pro tern” from May until October 15, 1953. The tremendous post¬ 
war housing development in the Bonnie Doon section of the city soon 
showed the necessity of a new church. The land immediately west of 
the old property, formerly a market garden and hot house owned by 



55 


N. J. Finnemore, was purchased. The first sod for the church was 
turned by Archbishop MacDonald on June 26, 1953* Excavation was 
started the following month* On October 15 of the same year. 

Reverend R* J. 0*Neil took over the parish affairs from Father Doyle* 
Construction was carried on throughout the fall and winter of 1953- 
1954 and the first Mass in the new church was on Easter Sunday, 1954* 
The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption was solemnly opened on the 
Feast of the Assumption, Sunday, August 15, 1954* 2j 

Until 1912 the centre of ecclesiastical jurisdiction for this 
area had been St* Albert and the Oblates were naturally reluctant 
to change the existing order of things* After all, it was mainly 
through their efforts that Catholicism was planted here and was 
growing so rapidly in influence* The idea of a French-speaking 
Catholic region was still predominant and many of the Oblates, 
including Bishop Legal, felt that St* Albert was the natural seat 
of ecclesiastical government for the entire Northwest* They were 
understandably slow to recognize the fact that many centres, 
especially Edmonton, had long since passed the missionary phase 
and that new methods and new personnel were needed in order to cope 
with the increasing number of non French-speaking Catholics. The 
maintenance of the seat of ecclesiastical jurisdiction at St. Albert, 
as late as 1912, presented a difficult situation. Church authorities 
in Rome took steps to improve on this situation in 1912* St. Albert 
had a population of less than one thousand, mainly French-speaking* 
Edmonton, in 1912, had a population slightly over sixty-one thousand 
(61,045). Of this sixty-one thousand, approximately twenty per cent 
was Roman Catholic ; of that twenty per cent by fah the greatest majority 


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56 


was English-speaking, Yet, there were practically no English- 
speaking priests to serve them. In 1912, by a decree of the Sacred 
Consistorial Congregation in Rome, Edmonton became an Archdiocese, 
on November 30, 1912, This was the first step made towards recognizing 
the situation as it really existed. In the future, Edmonton, and not 
St, Albert, was to be the seat of ecclesiastical authority. 

By 1912, the predominance of the Oblates in the city was nearing 
the end of its course. A true and devoted Order of Missionaries, 
they had laid the foundations for the growth of Roman Catholicism 
here and nurtured that growth successfully. It is extremely doubtful 
whether any other Order could have done more. That they laid the 
foundation well is beyond question; we see the results of their 
courageous and sacrificing work in Edmonton today. From 1912 until 
the arrival of Archbishop 0*Leary in 1920 there was growing evidence 
that Edmonton and other centres needed another type of guidance if 
Catholicism was to be best served. There were too many newcomers, 
total strangers to the Catholic culture which they found in Edmonton, 
and who demanded that they be given priests more or less accustomed 
to their way of life, to their language and attitudes. This was 
certainly no slur on the Oblates; they are a missionary Order and as 
such, their magnificent record speaks for itself. Yet, a change in 
methods and personnel wqs needed if the best interests of the majority 
were to be upheld. That is why the next man chosen was selected so as 
to bring about needed changes in methods and to bring in secular cife rgy 
who understood the culture of the many new Catholics arriving in 
Edmonton. Archbishop 0 f Leary, the man selected, faced a tremendous task* 
He was to bring about an approved transition from the missionary period 


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57 


of the French-speaking Oblates to a more definite and settled status. 
This change had. to be made; it was growth, and growth which could not 
be retarded, except to the detriment of the Catholic Church here. It 
is to the credit of the Oblates and Archbishop O’Leary that the period 
of transition from one era to another was successfully accomplished. 

Before leaving the establishment of parishes by the Oblates in 
Edmonton, it would be well to look at their enviable record in that 
regard up until 1920. They established the parishes of: St. Joachim’s, 
St. Anthony’s, Immaculate Conception, Sacred Heart, St. Francis Xavier, 
St. Edmund’s, Holy Rosary, St. Francis of Assisi, and the Assumption 
Parish of Bonnie Boon; during their period also, services were started 
in what is now St. Mary's Parish of Beverly* In addition, they were 
instrumental in bringing in several Religious Orders of Women, one 
Religious Order of Men, working towards the establishment of both the 
General and Misericordia Hospitals, St. John’s College, St. Joseph's 
Seminary, a Boarding School for Girls, and in guiding the initial and 
difficult years of the Edmonton Separate Schools. Truly, their 
accomplishments are numerous, and the influence of this devoted Order 
will be felt in Edmonton for many years to come. 


1. Legal, Most Rev. E., O.M.I., Hi story of the Catholic Church in 
Alberta , pp. 12-13. 

2. Blue, John, Alberta, Past and Present , Historical and Biographical, 
p. 44, vol. I. 

3. Hudson's Bay Archives relating to Fort Edmonton in 1359* London, 
England, 

4. Le Chevalier, Rev. Jules, O.M.I., p£tes des Pionniers , p. 10. (A 
copy may be seen in the archives of St. Joachim’s Parish.) 

5c Ibid . 

6. Ibid . 

7. Ibid . 

8. The Western Catholic , March 19, 1925, pp. 1-2, 








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9. Interview with Rt. Rev, W. B. Carleton, P.A., V.G., June 15, 1957* 

10. Interview with Rev, C. J, Foran, P,P., St* Anthony*s Parish, 

April, 1955* 

11. See Appendix A, p. 148. 

12. Interview with Rt, Rev, J, R. Ketchen, Immaculate Conception 
Parish, March 15, 1957. 

13. Frytek, Rev, Ladislaus, O.F.M., Files of St. Francis of Assisi 
Parish, March 12, 1957. 

14. Wagner, Rev. Gandolph, O.F.M., Files of the Franciscan Fathers, 
April 20, 1957. 

15. O’Reilly, Rev. P. J., S.T.D., Files of St. Edmund*s Parish, 

April 5, 1957. 

16. Scott, L.C., Edmonton City Hall, Enumeration Statistics, 

July 25, 1957. 

17. Interview with Rt. Rev. M. J. 0*Gorman, Pastor, Sacred Heart 
Parish, May 8, 1957. 

18. The Rectors were as follows; Father Joseph Grenier, S.J., 

1913 - 1914; Father Xavier Renaud, S.J., 1914 - 1920; Father 

F. Descoteux, S.J., 1920 - 1921; Father E. Roy, S.J., 1922 - 1923; 
Father Jean Ivan d’Orsonnens, S.J., 1923 - 1927. Father Orsonnens 
was pastor when the new St. Andrew’s Church was acquired. During 
his term as pastor he was also Rector of the Jesuit College. All 
of those who served as pastors were either teaching or doing 
administrative work at the Jesuit College. 

19. Legal, op. cit. , p. 41. 

20. Interview with Rev. E, Doyle, J.C.D., May 12, 1957. 

21. O’Neil, Rev. R. J., Pastor, Assumption Parish of Bonnie Doon, 

March 7, 1957. 



m 



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59 


CHAPTER IV 

PARISHES ESTABLISHED SINCE 1920 

During the First World War, economic conditions were good. Job 
opportunities and markets were plentiful. Industry was paying high 
wages and thousands flocked to the towns and cities for work. 

Thousands of men went into the armed forces. Since the enlistment 
rate in Western Canada was very high, the casualty rate was also high. 
Because of this there were serious social changes in many communities 
following the war. The farmer was in a favored position since he had 
ready markets for his produce and government controls were somewhat 
in his favor. The prevailing inflation helped to keep him in a strong 
economic position. However, after 191B, the economic strength of the 
farmer began to wane. Government controls were quickly abandoned 
since people resented them highly. 

Possibly the two greatest problems facing the country at the end 
of World War I were the rehabilitation of the returned men, and the 
readjustment of the country to peacetime conditions. In agriculture, 
one form of rehabilitation was the soldier settlement plan which was 
generally successful. In the provincial field Alberta was given control 
over its own natural resources. In religion, the most noticeable change 
was the fusion of many Methodists and Presbyterians to form the United 
Church of Canada in 1925. Education did not undergo any marked changes 
during the inter-war period except in the universities where graduate 
training and scientific research were given considerable impetus. 

The arrival of Archbishop 0 1 Leary in Edmonton in December of 1920 
marked the beginning of a new era in the history of Roman Catholicism 


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60 


here. The period of the missionary was definitely long past in 
Edmonton and there was a severe shortage of secular clergy to serve 
the city parishes. Archbishop O’Leary soon began to rectify the 
situation by bringing in secular clergy from Eastern Canada, and 
from England and Ireland. During the twenties many young men came 
West at the invitation of Archbishop 0*Leary to study for the priest¬ 
hood. Those who came, many of whom are still doing excellent work in 
Edmonton, were secular clergy. With the acquisition of St. Joseph*s 
Seminary in 1927, the problem of supplying a sufficient number of 
diocesan priests was less acute than formerly. 

St. Mary* s Parish in Beverly was officially established in 1921. 
However, the first record of a Baptism there goes back to 1915. At 
that time the Franciscan Fathers of North Edmonton were looking after 
the district. Father Ethelbert, O.F.M., was in charge of the mission 
in 1916. Another Franciscan, Father Martin, looked after the district 
from 1917 to 1930. The first Roman Catholic Church in Beverly was on 
117 Avenue and 38 Street. In 1953 this was sold to the Ukrainian 
Catholics and those of the Latin Rite moved to a temporary structure 
on 46 Street and 118 Avenue. Until 1953, the parish was served by 
secular priests, by the Franciscans and the Redemptorists. The present 
pastor is Reverend H. B. Peet.^ 

A new missionary and preaching Order arrived in Edmonton on 
February 24, 1924* The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, more 
familiarly known as the Redemptorists, came at the invitation of 
Archbishop O’Leary. Theytook over the operation of a newly established 
parish, and chose for its patron, St. Alphonsus, the Founder of the 
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. The Reverend Fathers J. Claran 





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and T. J. 0*3ullivan were the first Redemptorists here* The first 
pastor of the new parish was Reverend C. 0 ! Hara, C.Ss.R. During the 
months of preparation in the new parish the Fathers lived at Sacred 
Heart Rectory. 

The first church and rectory were located on the property on 85 
Street. Two frame schools had been purchased from the Edmonton Public 
School Board. Alterations were made and the rectory was occupied on 
September 16, 1924* On October 26 St. Alphonsus Church was blessed by 
Archbishop 0*Leary. Solemn High Mass was celebrated by Reverend M. J. 

0*Gorman, with Reverend M. C. 0*Hara, C.Ss 0 R., as deacon, and Reverend 
Father Hyacinth, O.F.M., as sub-deacon. The permanent establishment of 
the Redemptorists in Edmonton was certainly a welcome addition, for 
many new parishes needed a greater degree of attention if they were to 
develop properly. 

In 1942, when the parishioners of St. Alphonsus paid off their parish 
debt for the old church, plans w ere drawn up for the construction of a 
new parish church and a building fund was instituted. Another milestone 
in the history of the parish was reached in 1945 when the Vice-Province 
of the Redemptorists in Western Canada located in Edmonton. On August 30, 
1945, the Very Reverend Gabriel Ehman, C.Ss.R., took up residence at 
St. Alphonsus. In 194&, the Redemptorist parish boundaries were re-arranged 
in agreement with the Franciscan Fathers of St. Anthony , s College. 

A Building Fund Campaign was held in 1951 under the leadership of 
Father Cunningham, C.Ss.R. A general parish meeting was held in April of 
1951 in order to discuss the possibility of starting work on the new 
church. Though the church had been planned since 1942, the Shortage of 
money and materials and the continued high costs of construction had 


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62 


delayed its beginnings. The increased growth in that section of the 
city, however, made the building of a new church imperative. The 
first sod for the new church was turned on June 1, 1952, by His Grace, 
Archbishop MacDonald. Excavation began on June 2, and the cornerstone 
was laid by Archbishop MacDonald on August 10. The new St. Alphonsus 
Church was officially opened on April 19, 1953, with the Solemn 
Blessing given by Archbishop MacDonald, followed by a Solemn High Mass 
celebrated by Very Reverend John J. Cunningham, C.Ss.R .2 

Encouraged and directed by Archbishop MacDonald and Reverend 
Thomas Mangan, C.Ss.R., a group of men in St. Alphonsus parish began 
a study of Credit Union principles in 1937 and were granted a 
provincial charter in March of 1938. This was the first Credit Union 
in Alberta and was named the Mangan Credit Union in honor of Reverend 
Thomas Mangan, C.Ss.R., of St. Alphonsus.^ 

The first collection of shares amounted to only $14o25, but by 
March of 1953 their assets totalled over #50,000. Most of the larger 
city parishes now have their own credit unions, each one being 
operated by the pastor, assisted by competent laymen. This organization, 
introduced here by Archbishop MacDonald, has proven its worth in every 
parish in which it is efficiently organized. Members of parish credit 
unions have more or less of a personal interest in the organization. 

This fact, coupled with a low interest rate and a generous system of 
insurance, makes the credit union ideal for a parish. 

From the time of their arrival in Edmonton, until 1938, the 
Redemptorist Fathers were in charge of several outlying parishes and 
missions such as those at Hastings Lake, Tofield, Holden, Bruce and 
Gibbons. In 1938, some of the parishes under their charge were taken 



63 


over by priests of the Archdiocese. Using Sdmonton as their base 
of operations, the Redemptorists rendered invaluable aid to the 
Archdiocese when there was a scarcity of secular priests for the 
same work* 

When tiiey arrived in Edmonton with their Superior, Reverend 
Charles O'Hara, C*Ss.R., they were to act as a centre for missionary 
work in the Archdiocese and to care for the newly-created St* 
Alphonsus Parish, Their duties have grown to include serving as the 
headquarters of the Redemptorist Order in Western Canada, operating 
a mission centre for the preaching of missions in Edmonton and 
throughout the northern Diocese, and finally, providing for their 
parish work at St* Alphonsus* For some years St. Clare's Parish and 
St. Mary’s Parish in Beverly were served from St. Alphonsus until 
they became large enough to warrant a permanent pastor. Besides 
their other duties the Redemptorists care for Uncas, Edson, the Coal 
Branch, and have a Community at Athabasca* There are eight priests 
and one brother of the Redemptorist Order in Edmonton at the present 
time.^ 

The erection of a cathedral church in any diocese is always an 
event in which the clergy and the people take great pride. To them 
it represents permanency and stability. The diocese has come of age, 
so to speak. This is true no matter where or under what conditions 
it may occur. It was true in St. Albert in 1871; the small log chapel 
of Father Lacombe became the cathedral of Bishop Grandin* In itself, 
the building was of little value. However, the significance of such 
a move by the Church meant that Christianity had made another bold 


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Plans for the building of a new cathedral in St. Albert were 
changed in 191? when the Diocese of St. Albert became the Archdiocese 
of Edmonton. Soon after Archbishop Legal moved to Edmonton and St. 
Anthony's Church was designated as the Pro-Cathedral. The excavation 
for the basement of a new cathedral was made at 109 Street and 83 
Avenue. Under Archbishop O'Leary this plan was changed# He was 
convinced that the future growth of the city would be mainly on the 
north side of the river and he chose St. Joseph's as the Cathedral 
Parish# At that time the people of St. Joseph's Parish were still 
attending St. Joachim's# 

The crypt for the cathedral of the Archdiocese was formally 
opened on March 22, 1925. Work on its construction had begun in 
June, 1924. The original plans for the basement and superstructure 
could not be followed. Because of limited finances, only the basement 
was attempted, in the hope that the cathedral itself would follow not 
long afterward^. The building of the cathedral crypt fulfilled a 
long-felt need on the part of the English-speaking members of the 
parish. It also relieved the Oblate Fathers of St. Joachim's from 
serious overcrowding problems. 

St. Joseph's Parish actually began in December of 1913. 

Members of the new parish were attending St. Joachim's Church and 
were to continue doing so until 1925. Much of the organizing 
for the new parish was done by Father Cozanet, O.M.I. As previously 
mentioned, many new settlers had arrived in Edmonton during the pre¬ 
war boom. Even though five Masses were being celebrated each Sunday, 
St. Joachim's Church could not accommodate the increasing number of 
parishioners. Since a land division was not feasible, a division of 




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the parish was made according to language. A committee was organized 

to make a division of property which had formerly been under one 

parish. The committee brought in the report that the French-speaking 

"retain the old church and all accessories, assume the debt of 

$20,700 standing against it, in addition to paying the English- 

speaking parish the sum of $6,000." Both parties were to have a 

6 

half interest in the cemetery and in the lots behind St. Joachim 1 s 
Church. This arrangement was approved by Archbishop Legal and 
St. Joseph*s had a canonical existence, but no church. The First 
World War delayed any immediate hopes of building, so for the 
remainder of their stay at St. Joachim’s, the English-speaking 
attended services as a group and the French-speaking did the same. 

Much of the ground work for the actual building of the new 
church was done by Father Patton, O.M.I., Under him, a committee 
comprised of the Honorable Judge N. D. Beck, H. J. Roche, T. J. Ducey, 
J.T.J. Cpllison, and F. W. Doherty, were elected to consider the 
building program. Lots were purchased at the corner of 113 Street 
and Jasper Avenue; construction began in 1924 and the new cathedral 
crypt for the Archdiocese was opened on March 22, 192.5. The debt on 
this basement was paid in full in December of 1941* Immediately afterward 
the parish began a building fund for the superstructure^ The years of 
World War II and those closely following were prosperous ones. Thus, 
in January of 1957, Archbishop MacDonald was able to appoint a committee 
to begin plans for the new cathedral. On July 4, 1957, a contract was 
signed by Archbishop MacDonald and Henri S. Lobelle, a Montreal 
architect, to draw plans for the new cathedral. 

St. Joseph’s Cathedral has had a distinguished line of Rectors. 


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The first. Father McGuigan, (1925 - 1927), is now Cardinal McGuigan 
of Toronto* Father Nelligan, (1927 - 1937), who succeeded Monsignor 
McGuigan, is now Bishop Nelligan of Assumption University in Windsor. 
Father Jennings, (1937 - 1941), is now Bishop Jennings of Fort William, 
Ontario. Father M. G. 0’Neill, (1946 - 194S), is now Archbishop 0*Neill 
of Regina. For a period during World War II, the parish was under His 
Grace, Archbishop MacDonald; later still. Monsignor Carleton, the Vicar- 
General of the Archdiocese. Such a record from one parish is remarkable 
It is definitely an indication of the high calibre of successive pastors 
certainly, they were men who had the necessary ability and qualities to 
provide sound diocesan leadership. Since 194&, the Rector has been 
Reverend J. Malone. He is assisted by Reverend W. Irwin, Reverend F. 
Patsula, and Reverend E. Crough who is attached to the Chancery Office. 
Monsignor Malone is the first native of Edmonton to be ordained for 
the Archdiocese. He was raised to the rank of Monsignor in December 
of 1956* Roman Catholics in Edmonton take justifiable pride in the 
fact that one of Canada*s two Cardinals, His Eminence, James Cardinal 
McGuigan, was at one time the Rector of St. Joseph’s Cathedral. 

Indeed, this was only one of the many important positions held by 
Father McGuigan during his stay here. 

After arriving in the West, he was successively at St. Anthony’s, 
Pro-Cathedral as Secretary to Archbishop O’Leary, curate to Father 
Carleton cf St. Anthony’s, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, and Vicar- 
General. From 1923 to 1925 he was Chancellor of the Archdiocese. 

He was made Vicar-General the day after his twenty-ninth birthday in 
November of 1923, Rector of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, 1927 - 1930; 

Rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary, 1927 - 1930. In addition, he had been 




67 


a Dean of the Edmonton district and a diocesan consultor. In 
recognition for his eminent services he was raised to the rank of a 
Prothnotary Apostolic in September of 1927, at the age of thirty-two. 
On February 17, 1930, he was appointed Archbishop of Regina. At 
this time he was only thirty-five years of age; this made him one 
of the youngest Archbishops in the world. He was consecrated in 
St, Joseph’s Cathedral on May 15, 1930, by Archbishop 0*Leary, 
assisted by Archbishop Beliveau of St. Boniface and Bishop Kidd of 
Calgary, 

James McG-uigan was born on November 26, 1S94, at Hunter River, 
Prince Edward Island. He received his early education there, later 
attending Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan’s University in 
Charlottetown. He graduated with honors from St. Dunstan's in 1914* 
In the same year he entered Laval Theological Seminary and finished 
the four year course with highest honors in 191S, He was ordained 
in the same year by Bishop O’Leary at Rustico, Prince Edward Island. 
For the first year of his priesthood he was Professor of Natural 
Sciences at St. Dunstan’s University. In 1919, he was appointed 
Secretary to Bishop O’Leary and came West with him in 1940* Father 
McGuigan arrived in Edmonton on December 7, 1920. The following 
day saw the installation of Archbishop O’Leary at St. Joachim’s 
Church. He remained as Secretary to Archbishop O’Leary for some 
time, living at first in temporary quarters which have since 
disappeared. In 1921, both moved to the rectory of St, Anthony’s 
Church, previously served by the Oblates. Also, in 1921, he was 
made Chancellor of the Archdiocese, and in 1923, Vicar-General. The 
first Rector of the newly completed St. Joseph’s Cathedral in 1925 


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was Father McCuigan. He remained there until 1927, living in a 
small rented house on 114 Street# Of this period, Cardinal McGuigan 
says, "I have the happiest memories of these years because I cannot 
remember at any time any unpleasantness. The people were supremely 
co-operative and wanted to do everything to help me and my assistants.” 
In 1927, he was asked by Archbishop 0*Leary to take over the Rectorship 
of the newly acquired St. Josephus Seminary. Certain problems, 
including a shortage of staff, had to be overcome before the work 
there could reach the desired level of proficiency. He remained there 
until his consecration as Archbishop of Regina on May 15, 1930. 

During the same period he was also Vicar-General of the Archdiocese. 

Besides filling the offices mentioned he travelled extensively 
throughout the Archdiocese during his first few years* At times he 
served as a missionary priest, working west toward Spruce Grove, and 
east as far as Tofield* As Secretary to the Archbishop, he had often 
accompanied him on his pastoral visits. As Vicar-General, he also 
had occasion to visit priests and to bless churches. At that time 
the Diocese of St. Paul was also included in the Archdiocese of 
Edmonton. Consequently, Cardinal McGuigan had a first hand knowledge 
of the Archdiocese. Of the period of time he spent in Edmonton, 
Cardinal McGuigan says, “I gladly enshrine the memories of my stay 
in Edmonton within the sanctuary of my heart and my only memories 
of the work I did there are filled with consolations and gratitude 
to all those, whether priests, religious or laity with whom I came 
in contact.”^ 

The second Rector of St* Joseph*s Cathedral was Reverend C. L. 
Nelligan, at present the Most Reverend Charles Leo Nelligan, D.D., 


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69 


Titular Bishop of Fenice. 

Bishop Nelligan was born in Tignish, Prince Edward Island, 
on August 19, 1894* Having received his early education at the 
Tignish Grammar School, he later attended Prince of Males College 
and Normal School in Charlottetown where he received a First Class 
Teacher's Certificate* He taught school for one year in Lower 
Waterford School District; he spent two years as principal of 
Tignish Grammar School, and two years as principal of Alberton High 
School. Bishop Nelligan also taught in Saskatchewan, two years at 
Ponteix and one year at Tramping Lake* ^In 1919 he returned to 
Charlottetown where he taught for two years at St. Patrick's Boys 
School and at the same time studied for his Bachelor of Arts degree 
from St. Dunstan's University. In the fall of 1921 he entered the 
Grand Seminary at Quebec where he completed his theological course 
with the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1925. He was ordained by 
Bishop O'Leary of Charlottetown on June 7, 1925, in St, Simon and Jude 
Parish, Tignish. 

Immediately after ordination Bishop Nelligan came to Edmonton 
where he was appointed assistant at St. Joseph's Cathedral. In 192S 
he succeeded Monsignor McGuigan as Rector of the Cathedral and in 
1930 was made Vicar-General, being raised to the rank of Monsignor 
at the same time. His twelve years in Edmonton were spent largely 
in parish work at St. Joseph's Cathedral. The foundations for most 
of the present parish organizations were laid at that time. During 
the illness of Archbishop O'Leary a large part of the burden of 
diocesan administration fell to his lot as Vicar-General. 

He was appointed Bishop of Pembroke an his birthday, August 19, 1937, 


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and consecrated in St. Joseph’s Cathedral October 28 by Archbishop 
O’Leary, assisted by Archbishop .McGuigan and Archbishop MacDonald* 

He was installed as Bishop of Pembroke on November 11, and in 
September, 1939, was given the added charge of Principal Catholic 
Chaplain of the Canadian Armed Forces. Illness forced his resigna¬ 
tion as Bishop of Pembroke in 1944, and at the same time he retired 
from the Armed Forces with the rank of Brigadier. 

At present. Bishop Nelligan is lecturing on a full time basis 
at Assumption University, Windsor, Ontario. He made a visit to 
Edmonton in September of 1956 on the occasion of Archbishop MacDonald’s 
Golden Jubilee. Of his visit here Bishop Nelligan says, ’’The 
impressive new seminary, the architecturally beautiful and practical 
new churches, the spacious, well-equipped and efficiently staffed 
schools, bear witness to administrative wisdom and foresight and to 
appreciative generous interest on the part of the faithful.”^ 

The third Rector of St. Joseph’s Cathedral was Reverend E. Q* 
Jennings, at present the Most Reverend Edward Quentin Jennings, D.D., 
Bishop of Fort William. Bishop Jennings was born in Saint John, 

New Brunswick in October of 1896* He received his early education 
there* During the First World War he served overseas with the 
Canadian Army, being wounded at Vimy and Passchendale. Following 
the war he took his Bachelor of Arts degree at St. Francis Xavier 
University and then entered the seminary, first in Halifax, then in 
Edmonton. He was ordained on December 27, 1925, at Immaculate 
Conception Cathedral in S&int oJohn. Within a very short time he 
came West* 

From January to June of 1926 he attended the Calgary Normal 


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School, working towards a Teaching Certificate* From June of 1926 
until March of. 1927 he was Assistant Director of the Shevchenko 
Institute* Leaving there in March of 1927, he was named Assistant 
to Monsignor McGuigan at St* Joseph’s Cathedral. During the same 
year he joined the staff of St* Joseph’s Seminary where he remained 
three years as an Instructor in Philosophy* From 1928 to 1934 he 
was Secretary to the Archbishop. He was named pastor of St. Andrew’s 
Parish in 1928 and remained there until September of 1930 when he 
was appointed to the'staff of St. Joseph’s High School. From 1934 
until 1941 he was Chancellor, and from 1937 to 1941 he was also 
Rector of St. Joseph’s Cathedral* Father Jennings joined the Royal 
Canadian Air Force as a Chaplain in 1940. From August of 1940 
until April of 1941, he was Command Chaplain at No. 2 Training 
Command in Winnipeg* On March 25, 1941, he was appointed Titular 
Bishop of Sala and Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Vancouver* His 
consecration took place at St. Joseph’s Cathedral on June 11, 1942.^ 
During his fifteen years in Edmonton Bishop Jennings held a 
variety of positions, a tribute to his versatility. In that period 
of time he filled the roles of: student, teacher, professor, 
secretary, pastor, curate, chaplain and Chancellor. As usual, there 
was a shortage of secular clergy, but it was fortunate for the 
Catholics of Edmonton that there were men like Bishop Jennings upon 
whom the Archbishop could always rely* 

The Rector of St. Joseph’s Cathedral from September of 1946 to 
April of 1943, was the Right Reverend M. C. O’Neill, the present 
Archbishop of Regina. Archbishop O’Neill was born in Ottawa on 
February 15, 1893* He received his early education at Kemptville 



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and Vankleek Hill in Ontario. From 1916 to 1919 he served in the 
27th Battery, Royal Canadian Army, and was awarded the Military 
Medal in 1913. Following the war he enrolled at St. Michael's 
College at the University of Toronto and graduated with his Bachelor 
of Arts degree in 1924* In the same year he enrolled at St. Augustine's 
Seminary to study with the view of serving in the Archdiocese of 
Edmonton. Ordained in 1927, he came to Edmonton in 1928 where he was 
appointed to the staff of St. Joseph's Seminary. After the appoint¬ 
ment of M Q nsignor McGuigan as Archbishop of Regina, Father O'Neill 
was named professor of Sacred Scripture and Rector of the Seminary. 

He retained these posts until the outbreak of the Second World War 
when he enlisted as Chaplain. 

In December of 1939* he went overseas with the Loyal Edmonton 
Regiment and in 1940 was named Senior Chaplain of the First Division. 

He was appointed Senior Catholic Chaplain Overseas in May of 1941« 
Following the cessation of hostilities in 1945* he was appointed 
principal Catholic Chaplain with headquarters in Ottawa. Shortly 
afterwards he received the Military Award of the Order of the British 

Empire and Pope Pius XII gave him the rank of Domestic Prelate. 

Monsignor O'Neill returned to Edmonton in 1946 and became Rector 
of St. Joseph's Cathedral, a post he held until his appointment as 
Archbishop in December, 1943. He was consecrated Archbishop of Regina 
on April 14, 1943, in St. Joseph's Cathedral. The consecrator was 
Cardinal McGuigan of Toronto, assisted by Archbishop MacDonald of 
Edmonton and Archbishop Roy of Quebec. He was the fourth Rector of 
St. Joseph's Cathedral to be appointed to the Church hierarchy within 
a space of little more than twenty years. 


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The residence of the Archbishop and of the Cathedral Rector 

and his Assistants -was completed in 1928* It is located immediately 

south of the Cathedral. Previous to moving here. Archbishop 0 ! Leary 

had lived at St. Anthony’s Glebe on the ’’South Side.” St. Anthony’s 

was then known as a ”Pro-Cathedral.” From 1925 to 1928 the Cathedral 

Rectory was located in a private residence on 114 Street, a short 

distance from the Cathedral. The Chancellor of the Archdiocese, 

Reverend E. Doyle, also has his office located in the residence* 

The growth of the city of Edmonton was clearly shown in the 

creation of St. Andrew’s Parish during the autumn of 1927* It was 

established by Archbishop O’Leary in order to care for the Catholics 

of the rapidly growing west end district. Since 1913 this area had 

been served by the Fathers of the Jesuit College. Within the space 

14 

of a few years it became evident that the College Chapel could not 
accommodate the increasing congregation. A building in North 
Edmonton was purchased and moved to the corner of 111 Avenue and the 
St. Albert Trail. The parishioners worked to provide a basement for 
the building which was blessed in 1927 by the Apostolic Delegate, 
Andrea Cassulo, and was given the name of his patron. Saint Andrew .^ 
The first priests to serve the new St. Andrew’s Parish usually 
came from St. Joseph’s Cathedral; they were Father Jennings, Father 
Nelligan, and Father Joseph Murphy. In 1929, Father Jennings was 
appointed pastor. Being appointed to the staff of St. Joseph’s 
High School in 1930, he was replaced at St. Andrew’s by Father Timothy 
Ryan. Father Ryan remained as pastor until 1943. During his stay 
there a rectory was built and the church was bricked in and extended 
by a sacristy and a choir loft. He enlisted as a Chaplain in the 


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Royal Canadian Air Force during the war. A beloved pastor. Father 
Ryan's death in 1943$after a lingering illness, saddened the entire 
parish.^ 

On January 1, 1944* the third pastor of St. Andrew's, Reverend 
Mark Murphy, took up residence there. He had been teaching in 
St. Joseph's High School. At present he is still pastor of St. 
Andrew's, and is assisted by Reverend R. Leonard and Reverend P. J. 
Connelly ^ 

During the early 1920's the church could not accommodate the 
increasing crowds, despite various methods adopted to cope with the 
situation. As the discomfort and inconvenience of the congregation 
increased a new building was deemed imperative. Ever since the end 
of the war St. Andrew's Parish has been experiencing growing pains. 
The population of the city was increasing steadily and with the 
discovery of the Leduc Oil field a flood of new families came to 
Edmonton. Problems of housing, traffic, public utilities, schools 
and churches, were magnified tremendously. These problems are still 
with us and will be for some years to come. 

The first sod for the present St. Andrew's Church was turned on 
March 20, 1955; the blessing of the cornerstone by the Vicar-General, 
Monsignor Carleton, took place on June 5, 1955* Following the 
blessing of the Church by Archbishop MacDonald on December 24, 1955* 
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was first offered by Father Mark 
Murphy on Christmas Day. Officially, the church was opened on 
February 6, 1956. It is located directly west of the old one, on 
the corner of 111 Avenue and the St. Albert Trail. Simple in 
architectural design, the new church is one which blends the best 











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75 


of the traditional and modern styles in church architecture, 

A parish .whose growth has been closely connected with that of 
the Cathedral parish is St, Theresa’s, It is located on the Ross 
Flats and until 1929 people living there were members of the 
Cathedral parish. This is the oldest settled region of the city, 
but it is a region which has never been heavily populated. Even 
while Fort Edmonton was still in existence, early settlement outside 
the Fort was in a northwesterly direction. Old pictures of the city 
show that the vicinity of today’s Misericordia Hospital was one of 
the first to be heavily settled. 

Catholics in the Ross Flats were supplied with a chapel in 
1929, when a combination school and chapel was opened by Monsignor 
McGuigan. The pupils of the school were taught by a Sister of 
Providence from Rosary Hall. A church was acquired for the Ross 
Flats in 1944* Under the direction of Archbishop MacDonald, 

Reverend E. Doyle, then serving the mission of Redwater, had J. D. 
Beaton, a contractor, take down the church at Redwater, This church 
had been built in 1923 by Monsignor Hughes. It was moved into the 
city to serve the newly created parish of St, Theresa’s. An interesting 
note about this movement was that a family named Robert had been 
members of St. Clare’s Parish in Redwater, the parish from which the 
building had been moved. Shortly after the church had been moved to 
Edmonton, the Robert family also moved to the city and found themselves 
attending the same church. The first pastor was the late Reverend M. 
Leamy who had been pastor of the Assumption Parish in Bonnie Doon, The 
present pastor is Reverend R. 2. Britton. 

The steady westward growth of the city can be seen in the number 


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of new parishes erected in the west end of the city* Metropolitan 
Edmonton is a huge area; if the proposed amalgamation with Beverly and 
Jasper Place occurs the city's population will be suddenly increased. 
Such an increase occurred in 1912 with the amalgamation of Edmonton 
and Strathcona. Beverly and Jasper Place are rapidly growing towns. 

In both areas the parish priests face the problem of accommodation 
for the increasing numbers in churches and schools. 

One of the parishes established in order to cope with the 
westward expansion of the city was that of St. John the Evangelist, 
in 1943* Reverend W. E. Doyle was pastor from 1943 to 1946* In 
1946 he was succeeded by Reverend J. W. Malone who remained until 
1949 when he was appointed Rector of St. Joseph's Cathedral. The 
first Baptism in the parish was on January 7* 1944* The present 
pastor. Reverend Adolphus Gillis, came to the parish in 1949. He is 
assisted by Reverend Angus MacRae. 

A new parish rectory was built in 1952, and with the continued 
increase in the size of the parish, preparations were started in 1955 
for the construction of a new church. The old church had become too 
small within the comparatively short space of twelve years. Actual 
work on the new church began in October of 1956 and it is expected 
to be ready for occupancy in September of 1957* The Roman Catholic 
Separate School District of Jasper Place was organized in 1953 . q 

St. Clare's Parish, which was established in 1945* is in the 
eastern section of the city. For a few years just previous to 1945 
the Redemptorist Fathers had been serving St. Mary's Parish in 
Beverly. In 1945 they made an arrangement with the Franciscan 
Fathers whereby they would care for some of the Franciscan territory 


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between Avenues 120 to 126, south of the railroad tracks, from 90 
to 75 Street. • The Redemptorists turned over to them the territory- 
east of 75 to 55 Street, between 120 Avenue and the North Saskatchewan 
River. St. Clare’s Parish was established by this exchange between 
the Redemptorists and Franciscans. It was first served by Father 
John Forest, O.F.M., who bought an H-hut from the Royal Canadian 
Air Force, had a basement dug and the H-hut put up to serve as a 
church. The present pastor. Reverend D. W. Martin, was appointed 
in 1953 . 2 q 

In another and older section of the city, growing pains were 
also being experienced. Sacred Heart Parish, an original offspring 
of Immaculate Conception Parish, was noi^ ready to send forth roots 
of its own. Again we see that the rapid growth of an area necessita¬ 
ted the building of a new church. The new St. Patrick’s Parish began 
officially on January 1, 1951. However, Mass had been offered to 
residents of the area since December 8, 1934* when Father Foran of 
Sacred Heart offered Mass in a room of the Fairview School. Mass 
was held there until the opening of the new church. Work on the new 
building was started in September of 1949# The church was blessed 
and dedicated by Archbishop MacDonald on June 11, 1950. Its first 
and present pastor. Reverend E. Donahue, had formerly been teaching 
at St. Joseph T s Seminary. He is assisted by Reverend Kenneth Kearns, 

A rectory was built in 1954. The parish is served by two Separate 
Schools, St. Patrick’s,opened in 1946, formerly the Fairview School 
which began in 1917* and St. Basil’s, which opened in 1953. Sacred 
Heart Parish also received new schools during this postwar period. 
Sacred Heart Annex in 1947* and St. Michael’s in 1948. 


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Another parish which came into being because of crowded 

conditions in an older parish was that of St, James the Great, on 

December 14, 1952, Prior to this. Mass had been offered in St, 

James School since September of 1948; and later, from December of 

1951j in the basement of the new church. The first Administrator 

for the new parish was Reverend G. Tetrault, of St, John’s 

College, He was succeeded in 1950 by Reverend E. 0. Drouin, 0,M,I, 

They catered to all Roman Catholics living in the King Edward Park 

area. Located on 77 Avenue and 85 Street, the new parish really had 

its beginnings as a type of "relief chapel" for St. Anthony ! s. The 

new church here was made necessary because of the growth of the area 

and its distance from the parent St, Anthony’s Church. Under Fathers 

Tetrault and Drouin, all collection proceeds from the families in the 

district were sent to St. Anthony 1 s. 

Early in 1951 it was felt that a new church was an absolute 

necessity. This was started under the temporal administration of 

Reverend J. W. Burke. The new territory was cut off from St. Anthony’s 

in January of 1951. The actual decision to build a new church was 

arrived at in March of 1951# It was to be a church with a seating 

capacity of 350, The necessary lots for building were given over to 

the new parish by Archbishop MacDonald. During 1951 the newly 

organized Men’s Club looked after many of the details connected with 

the building of the church. Father E. 0. Drouin, O.M.I., cared for 

the spiritual welfare of the people while Father Burke of Immaculate 

Heart Parish looked after financial details, as well as weddings and 
23 

funerals. Baptisms were administered by Father Drouin in St. John’s 
College Chapel. Due to the pressure of his own parish activities 


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Feather Burke was forced to relinquish his role as administrator 

of the growing parish* Before leaving, he donated a set of Stations 

for use in the new church. In March of 1952 Father Drouin took over 

as full administrator. He remained until December of 1952 when the 

present pastor, M. McAnally, was appointed. The parish school. 

King Edward Park, later to be known as St. James School, was first 

ooened in 1946*,. 

24 

An event of special importance in the history of the Roman 
Catholic clergy of Edmonton occurred on June 13, 1928, at St. 

Joseph 1 s Seminary. It was the first conference of the clergy in 
this district, and it was unique in that it showed definite progress 
in the growth of the Catholic Church here. Previously, there had 
not been a suffid. ent number of secular clergy to warrant such a 
conference. Now, under the influence of Archbishop O'Leary, their 
numbers were growing 

During the years of World War II, despite the scarcity of 
clergy, a large number from the Edmonton area served in the Armed 
Forces. Not only was there a large number of enlistments, but the 
quality and high calibre of those who served must also be remembered. ^ 

Eleven of the Chaplains served overseas during World War II. 

Those posted in Canada helped local pastors and on some occasions 
acted as pastors for periods of time. The Very Reverend M. C. 0*Neill 
became Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain overseas. He had also 
served in World War I, before entering the seminary, and had won 
the Military Medal for bravery. Very popular with' the troops in 
World War II, he was affectionately called "Father Mike." Reverend 
Joseph Malone and Reverend J. A. MacLellan both attained the rank 




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of Lieutenant-Colonel. Following the war, Lieutenant-Colonel 
MacLellan served as Principal Homan Catholic Chaplain for Military 
District No. 6, Halifax. In 1946, he served for two months at 
Headquarters in Ottawa during the Principal Chaplain’s tour of 
duty overseas. 

One can easily imagine the sacrifice made by Archbishop 
MacDonald in giving up twenty-three of his clergy to the Armed 
Forces. Even today, when there are a few more priests available, 
it would seriously deplete the ranks. Such men as those who 
enlisted would be hard to replace at any time. Educated and 
experienced, they represented a total of many years of learning, 
as students and as priests. On a per capita basis, the Archdiocese 
of Edmonton had a higher ratio of priests who enlisted than any 
other diocese in Canada. 

At present, there are three priests from the Archdiocese 
serving in the Armed Forces: Reverend J. Lavoie, Canadian Army; 
Reverend A. Dittrich, Royal Canadian Air Force; and Reverend John 
MacNeil, Royal Canadian Air Force^ 

The tremendous growth of Edmonton can also be seen in the 

number of new parishes erected in the last decade. Since 1950, in 

addition to the parishes of St. James the Great and the Immaculate 

Heart of Mary, five other new parishes have been established. They 

are: Ste. Anne’s, St. Pius X. St. Agnes, St. Michael the Archangel, 
28 2$ & 30 6 31 

and the Lithuanian Mission. 

32 

Fifteen of the twenty-three Roman Catholic parishes in Edmonton 
have been established since 1920. When one considers the fact that 
the entire district was served by St, Joachim’s until 1S95> one is 


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forced to concede that a faster than usual rate of growth has occurred 

in Edmonton, One must also note that the growth in the number of city 

parishes has been a growth which closely parallelled that of the city. 

In 1899 there were two parishes, St, Joachim*s and St. Anthony*s, 

serving the city. The population of Edmonton proper at that time was 

2,212, In 1901 the combined population of Edmonton and Strathcona was 

4,176. In July of 1957, the city*s population was 238,353. Of that 

33 

number there are slightly more than 49,000 Roman Catholics. They are 
being served by twenty-three parish churches and St. Anne's Chapel, 
served from Sacred Heart Parish, Each year there are approximately 
2,000 Catholics moving into Edmonton. Needless to say, they must be 
cared for in regards to their spiritual welfare. This sustained 
growth has forced church authorities here to establish new parishes 
and build new churches. In some churches, including a few built 
within the last decade, there are problems of overcrowding at Sunday 
Masses. For Roman Catholics, the growth has been indeed gratifying. 

They face the problem now of planning and building for the future; 
thus far, that problem has been wisely met and provided for. Here, 
as in most Canadian cities, Roman Catholics are a minority group. 

Yet their growth in numbers and in influence has been singularly free 
of bitterness or antagonism from larger or more influential groups. 

This speaks well for the tolerant spirit of this province. 

1, Some of those in charge of St. Mary's Parish down through the years 
were: Reverend M. Connelly, 1930 - 1932; Reverend L. G. Walravens, 
1936 - 1941; the Redemptorists, 1941 - 194S; Reverend John Forest, 
O.F.M., 1948 - 1953. In 1953 the parish received its first resident 
pastor. Reverend Henry B. Peet. The first Separate School in the 
parish was opened in September of 1956, and solemnly blessed by 
Archbishop Jordan on March 24, 1957. (Rev. Henry B. Peet, Pastor, 
March 20, 1957.) 


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82 


2. Johnson, Rev. Bernard, C.Ss.R., Files of St. Alphonsus Parish, 

March 25, 1957* The first person to be baptized in St. Alphonsus 
Parish was Mary Elizabeth Murphy on January 11, 1925. The first 
wedding was that of Murdock Montrose MacKenzie and Mary Cecilia 
Keagan, on November 30, 1924. 

3. Souvenir pamphlet of the Solemn Blessins and Opening Ceremonies 
of St. Alphonsus Church, April 19, 1953* 

4* Langi, Rev. D., C.Ss.R., Superior, Redemptorist Fathers, March 15, 1957* 

5. Interview with Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D., February 9, 1957. 

6. The Western Catholic . March 19, 1925, vol. 5, p. 2 

7. Ibid. 

8. Archdiocesan Chancery, Archdiocese of Toronto. (Letter from 

His Eminence, James Cardinal McGuigan, D.D., to author. May 7> 1957* 

9* Ibid . 

10. Assumption University, Windsor, Ontario. (Letter from His 
Excellency, The Most Reverend C. L. Nelligan, D.D., to author, 

June 15, 1957.) 

11. Ibid . 

12. Bishop*s Residence, Fort William, Ontario. (Letter from His 
Excellency, The Most Reverend E. Q. Jennings, D.D., to author. 

May 7, 1957.) 

13. Chancery Office, Regina, Saskatchewan. (Letter from His Grace, The 
Most Reverend M. C. O'Neill, D.D., to author. May 10, 1957.) 

14. The parish was named in honor of St. Francis Xavier, the famous 
Far-Eastern missionary of the 16th Century, who also belonged to 
the Society of Jesus. 

15. The Western Catholic . March 1, 1938, p. 1. 

16. Leonard, Rev. R., Curate, St. Andrew's Parish, March 8, 1957. 

17. The first Baptism in the parish was that of Patrick Hart on 
November 15, 1928. The first recorded marriage was that of 
Armand Sabourin and Bertha Barker on April 4, 1929. The first 
funeral was that of Isabella MacDonald on March 20, 1928. 

18. Interview with Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D., May 10, 1957. 

19. Gillis, Rev. A., Files of St. John the Evangelist Parish, 

March 12, 1957. 

20. Interview with Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D., May 10, 1957. 

21. Donahue, Rev. E., Files of St. Patrick's Parish, March 8, 1957. 

22. The first Baptism in St. Patrick's Church was that of Patrick 
Cyril Byrne, on June 11, 1950, the same date on which the church 
was opened. The first wedding was that of Murdoch MacNeil and Vera 
Doris Clegg. July 31, 1950, was the date of the first funeral in 
the parish, that of Bernard Joseph Newton. 

23. This parish was established in 1951; it was also designed to relieve 
the overcrowding problem of St. Anthony's Pail sh and to care for the 
growing number of Catholics in the Richmond Park area. The pastor 
is Reverend J. W. Burke; he is assisted by Reverend B. Butts* The 
elementary education of children in the parish is cared for at St. 
Margaret*s School. Junior High and high school education is provided 
at St. Mary's High School, the first and only Separate High School on 
the South Side. (Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D.) 

24. Drouin, Rev. E.G., O.M.I., former Administrator of St. James the 
Great Parish, March 18, 1957. 

25. The Western Catholic . June 18, 1928, p. 21. 

26. Interview with Rt. Rev. J. A. MacLellan, Chaplain, St. Joseph's 
College, March 9, 1957. 














82a 


27. Ibid , 

28. During 1952 the French-speaking parishioners of St. John the 
Evangelist Parish in Jasper Place petitioned for and received 
permissioh to establish their own parish. Their church was started 
in the spring of 1952 and was ready for use in December of 1952. 

St. Anne’s is mainly a French-speaking parish although there is a 
large number of English-speaking parishioners. Father Jean Patoine, 
O.M.I., was the first pastor. He remained until September 3, 1953, 
when the present incumbent. Reverend M. Jacob, was appointed. The 
first Baptism in the parish actually occurred a day before the 
official opening. Joseph Richard Clement Gauthier was baptized 
there on December 6, 1952. The first marriage was that of J. G. 
Edward Butz and Mary Rollande Berube, on April 17, 1954# The first 
funeral was that of Kenneth Leonard De La Salle. (Rev. M. Jacob, 
Pastor, March 7, 1957.) 

29. A parish named for one of the newest Saints of the Roman Catholic 
Church is Saint Pius X. It serves the Sherbrooke area of west 
Edmonton, and was created in order to cope with the sudden resi¬ 
dential expansion of that area. ReverendFrancis Gillis was 
appointed as pastor of the new parish on April 18, 1954. The 
cornerstone was blessed by Monsignor M. J. 0*Gorman on November 21, 
1954. The Solemn Blessing was given by Archbishop Jordan on 
January 15, 1956. Father John Hesse, curate of Sacred Heart Parish 
in Red Deer, celebrated his first Solemn High Mass in Saint Pius X 
church on June 5, 1955. Lome Anthony Verhulst, the first child 
born in the new parish, was baptized before the church was built, 
at St. Edmund’s; Charles George Stang, baptized on January 2, 1955, 
was the first to be baptized in the new church. The first wedding, 
between Philip Peter Boston and Loretta Catherine Mottershed, took 
place on June 25, 1955. (Rev. F. Gillis, Pastor, March 12, 1957.) 

30. Another parish which was created in order to ease the burden of 
overcrowding at St. Anthony’s was St. Agnes’s, established on 
August 16, 1953. Although the parish had a canonical existence 
in 1953, the church was not completed until 1955. The pastor was 
delegated by Archbishop MacDonald in October of 1954 to bless the 
church basement. This made possible the use of the basement for 
Mass, the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, and the administra¬ 
tion of the sacrament until the official opening of the church on 
January 28, 1955. Monsignor Carleton, Vicar-General, officiated 

at the turning of the sod for St. Agnes Church on March 14, 1954, 
at the blessing of the cornerstone on July 4, 1954, and at the 
blessing and formal opening on January 28, 1955. Father Merchant 
remains as the pastor of St. Agnes Parish. He is assisted by 
Reverend G. Strickland. The parish school, St. Agnes, was erected 
in 1951. (Rev. R. J. Merchant, Pastor, March 6, 1957.) 

31. This parish had its official beginning in 1954 but the church was 
not opened until December of 1955. Previously the people of the 
area attended the Assumption Church in Bonnie Doon. Some also 
attended the Holy Rosary and Immaculate Conception parishes. 

During the building of the church, through the kindness of the 
Sisters, Holy Mass was offered in the chapel of the Good Shepherd 
Home. Reverend T. J. Wall, the only pastor of St. Michael’s to 
date, was appointed in January, 1954. (Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D.) 








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32. The Lithuanian Mission was opened in 1954 to care for the 

Lithuanian Roman Catholics in the Edmonton district. The first 
pastor of the new parish was Father Jurksas who had come to 
Edmonton'a short time previously. Prior to opening their new 
church the Lithuanians attended Mass as a group in the Sacred 
Heart Parish Hall and in other places. At present, the pastor 
is Father Grigoitis and he is serving approximately two hundred 
parishioners, (The Most Reverend J, H. MacDonald, D.D., Archbishop 
of Edmonton, August 7, 1957*) 

33o Scott, L,C., Edmonton City Hall, Enumeration Statistics, July 25, 
1957. 




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S3 


CHAPTER V 

ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS 

During the pioneer phase of any great movement there is always 
one who is noted for his inspiration and leadership, for his courage 
and a devotion to his cause. Those who play the role of leader, 
whether it be in advancing the cause of Christianity or any other 
movement, realize that a long period of self-sacrifice and even 
suffering may be their lot if they expect to advance their cause. 
Christianity in this region, and Roman Catholicism in particular, 
was founded in part and nurtured, by a man possessing such attributes 
of character. Such a man was Bishop Vital Grandin, O.M.I., the first 
Bishop of St. Albert, the leader of a long line of valiant missionaries, 
a man whose life today the Roman Catholic Church is studying as being 
worthy of listed among the Saints of the Church, 

Vital Justin Grandin was born at St, Pierre-la-Cour, France, on 
February 8 , 1829* He was a sensitive child and never very robust 
physically but he was later to undergo far more physical suffering 
than is the lot of the average man. He learned Latin from his parish 
priest, a Father Gamier, and in 1845 he entered the Minor Seminary 
at Precigne, While there he was plagued by continual illness. He 
entered the Major Seminary at Le Mans in October of 1850 and in 1851, 
the Seminary of Foreign Missions in Paris. There, he was advised to 
seek admission to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in order to fulfill 
his desire of becoming a missionary priest. Bishop Tache, coadjutor 
to Bishop Provencher of St. Boniface, paid a visit to the seminary 
and invited young Grandin to -work with him after his ordination. He 


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64 


took his perpetual vows on June 1, 1653, and soon after left the 
Novitiate for the Scholasticate at Marseille.* He was ordained by- 
Bishop de Mazenod, the Founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, 
on April 23, 1654* Soon after ordination he sailed for Canada and 
arrived at St, Boniface on November 2, 1854.-^ 

During his first few months at St. Boniface he spent his time 
in learning the Indian language. His first missionary journey was 
to the Nativity Mission, over 1700 miles from St. Boniface, on the 
shores of Lake Athabasca. He spent the winter of 1855-56 at 
Nativity Mission which was used as a base of operations in serving 
the Montagnais Indians, In 1857 he was appointed to lie a la Crosse 
in Northwestern Saskatchewan, by Bishop Tache, Unknown to him. 

Bishop Tache wanted to keep him comparatively near St. Boniface for 
he was already thinking of him as his future coadjutor. 

Father Grandin, O.M.I., was named Bishop of Satala and coadjutor 
to Bishop Tache with the right of succession on June 11, 1857* 

Because of his labors among the Indians he did not learn of his 
appointment until July of 1858, In professing his unworthiness for 
the position, he said: "Of all the qualities required in a missionary 
Bishop, I had only the desire to serve our dear God and to make Him 
loved, and also a pair of long legs well fitted to travel on snowshoes." 
He was elevated to the episcopacy by Bishop de Mazenod, on 

November 30, 1859* 

The next eight years were spent in the vast regions of the 
Northwest, working from St. Boniface to the Arctic Circle. lie a la 
Crosse was one of the most important missions served by Bishop Grandin 
during this period. Its destruction by fire in 1867 was a terrible 
loss to him. In May of 1867 he went to a General Chapter of his 


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Congregation in France. It was also in 1867 that he was made Vicar 
of the Saskatchewan Missions. He returned to St. Boniface in July 
1868. 

Construction of a new cathedral was started in 1870. The 
original one built by Father Lacombe had outlived its usefulness as 
a cathedral. It was held in position by some huge tree trunks, and 
was constantly in need of being reinforced. Thus, a new church was 
a real necessity. The first mass in this second cathedral was on 
October 22, 1871* When St. Albert was made a diocese on September 22, 
1871> Bishop Grandin became its first bishop. His territory included 
the northern half of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the present Worth 
West Territories, a tremendous area to serve. In 1874 he directed 
the construction of a "Boys’ College", at St. Albert. It was 
intended for those who wished to study for the priesthood. Part of 
the building was used as a classroom; this was the first public 
school in St. Albert. 

His attention was turned to work in Edmonton in 1876 when the 
Hudson’s Bay Company gave orders that the chapel in the fort be 
moved. The chapel was moved and reconstructed on property donated 
to Father Lacombe by Mr. Groat. In 1876 and 1877 he was absorbed 
in trying to win some privileges for his Indians. With the 
invasion of white settlers they feared the loss of their lands. 

He succeeded in gaining some rights for them by convincing government 
officials to establish reserves. The work of Bishop Grandin and 
Father Lacombe over this question of land probably averted a major 
uprising by the Indians. They looked upon them as men they could 


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The question of Catholic schools proved to be a struggle for 
Bishop Grandin. He spent the winter of 1882-83 in Ottawa fighting 
for the right to establish and maintain Catholic schools, particularly 
at his mission posts where the great majority were Catholics. The 
most important of his demands in this regard were met. 

In 1883 he appointed the first permanent pastor to Edmonton, 

His nephew. Rev. Henri Grandin, O.M.I., was named pastor at St* 
Joachim* s. Bishop Grandin later gave directions for the construction 
of the new churches of St. Joachim in 1886 and 1889* 

The Riel Rebellion of 1885 proved that the Indians and Metis 
had strong admiration and respect for Bishop Grandin and his 
missionaries. Most of the whites from Edmonton and district 
sought and were given refuge at St. Albert, The half-breeds there 
were discouraged by Bishop Grandin from joining the insurgents. 

However, the Riel Rebellion did much to damage the good work 
done by Bishop Grandin and his missionaries* They had helped to 
prevent many of the Crees and SiouX from fighting but many of the 
pagan Indians under Chief Big Bear had joined the half-breeds. Much 
property and many churches were laid to waste but the hardest blow 
was the massacre of two of his missionaries. Fathers Fafard and 
Marchand, O.M.I., at Frog Lake. 

We must bear in mind that all of this work was being done in 
addition to his many missionary journeys. During his entire life 
in Canada he travelled well over 100,000 miles. He was often in 
pain and from 1874 on he suffered intensely from recurring earache* 
Altogether he made six trips to France; two of them were made to 
seek medical aid but he was never completely rid of his sufferings* 





87 


Most of his time in France was spent in begging for his missions 
and he also made trips to Eastern Canada for the same reason. 

Constantly in pain. Bishop Grandin kept active until shortly 
before his death in 1902, The following give an indication of his 
work in St, Albert and Edmonton from 1385 to 1902: the building of 
the Oblate residence or ,, Mission ,, at St, Albert in 1887; bringing 
in the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus in 1888 to teach in the 
Catholic school in Edmonton; the division of the Diocese of St« 

Albert in 1889; the ordination of the first native Albertan as a 
priest. Rev, Edward Cunningham, in 1890; the completion of 

a Minor Seminary in St, Albert in 1900 and the bringing in of the 
Sisters of Mercy to Edmonton during the same year. 

He had asked for the division of his diocese in 1889 as he no 
longer felt capable of administering to such an immense territory. 

He soon began to make known to his authorities his need of a 
coadjutor. His request was granted in May of 1897 when Pope Leo XIII 
named Father Emile Legal, 0*M,I®, as Bishop of Pogla and coadjutor to 
Bishop Grandin at St, Albert on June 17, 1897® In a letter from 
St. Boniface to his brother Jean, on May 8, 1397, Bishop Grandin said: 
"The chosen one is Reverend Father Legal of the Diocese of Nantes, 

He has been prepared for this delicate mission by more than twenty 
years of missionary work among the Blackfeet* This mission is not 
only one of the most painful in my diocese but in all the missions 
of the North because the sacrifice of the missionary is not 
recompensed by any consolations.'^ 

In a second letter to his brother, this one from St. Albert on 
June 28, 1897, he said: "I had the consolation on the 17th of this 


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88 


month to consecrate my coadjutor though my metropolitan was present. 

He is really the man of God, the man needed. I am very weak and I 
tire easily. However, I have been able to consecrate my coadjutor 
without any difficulty. 

Bishop Grandin, one of the greatest of the Oblate missionaries 
in the Northwest, died on June 3, 1902. At the time of his death 
there were more than 100,000 Catholics in the Northwest, many of 
whom were brought to Christianity and to a degree of civilization 
by Bishop Grandin and his missionaries. Certainly, his influence 
for good was a major factor in hastening the growth of Christianity 
in this region. 

Archbishop Legal was one of the last great Oblate missionaries 
in Alberta. He belonged to the missionary era of Roman Catholicism 
in Alberta and he always regarded himself as a missionary priest. 

From St. Albert he directed the missionary activities of the Oblates 
who were spreading the seeds of Christianity and civilization 
throughout northern Alberta. He saw the ending of the missionary 
phase in this region and the beginning of a new era for the Church 
here. Of the twenty-three years he spent in St. Albert and Edmonton, 
only the last few years of his life -were spent in the city. He 
consolidated much of the work started by Bishop Grandin and in doing 
so he helped to prepare the way for a new phase of growth. 

Emile Legal was born in Brittany in 1849. Ordained to the 
priesthood in 1874 he spent the next several years teaching in 
ecclesiastical colleges before joining the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. 
When the French Republic drove Religious Orders from France in 1880 
Father Legal decided to come to Canada. 




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After taking his final vows he worked in Eastern Canada and 

the United States for a year before coining to the mission fields of 

Western Canada, When it was known that he was coming to the Diocese 

of St, Albert the Oblate Provincial in Eastern Canada wrote to 

Bishop Grandin: ”In giving you Father Legal, the Superior General 

is making you a most valuable present/* Father Legal worked among 

4 

the Blood, Peigan and Blackfeet Indians for sixteen years, from 
1881 to 1897* He took an active part in building missions at 
MacLeod, Lethbridge, and Pincher Creek and he also did work in 

Calgary, He was named coadjutor to Bishop Grandin by Pope Leo XIII 

and was consecrated at St. Albert by Bishop Grandin on June 17, 1897* 

He became Bishop of St. Albert upon the death of Bishop Grandin 

on June 3, 1902. During the last few years of Bishop Grandin*s 

life. Bishop Legal had taken over some of the more active phases of 
the work entailed in the administration of the huge diocese. Bishop 

Legal remained as Bishop of the Diocese of St* Albert until 

November 30, 1912, when the seat of administration was moved to 
Edmonton by an order of the Holy See, Edmonton was raised to the 
status of an archdiocese and Calgary became the centre of a new diocese. 
Bishop Legal thus became the first Archbishop of Edmonton,^ 

Parishes in Edmonton which were established by Archbishop Legal 
include: Sacred Heart Immaculate Conception, St. Edmund*s. Assumption 
Parish, Holy Rosary and St, Francis of Assisi, Religious Orders of 
Women which located here under his direction were the: Filles de 
Jesus, Soeurs de la Charite de Notre Dame d*Evron, and the Ursulines 
of Jesus, Religious Orders of men which came to Edmonton during his 
tenure of office were the: Franciscan Fathers, the Society of Jesus, 


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and priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from St. Quentin in France. 
This last named Order were the first to serve the parish of St. 
Edmund’s. St. John the Evangelist College and the Jesuit College 
were two educational institutions started during the time of 
Archbishop Legal. Archbishop Legal also established a boarding 
home for Ukrainian girls coming to Edmonton from Europe and districts 
in Alberta. It was established shortly after the turn of the century 
on 103 Street. The building used is now the Dr. Weinlos clinic. In 
addition to the above he also completed the building of the third 
cathedral in St# Albert. 

When Archbishop Legal moved to Edmonton he lived in a block 
purchased for himself and his assistants* This was later to become 
St# Mary’s Boys’ Home. St. Anthony 1 s Church served as the Pro- 
Cathedral. 

Archbishop Legal died on March 10, 1920, in Edmonton’s General 
Hospital, He had been suffering from diabetes and had been undergoing 
treatment at the hospital since early in 1920. His funeral was held 
from St. Joachim’s on March 15, 1920. The burial took place in the 
Oblate cemetery at St. Albert on March 16, 1920* An editorial in 
the Edmonton Journal at the time of his death said: “On taking 
the place of Bishop Grandin he succeeded to great traditions 
and these he fully maintained. We can hardly exaggerate 
what this country, with its great development still to come, 
owes to the Oblate priests who came here even before the 
first settlers, and planted the seeds, not only of their 
religion, but of civilization in its broadest sense. 

Archbishop Legal was one of the few remaining links with 
the missionary era. lf ^ 


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The Canadian West was developed by men of vision, and such 
a man was Ar.chbishop Henry Joseph 0*Leary, D.D. Though he cannot 
be classified as a pioneer, he was the man who saw Alberta, not 
only as a mission field for priests from Eastern Canada, but as a 
province which could easily supply its own priests and leaders, 
if given the opportunity. He saw Alberta as a land of tremendous 
potential and to that end he built and established many churches 
and institutions. In that respect, he too, was a pioneer, and a 
man of vision* 

Henry Joseph 0*Leary was born in Richibucto, New Brunswick, 
on March 13, 1879* He attended the local grammar school and later 
went to St. Joseph’s College in Memramcook. In 1897 he entered the 
Seminary of Philosophy in Montreal and in 1898 the Grand Seminary* 
During all phases of his scholastic life he showed the brilliance 
which was later to characterize his priestly life. He was ordained 
a priest on September 21, 1901. 

The early years of his priesthood were spent in Rome where he 
was doing post-graduate work in the Sacred Sciences. He received 
Doctorates in Philosophy, Canon Law and Theology. Returning to 
the Chatham diocese in 1903, he was stationed for a time at Bathurst* 
While there he built a convent for the Sisters of St, Martha, 
organized a parish at the mines, and made preparations for a second 
parish. In 1908 he was made Vicar-general of the Chatham diocese 
and in 1913 was appointed Bishop of Charlottetown, Prince Edward 
Island. Just prior to his consecration as Bishop of Charlottetown 
the cathedral there had been destroyed by fire. He completed the 
rebuilding of the Cathedral and in addition he built: a new Bishop’s 


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residence, an orphanage, a small college forF rench-Canadians of 
the Magdalen. Islands, an addition to St, Dunstan’s University, and 
several churches and rectories.^ 

Archbishop O’Leary never spared himself in advancing the 
interests of the Church. Within five years the crypt of St* Joseph’s 
Cathedral was built, churches at Bonnyville, Rosenheim, Lafond, Red 
Deer, and St. Alphonsus were established. Approximately forty other 
smaller churches and chapels were built. The convents of the 
Monastery of the Precious Blood and of the Assumption Sisters were 
founded. A new Rosary Hall was obtained, an addition was made to 
the Misericordia Hospital, the Good Shepherd Home was enlarged and 
St. Mary’s Home opened. In addition to several separate schools, 

St. Joseph’s College and The Western Catholic were projects begun 
and completed under his administration. 

The acquisition of St. Joseph’s Seminary, the opening of St* 
Andrew’s parish, the arrival of new Religious Orders which included 
the Redemptorists, the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, Sisters 
of Charity of the Immaculate Conception, Sisters of Charity of St. 
Vincent de Paul, the Sisters of St, Joseph, and the Sisters of 
Service; all of these important events occurred during his rule* 

Still more important, the spiritual growth of the Archdiocese more 
than kept pace with this material advancement. The considerable 
number of Catholic institutions in Edmonton is a constant .source 
of amazement to visitors here. A large percentage of these insti¬ 
tutions owe their establishment to the zeal and foresight of 
Archbishop O’Leary. 

Upon his arrival here in 1920, Archbishop O’Leary was faced 



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with the task of providing English-speaking priests to serve the 
increasing number of English-speaking Catholics in Edmonton and 
district. 

The work of Archbishop O'Leary outside the city cf Edmonton was 
impressive also. The number of parishes and hospitals almost doubled. 
His work in establishing hospitals, small as they were, is particularly 
noteworthy. Very often, the land for a charitable institution was 
donated. Subsequently, a Catholic school or hospital w^uld be built 
there, operating on the proverbial “shoestring." Many of those 
institutions have grown and expanded tremendously. In Alberta there 
are thirty-two Catholic hospitals being served by fifteen different 
Religious Orders. In addition to having many institutions established, 
a considerable number of the Congregations to care for those institu¬ 
tions were located in the Archdiocese through Archbishop O'Leary's 

influence.^ 

8 

One of the most noteworthy features about Archbishop O'Leary, 
and one which is seldom mentioned, was his tremendous optimism 
concerning the future of Alberta. From the time of his arrival in 
1920, he spoke of the golden opportunities in the West, and 
particularly in Alberta. He claimed this to be the land of the 
future; he reiterated this fact many times, and even the depression 
failed to dampen his enthusiasm for the future development of this 
province. In this respect he was a quarter of a century ahead of 
his time. His sincere belief in the future greatness of this 
province was one of the main reasons for his many building projects; 
he was building for the future expansion which he felt certain to 
come. There was nobody in Alberta with a stronger love for this 


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province or who believed so sincerely in its future greatness. 

During the lean depression years, when money was so scarce. 

His Grace was often faced with acute financial problems, a common 
ailment in those years. Many priests sought his aid in relieving 
distress; where possible, this aid was given. When it simply could 
not be done, the one requesting the help could be turned down so 
gently that he left the Archbishop feeling as if he had been given 
all he asked for. His Grace had an uncanny knack in judging people, 
and before the unsuspecting pastor could begin on his list of 
requests, his question was anticipated by the Archbishop who then 
told him in a roundabout way that there wasn’t anything which could 
be done at the moment. Under a flow of persuasive eloquence the 
bewildered pastor left, no richer than he came, but with his head 
ringing with praises of his wonderful work. Since there wasn’t 
anything he could do to alleviate such ills of the depression. 
Archbishop O’Leary made the best of a distressing situation.^ 

He was a man noted for his humility and charity. Easily 
approachable, he set strangers at ease with his kind and gentle 
manner. Older Catholics in Edmonton still speak of his remarkable 
kindness. A product of a traditional and classical education, he 
epitomized the greatness which that system had to offer. A 
distinguished scholar himself, he strove with all the forces at his 
command to establish strong centres of Catholic education in Edmonton. 
A zealous and devoted priest, he sough to imitate the virtues of our 
Lord, and to have his priests do the same. A man of vision, he, more 
than any other, made possible the stable growth of Homan Catholicism 
in this city. 

During the more prosperous years of World 'War II the Archdiocese 


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95 


was able to pay off obligations incurred during the depression years. 

New parishes have been started, some of them bringing in new city 
divisions, others being started to care for the overflow of older 
parishes. The new parishes of St. Agnes, St. James, and Immaculate 
Heart, were formerly served by one parish, St. Anthony 1 s. St. Pius X 
Parish serves an almost completely new city development. During the 
war, the influx of many American personnel also posed problems of 
accommodation in some parishes, particularly in St. Andrew’s. The 
person guiding and directing this growth and expansion of the Church 
in Edmonton for almost the past twenty years has been His Grace, 
Archbishop John Hugh MacDonald, D.D. 

John Hugh MacDonald was born in Maryvale, Nova Scotia, on 
April 3, 1881. He attended the common school there and later went 
to St. Francis Xavier University from which he graduated in 1903* 
Following graduation he went to Rome for theological studies. He 
returned from Rome in 1906 and in December of the same year was 
ordained by the late Bishop Cameron in St. Ninian’s Cathedral in 
Antigonisho From 1906 to 1911 he was an assistant professor at 
St. Francis Xavier University, teaching mainly English, Philosophy 
and Latin. From 1911 - 1914 he served as assistant pastor in 
St. Anne’s Parish, Glace Bay. Transferred to New Waterford in 1914> 
he remained as pastor of St. Agnes Parish there for ten years. From 
1924 to 1934 he served as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Sydney 
Throughout the period of time spent in Cape Breton parishes. Father 
MacDonald was helping the people there solve their economic problems 
through “Adult Education.” He showed his parishioners that many of 
their economic ills could be solved by establishing their own 






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co-operatives and credit unions. This 11 Adult Education” program in 
which Father MacDonald was so keenly interested had been promoted by 
St. Francis Xavier University, and was regarded by some as a very 
radical thing. It took courage to teach its doctrine among the miners, 
fishermen and farmers. 

Father MacDonald was elected Eishop of Victoria on August 11, 

1934» He was consecrated as Bishop on October 25, 1934, in St. 

Ninian's Cathedral in Antigonish. He remained as Bishop of Victoria 
until December of 1936 when he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of 
Edmonton with the right of succession. He became Archbishop of 
Edmonton on the death of Archbishop 0 1 Leary, March 5, 1933* 

Upon taking office as Archbishop he was faced with problems 
common to practically every diocese in Canada. The depression 
had brought about a severe drain on financial resources. Clouds 
of war were beginning to darken in Europe. There was not a sufficient 
number of clergy available for all the tasks which needed to be done. 
His skillful handling of affairs reduced the financial load to a 
point where it no longer gave rise to anxiety. Money was more 
plentiful during the war years and this helped to ease the burden. 

Many of his priests, men of the highest calibre, were allowed to 
enlist in the armed forces, giving Edmonton the highest ratio of 
any diocese in Canada. His work on vocations is particularly 
noteworthy. Like his predecessor he has also brought out many young 
men from Eastern Canada to serve in the Archdiocese and the number 
of native clergy is steadily increasing. His cherished project, 
the new St. Joseph 1 s Seminary, was opened on September 12, 1957* 

The number of new parishes in the city and the Archdiocese, and the 


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97 


growth in the number of Separate Schools, also bear witness to his 
administrative skill. 

Archbishop MacDonald is convinced that the Church will maintain 
a healthy rate of growth in Alberta. He speaks highly of the spirit 
of freedom to be found in this province, particularly in regard to 
Separate Schools. His gratitude for the co-operation of the people 
here, their strong faith, and their willingness to help, is quite 
manifest. In 1956, His Grace celebrated the fiftieth anniversary 
of his ordination to the priesthood. They were fifty years of 
devoted service to God and to his fellow men. 

On April 17, 1955, Catholics in Edmonton learned that a new 
Coadjutor-Archbishop had been appointed to assist Archbishop 
MacDonald in the administration of the Archdiocese. Archbishop 
Jordan, formerly Vicar-Apostolic of Prince Rupert, knows Edmonton 
well, having previously attended St. Mary*s High School and St. 
John T s College in the city. He was born in the parish of Euphall, 
West Lothian, Scotland, on November 10, 1901, the son of William 
Jordan and Margaret (Carroll) Jordan. During the summer of 1913 
his family moved to Canada, settling in Taber, Alberta. From 1913 
to 1917 he attended school in Taber and in 1917 the family moved to 
Edmonton where he attended St. John r s Juniorate for boys who were 
studying to be Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The year 1921 - 1922 was 
spent at the Oblate Novitiate at Ville La Salle near Montreal. The 
years 1922 - 1930 were spent at the Scholasticates at Edmonton and 
Lebret, with some time spent in teaching at St. JoluMs Juniorate. 

He was ordained to the priesthood on June 23, 1929, in Lebret, 


Saskatchewan, 




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Following ordination he spent four months at the newly founded 
St. Patricks College in Ottawa. From there. Father Jordan, O.M.I. 
was sent to St. Augustine*s Parish in Vancouver, B.C., where he 
served from March of 1931 until August of 1941. In 1941 he was 
named as Superior of Holy Rosary Scholasticate, Ottawa, for the 
province of English-Oblates, retaining this position until June 22, 

1945, when he was named Vicar-Apostolic of Prince Rupert. He was 
consecrated at St. Albert on September 8, 1945, and installed at 
Prince Rupert on September 11. On April 17, 1955, he was named as 
Coadjutor-Archbishop of Edmonton and the consecration took place 
in St. Joseph*s Cathedral on September 18 of the same year.^ 

Each of the Archbishops and Bishops has made a special contribution 
to the growth of Christianity here. Bishop Grandin was especially 
noted for his sanctity; Archbishop Legal for his great work as a 
missionary; Archbishop 0*Leary was the builder, and a man of keen 
foresight; Archbishop MacDonald has shown great administrative 
capacity. The work of Bishop Grandin made the tasks of his successors 
much lighter. Though each one has made a special contribution peculiar 
to the needs of the period during which he served, each one has also 
provided the leadership required. That is, their contributions were 
not limited to that work in which they became most noted, but embraced 
all phases of ecclesiastical endeavor. 

1. Hermant, Rev. Leon, O.M.I., Thy Cross My Stay, Toronto, 1948, p. 13. 

2. Letter to his brother Jean, May 8, 1897* (Collection de la famille 
Grandin), Archives of Postulation in Rome. 

3. Ibid . 

4. Hermant, op. cit. , p. 132. 

5. Acta Apostolicis Sedis , Commentarium Officiale, Typis polyglottis 
Vaticanis, Romae, MDCCCCXIII, 1913, vol. 5, p. 182. 





















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98a 


6. The Edmonton Journal , March 11, 1920, p. 4 

7. The Western Catholic , September 16, 1926, p. 1. 

8. Interview with Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D., February 9, 1955. 

9© Interview with Rev. James Holland, Professor of Church History, 

St. Joseph’s Seminary, April 8, 1957. 

10. Interview with His Grace, The Most Reverend John Hugh MacDonald, D.D., 
Archbishop of Edmonton, August 7> 1957© 

11. Interview with His Grace, The Most Reverend Anthony Jordan, O.M.f., D.D., 
Coadjutor Archbishop of Edmonton, April 15, 1957. 




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99 


CHAPTER VI 

THE SEPARATE SCHOOLS 

The first Separate School District in Edmonton, the St, Joachim*s 
Roman Catholic Separate School District, No, 7, was constitutionally 
established towards the end of the year 1888 but there were school 
facilities, at least at intervals, even before this. As early as 
1862 Brother Scollen had opened a school inside Fort Edmonton in 
order to accommodate the children of the Hudson*s Bay employees, 

The Edmonton Public School District was formed in 1885* In 
1888 the Roman Catholic population petitioned the Educational 
Council at Regina which was then the capital of the North West 
Territories, requesting permission for the establishment of a 
Roman Catholic Separate School District, This request was granted 
and in 1889 the first school under the jurisdiction of the Separate 
School Board was opened near the present F,C,J. convent , 0 

Meanwhile, after the closing of the school in the fort in 1866, 
there was no school in the city solely for Catholic children. For 
a time Brother Lisee, who had come to Edmonton in 1883 with Father 
Grandin, held classes; and in 1886 a Mr. Saint-Cyr undertook 

the teaching of a regular class^ In 1888 Bishop Grandin succeeded 
in obtaining a few Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus who arrived 
in Edmonton on October 11, 1888, Father Henri Grandin, O.M.I. gave 
them his residence while their convent was being built. The first 
teachers. Sisters Julia Coghlan and Anna 0*Neill were in charge of 
forty to fifty children. 

The first Board of Trustees consisted of Mr. George Roy, Chairman; 


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100 


Mr, Luke Kelly, Treasurer; and Mr, Antonio Prince, Secretary, During 
its formative years the School Board charged a fee of one dollar a 
month to parents who were not ratepayers. The first tax rate was 
placed at eight mills on the dollar. The first assessment roll was 
prepared by Mr, A. E.Johnstone and the first trustee elected was 
Mr. George Roy, Mr. J. H. Gari^py and Mr. J. H. Picard, two men 
who gave long and distinguished service to the Board were elected 
in 189S and 1899 respectively. In 1899 the Board purchased a 
building for the older boys. It was the old C.M.B.A. Hall and the 
first teacher there was a Mr. W. S. McNamara. From 1901 to 1905 
Mr, Lucien Dubuc was Secretary of the Board. Mr. E. Tessier (later 
Monsignor Tessier of Morinville) held that position from 1905 to 
1918, By 1905 it was felt that a new school was needed and a site 
was purchased on 103 Street. The school built there, St, Mary’s, 
was completed on January 1, 1907* In 1908 the first unit of the 
present Sacred Heart School was completed, and was attended by a 
class which had previously been accommodated on 104 Street and 
Jasper Avenue. A four room addition was made to the school in 1911* 
From 1893 to 1905 the School Board was headed by Mr. N. D. Beck, 
a prominent city lawyer. Nicholas Dominic Beck was born on May 4> 
1857> at Gobourg, Ontario, He was the son of Reverend J.W.R. and 
Georgina (Boulton) Beck. For many years his father was Rector of 
the Anglican church in Peterboro, Ontario. He attended private 
schools and the Collegiate Institute of Peterboro. He later attended 
the Law School of the University of Toronto from which he received 
his law degree in 1881, He practised law in Peterboro until 1883 


when he moved to Winnipeg 


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101 


As mentioned* his father was an Anglican minister. Indirectly, 

he is supposed to have been the cause of his son’s conversion to 

Roman Catholicism. An avid reader, Nicholas picked up a book on the 

Catholic Church from his father’s library at home. On noticing that 

the pages of the first chapter remained uncut he asked his father 

for the reason why. His father is reported to have answered that the 

pages were on papal infallibility and that there was no reason to read 

them; thus the pages remained uncut. Nicholas placed the book back 

in the shelves without any comment but soon after he began to study 

the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on his own. After moving 

to Winnipeg in 1883 he continued the study of the Roman Catholic 

Church and finally went to see Father Leduc, Q.M.I., who was in 

St. Boniface at the time. He informed him that he wished to become 

a Roman Catholic, The surprised Father Leduc immediately contacted 
/ 

Archbishop Tache for Beck was already a prominent personality in 
Winnipeg. Archbishop Tache' and Father Leduc questioned him and he 
questioned and argued with them. They were amazed at his knowledge 
of the Catholic Church. Soon after, he became a Roman Catholic. 

He remained in Winnipeg until 1889; while there, he also edited 
the Northwest Catholic Review. From 1889 - 1891 he practised law in 
Calgary as a member of the firm of Lougheed, McCarthy and Beck. In 
1891 he moved to Edmonton and soon became crown persecutor, a position 
he held until 1907. From 1892 to 1907 he was also the city solicitor 
and in 1893 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In 1902 he was named 
puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Alberta and in 1921 he became a 
member of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. In 1905 he 
was retained by the Dominion government as an advisor on the autonomy 


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102 


bills of Alberta and Saskatchewan, He also held the following 
positions: Editor of the Territorial and Alberta Law Review; president 
of the Territorial Law Society and later president of the Alberta Law 
Society; a member of the Senate of the University of Alberta and 
chancellor of the same institution; a governor of the Catholic Church 
Extension Society in Western Canada; a member of the Council of Public 
Instruction in Alberta, 

In politics he supported the Liberals for they promised a 
continuance of support for the Separate Schools* Judge Beck represented 
Bishop Legal in Ottawa in the struggle for Separate Schools, and he 
deserves a large share of the credit for their establishment in this 
province. Judge N, D, Beck died on May 11, 1928, while on a trip to 
Seattle, 

4 

The St, Anthony’s Separate School District No, 12 was established 
in 1894 and the first classes in Strathcona were held in the little 
chapel established by Father Lacombe in 1895• Classes were taught by 
two Sisters of the F,C,J. convent who crossed the river each day. 

This first school was abandoned as a classroom in 1901 when another 
room was built. The old school was annexed to the church as a 
sacristy. In 1902 the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus were 

5 

relieved from their daily trip by the appointment of a lay teacher. 

The Sisters were later to return to the parish as teachers, from 
1912 to 1919. The present St. Anthony’s School was built in 1905, 

It remained as the only Separate School on the south side until 1913, 

The North Edmonton Separate School District No. 19 was formed 
in 1911 and the first classes were taught in a rented room, A frame 
school was constructed during 1911 and was used until 1923 when a 




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103 


brick school was completed. Those responsible for establishing 

this District were: Mr* A. Briere, Mr. P. Bernier and Mr. A. B. 

Lambert^ In 1911 discussions began regarding the amalgamation of 

the Separate School Districts in Edmonton and Strathcona. The 

discussions bore fruit for in 1912 and 1913 the three Districts, 

St. Joachim 1 s No. 7; 3t. Anthony’s No* 12; and North Edmonton No. 19 

were amalgamated under the name of the Edmonton Roman Catholic 

Separate School District No* 7# 

7 

The union of St. Anthony’s School District with the other 
two was only a part of the greater amalgamation of Edmonton and 
Strathcona. In Strathcona, a four-room frame building was built 
on 76 Avenue and 105 Street in 1913. The building was later 
abandoned and replaced in 1925 by Mount Carmel School, 

8 

The North Edmonton Separate School District No* 19 had only 
been formed in 1911 and in 1913 it merged with the other two 
districts, A frame school had been erected in 1911 which did 
service until 1923 when a brick school, St. Francis, was 
constructed. During 1913, anticipating a boom, the School Board 
purchased sites on both sides of the river. Sites were purchased 
and two-room schools were constructed at North Edmonton, Elm Park 
(Calder), and Gallagher Flats. A four-room addition was also made 
to Sacred Heart School* Sites were then purchased in the Fairview 
subdivision on 110 Street, where a school was constructed, and at 
Hempbriggs (St* Andrew’s), It was during the same year, 1913, that 
Mr* E. Tessier, now Monsignor Tessier of Morinville, became Superin^ - 
tendent. He remained in that post until 19IS when he began studying for 
the priesthood. 




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Plans made in 1913 for further expansion had to be changed in 
1914 with the outbreak of war. Because of the increased high school 
enrolment, elementary pupils from the school on 103 Street were 
moved to rooms on 110 Street. During the school year 1913 - 1914, 
the Separate Schools in Edmonton had been in operation for twenty- 
five yearso In addition to the oldest school on 110 Street, schools 
had been opened at 103 Street (High School), Sacred Heart, North 
Edmonton, Calder, Edmonton South (two schools), and Gallagher Flats. 
There were thirteen hundred pupils taught by thirty-seven teachers. 
Grandin School was completed in 1915 and a temporary classroom was 
also opened on the Fraser Flats. The small frame school at Calder 
was destroyed by fire in 1916 and a temporary building was 
established there. Fairview School was opened in 1917 but the 
Gallagher Flats School was closed the following years because of a 
decreased enrolment. After E. Tessier*s resignation in 1918 he was 
temporarily replaced by D. J. Gilmurray who remained until 1919 
when Dr. D. J. 0 T Dooley became Superintendent. St. Andrew*s School 
was constructed on the Hempbriggs property in 1919* 

Until 1922, the Medical Department of the Public Schools 
carried on a medical program for the Separate Schools. The Separate 
School Board inaugurated their own service in 1922, with Dr. J. H. 
Conroy as Medical Inspector and Miss L* Levasseur as School Nurse, 
This service was initiated by one of the trustees. Dr. F. A.French. 

The first Boys* High School was opened during 1923 in 
classrooms in the 103 Street building. Father P. F. Hughes was the 
first principal. Girls* classes operated as a separate unit under 
Sister L. Hickey, M.A. The present Superintendent, Mr. A.A.0*Brien, 


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105 


succeeded Dr* D* J. O’Dooley in 1924. The period 1923 - 1930 saw 
the following schools constructed or opened: St. Alphonsus, 1924; 
Dunvegan Yards, 1924; Mount Carmel, 1925; St. Edmund’s, 1928; a 
building and a site on the Fraser Flats were purchased from the 
Public School Board. A Commercial High School Unit was organized 
by the Sisters of Charity of Halifax; a three-room building was 
built at the O’Connell Institute; a one-room school was opened in 
1929 on the Ross Flats and a one-room addition was made to St. 

Andrew’s School; finally, in 1930, the present St. Joseph’s High 
School for boys was opened. Father F. W. Daly had been appointed 
Principal of the Boys’ School in 1924* He remained in that position 
until his retirement in 1948• T. S. Magee was Chairman of the Board 
during most of this expansion period. The year 1924 saw the retirement 
of J. H* Gariepy, a trustee since 1898; in 1925, another valued 
trustee, J. H. Picard, retired. The year 1925 - 1926 also saw a 
brief strike for higher pay on the part of the lay teachers of the 
Edmonton Separate School Board. In the year 1929, the Edmonton 
Separate Schools had a total enrolment of 2400. 

During the depression years, school finance proved to be a heavy 
problem for those connected with any phase of educational administra¬ 
tion. The sale of debentures was practically impossible. In 1937, 
the Edmonton Public and Separate School Board, in conjunction with 
the city, refunded their debenture debts. The debentures which 
made up the debt were called in and exchanged for callable debentures 
due in 1967* Under this plan the debt will be retired by payment of 
annuity for a period of thirty years. Savings made by this debt 
readjustment were put to use for capital purposes. In 1938 a two— 


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room addition was made to St. Alphonsus. A second one-room addition 
had been made to St. Andrew 1 s in 1937# One-room schools were opened 
in the Bonnie Doon area in 1932, and at St. Mary's Home in 1934. 

During the period 1930 - 1939, classes were opened in Home Economics 
and General Shop. Supervisors were appointed in Music and Physical 
Education. 

The assessed value of the taxable property of the Separate 
School Board in 193& was six and one-quarter million dollars. 

Operating expense for the year were $173,000. The total enrolment 
in 1939 was 2800.^ 

By the end of the school year 1956 - 1957, the Separate 

Schools of Edmonton had a total assessment of $39,329,500. Sixty- 

three cents of every dollar raised by the Separate School Board comes 

from taxes on Catholic property owners. Thirty-four cents comes from 

government grants, and three cents of each dollar comes from other 

sources. The staff has 279 teachers and twenty-one special and 
10 

part-time teachers. Seventy-nine hold one or more university degrees 
while 200 others have completed courses beyond Grade XII leading to a 
degree. Seventy-eight are priests or members of religious orders, 
and 201 are lay teachers^ 

After the completion of St. Joseph's High School in 1930 there 
were no new schools opened until St. John's was opened in 1940. For 
a time classes were taught in St. Vincent's High (Commercial) by 
the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. 1942 saw the opening 
of St* Clare's and St. Anne's. No others were opened until 1946 
when St. Patrick's, St. James, and one in Jasper Place were started. 5+ 1 
St. Patrick's had formerly been known as Fairview, built originally 


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107 


in 1917. St* James was for a time known as King Edward Park 
School* Sacred Heart Parish received two new buildings in this 
period with the opening of Sacred Heart Annex in 1947 and St. 
Michaels in 1948. Although additions were being made from time 
to time, no new buildings were erected after 1948 until 1951* They 
were: St. Agnes, at first in St. Anthony’s Parish, now in St. Agnes 
St. Gerard’s, St. Alphonsus Parish; St. Vital’s, Saint Pius X Parish 
St. Thomas, Assumption Parish; St. Margaret’s, Immaculate Heart 
Parish. 

1952 saw the opening of St. Peter’s in St. Anthony’s Parish, 
and St. Faul’s in St. John the Evangelist in Jasper Place. Three 
more were opened in 1953: St. Basil’s, St. Vincent’s and St. 
Catherine’s. The first layman to hold a position as principal under 
the Edmonton Separate School Board took office in 1955 
upon the opening of St. Kevin’s School. He was the late Mr. Frank 
Coffey who had given many years of conscientious service to the 
Edmonton Separate Schools. The first lay women principals of the 
staff of the Edmonton Separate Schools were Miss Mary Hanley, 
principal, St. Margaret’s School, and Miss P. McConway, principal, 
St. Thomas School. They took office in 1951. 

The year 1956 saw the greatest single expansion of any one 
year. In that year eight new schools were completed and opened. 

They were: St. Bernadette’s in Beverly, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our 
Lady of Fatima, and Holy Cross, all in Jasper Place - st. Leo’s, 

St. Helen’s, and St. Dunstan’s in the city proper, September of 
1957 saw the opening of St. Gabriel’s, St. Rita's, St. Gregory’s, 


and St. Rose 




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Sines 1938, thirty-one new Separate Schools have been established 
in Edmonton,. Jasper Place, and Beverly. In 1938 there were 2,800 
pupils in the Edmonton Separate Schools. There are now 9*800, a truly 
phenomenal increase. As previously mentioned, the total assessment 
in June of 1957 was $39,329,500. In 1938 the assessed value of 
taxable property was six and one quarter million dollars with the 
year’s operating expenses marked at $173,00. Operating expenses for 
the year 1956 were $1,731,396. Even though we consider the decreased 
value of today’s dollar compared to the dollar in 1938, the above 
figures serve better than any other evidence to show the tremendous 
growth of the Edmonton Separate Schools during the past twenty years. 

That growth has been most gratifying to Catholics in Edmonton. 

It speaks much for their support of their schools; support which is 
absolutely necessary for the success of a Separate School system. 

In addition to that support, the success of the Separate Schools here 
has been due to the high calibre of trustees of the various Boards 
down through the years. This has been especially true under Super¬ 
intendent A. A. O’Brien. Heading a devoted and capable staff, he 
has unobtrusively guided the operations of the Separate Schools for 
over thirty years. The goodwill existing between the Edmonton 
Separate and Public Schools is in no small measure due to his diplo¬ 
matic policies. Finally, the success of the Separate Schools here in 
their growth and expansion is due to the sacrificing zeal of its 
religious members and to a small band of devoted teachers who have 
taught in the Schools for many years. These teachers remained with 
the Separate Schools even when more remunerative positions could be 
obtained elsewhere. Many of those teaching in the Separate Schools 


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109 


only during the later and more prosperous years have reason to be 
grateful to those who made sacrifices in order to assure the 
successful operation of the Edmonton Separate Schools. 


1. Lacombe, Rev. A., O.M.I., ’’Notice Historique sur les missions 
de Lac Ste- Anne, St?- Joachim et de St—Albert,” p. 7. (These 
notes were written in 1863 and may be seen in the archives of 
the Oblate Fathers, 9916 - 110 Street, Edmonton.) 

2. Interview with A. A. O’Brien, Superintendent, Edmonton Separate 
School Board, April, 1955. 

3. The Western Catholic , (Separate School Supplement), June 14, 

1939, Po 1. 

4. Interview with Mr. M. Martin, Father-in-law of Judge Beck, 

August 7, 1954. 

3* The Western Catholic , (Separate School Supplement), June 14, 1939, 

p. 1. 

6. Ibid. j p. 5* 

7. Interview with A. A. O’Brien, Superintendent, Edmonton Separate 
School Board, June, 1955. 

8. The Western Catholic , (Separate School Supplement), June 14, 1939. 

9. Interview with A. A. O’Brien, Superintendent, Edmonton Separate 
School Board, April, 1955. 

10. Interview with L. J. Slavik, Secretary-Treasurer, Edmonton Separate 
School Board, June 20, 1957. 

11. Interview with Miss K. Krausert, Secretary, Edmonton Separate School 
Board, June 5, 1957. 








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110 


CHAPTER VII 

RELIGIOUS ORDERS AND INSTITUTIONS 

In the Roman Catholic Church there are many fields of labor 
for those who wish to devote themselves exclusively to the work of 
the Church. There are the Contemplative Orders for those wishing 
to live a highly spiritual life; there are many phases of charitable 
activity, such as hospitals and homes for the aged, or the young. 
There are schools and colleges, and schools in which special 
training is given. The work in all of these fields is so varied 
and embracing in scope that it includes almost all phases of human 
endeavor. Therefore, those who wish to join an Order have a wide 
variety from which to choose. These Religious Orders are of vital 
importance to the work of the Roman Catholic Church; certainly, 
the work of the Church would have been greatly impeded if such 
Orders did not exist. They have done tremendous work for the 
Church, especially since the Reformation. Indeed, some of them 
were formed in order to correct abuses and to bring about needed 
reforms within the Church. Others were brought into existence by the 
need for greater activity in the work of charity or in missions. 
Regardless of how they came to be organized, they have, and still 
are performing work of vital importance for the Roman Catholic 
Church. 

In Edmonton there are twenty-six different Religious Orders, 
whose members are engaged in a wide variety of activity, from 
teaching in colleges to domestic work. The greater number of 
Sisters are engaged in work for the Separate Schools, and two 




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hospitals, the General and Misericordia. Since the arrival of 
the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus in 1888, Sisters have been 
teaching in the Separate Schools of Edmonton, It is doubtful 
whether the Separate Schools could have operated successfully 
except for the work of the Sisters. Certainly, there were periods 
during which the Separate School Board was hard pressed financially. 
Since there are many Sisters teaching in the Separate Schools, and 
they receive only a nominal salary, the financial load of the School 
Board is lightened considerably. Though some of the Religious 
Orders in the city are directly connected with one type of work, 
there are others which work in more than one field. For example, 
the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent are engaged in teaching in 
Edmonton, but they operate a hospital in Hardisty. The Sisters of 
Providence (Kingston) manage St. Joseph*s Hospital in the city and 
also run a Girls* Residence. 

There are ten^Religious Orders of Women whose main work in 
Edmonton consists of teaching in the Separate Schools. There are 
three^ such Orders engaged in hospital work in the city, one^ Con¬ 
templative Order, two Orders which care for charitable institutions, 

4 

and five^ Orders whose main work here is in domestic activity for 
certain institutions. All the Religious Orders of Men in the city 
are connected with educational institutions. 

The history of St. John the Evangelist College began in 1908 
at Pincher Creek, Alberta. The Oblate Fathers had a mission there 
and founded a juniorate to provide instruction for boys who wished 
to become missionary priests. The man who established the juniorate 
in 1908 was Reverend Andre Daridon, O.M.I. He remained as Rector 


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112 


until 1920. 

In 1910 .the juniorate was moved to Edmonton because of its 
central location and also because it was closer to the areas being 
served by the Oblate Fathers. It was first located on 110 Street 
but in 1911 it was moved to Strathcona where a suitable site had 
been purchased. There were twenty-nine pupils enrolled during the 
first year in Edmonton. It had opened in 1908 with three pupils and 
one professor. The professor was Father Daridon. 

Until 1930 the curriculum followed at the Juniorate of St. John 
the Apostle was that offered by the Ontario schools of the time. The 
Alberta curriculum, from grades eight to twelve inclusive, was 
adopted in 1930 in compliance with a government regulation for private 
schools. The college was affiliated with the University of Ottawa 
in 1928 and it agreed, after 1930, to continue granting credits for 
courses taught at the college. The government regulation of 1930 
also made it necessary for teachers of grades eight to twelve to be 
licensed by the Alberta Department of Education. 

In 1941> with the closing of the Jesuit College, the Oblate 
Fathers were asked to adopt the classical curriculum which had been 
offered by the Jesuits. The Juniorate of St. John the Apostle then 
became the St. John the Evangelist College where the principal aim 
was to give a classical education from grade eight to the completion 
of a degree course in Arts and to prepare boys for all the professions. 
Boys could also continue to take elementary courses for the priesthood. 

In 1955 the Alberta Department of Education agreed to a resumption 
of the Ontario curriculum with the provision that grades eight and nine 
must be taught by Alberta-licensed teachers and inspected by Alberta 


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113 


inspectors. The students would not be required to take examinations 
set by the Department of Education. The scholastic standing of any 
student leaving the college to attend a public school is determined 
by the staff of the particular school. 

The "white house”, containing a study room and classrooms, was 
constructed in 1913. Two new wings were added in 1921 - 1922 and a 
new gymnasium was completed a few years ago. In 1956 there were 
221 students and a staff of seventeen. Reverend Henri Routhier, 
O.M.I., rector from 1931 to 1936, is now Vicar-Apostolic of Grouard. 
Reverend Valeridn Gaudet, O.M.I., rector from 1944 to 1951> was the 
founder of the Oblate Missions in Bolivia in 1952. Most Reverend 
A. Jordan, O.M.I., Coadjutor Archbishop of Edmonton, was a former 
student and teacher at the college. 

o 

Another well-known Religious Order, the Jesuits, located in 
Edmonton in 1912. A famous teaching and missionary Order, the 
Jesuits have schools and colleges in many parts of the world. The 
Order was founded in 1534 by St. Ignatius Loyola and played a 
strong role in the "Counter-Reformation.” 

Efforts had been made since 1904 to establish a classical and 
commercial college in Edmonton. The first Order to be contacted 
was the Clercs of St. Viateur. Efforts made to bring this Order 
to Edmonton were not successful, so in 1906 negotiations with the 
Society of Jesus were started. These negotiations lasted, because 
of delays and disappointments, for several years. Finally, in 1912, 
Father Carriere, S.J., paid a visit to Edmonton and decided upon 
the foundation of a classical and commercial college. 

Four acres of land were obtained on easy terms from the 


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114 


Archbishop of Edmonton and construction was started in 1912. The 
location of the building was regarded as being only temporary for 
the Jesuit Fathers soon after their arrival here had purchased a 
large property directly opposite the University of Alberta, 
overlooking the North Saskatchewan. At the time it was felt that 
this site would in future years become the permanent location of 
the college. The construction of the building proceeded satis¬ 
factorily and in September of 1913 the Jesuit College was opened. 
Reverend Father Hudson, S.J., had been in charge of the construction 
phase of the new building.^ 

The Jesuit College had affiliations with the Arts department 
of Laval University and it adopted its high school courses to the 
provincial curriculum. For many years it was primarily French- 
speaking but it later became bilingual. In 1942, because of the 
dwindling number of students and financial difficulties, the College 
was sold to the Americans whose armed services personnel used it 
during the war. Today, the former Jesuit College is a tuberculosis 
sanatorium for Indians and Eskimos, and is known as the Charles 

Camsell Memorial Hospital. 

o 

Shortly after his arrival here. Archbishop O’Leary began 
working for the establishment of a Catholic College which would be 
affiliated with the University of Alberta. He began negotiations 
with the Carnegie Foundation of New York which promised $100,000 
provided that the same amount could be raised through contributions. 

The Brothers of the Christian Schools were offered the college 
if they would assume the responsibility of raising the money. Brother 
Alfred came from Toronto to organize the campaign. Donations came from 


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115 


all over the province and in many cases the amount pledged was 
over-subscribed in three months, from November of 1925 to January of 
1926* Many non-Catholics also contributed to the drive for funds. 

An old friend of Father Lacombe, Pat Burns of Calgary, donated $20,000 
towards the fund. The first classes were held at the Teachers* Summer 
School in July of 1927. The Catholic College was incorporated under 
the name of St, Joseph*s College by an act of the Provincial Legislature, 
It was to have a board of eight governors with Archbishop 0*Leary as 
chairman. Other members of the Board included Bishop Kidd, Brother 
Rogation, Brother Alfred, Dean Kerr, Judge Beck and Pat Burns, 

9 

The College was admitted to full participation with the Arts 
and Science Faculty of the University of Alberta, Philosophy, Ethics 
and History, were to be taught at the college by the college staff. 
Textbooks for these courses were to be chosen by the college with the 
endorsement of the University Council. Other Arts and Science 
courses could be taught in the college or in classes at the University 
depending upon agreements entered into with the governing body. The 
College also provides a residence for some of the Catholic students 
on the campus. 

The Order placed in charge of St. Joseph*s College, the Brothers 
of the Christian Schools, was founded in Rheims, France, during the 
late seventeenth century. It was founded by St, John De La Salle 
for the education of poor boys in charity schools. During the life 
of the Founder the Brothers became engaged in other work, such as 
Normal Schools for teacher training, and Perseverance Societies for 
working boys. They came to New York early in the nineteenth century. 
From there they established schools in Toronto and Montreal. Those 


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116 


in Edmonton came here from Toronto; the first Superior here was 
Brother Rogation# Now, there are four Brothers of the Order here, 
under Brother Luke, Superior. 

10 

The Franciscans, better known as a preaching Order, had also 
established a college in Edmonton in 1925. The cornerstone of St. 
Anthony*s College was blessed and laid by Archbishop 0*Leary on 
May 17, 1925* The initial work of erection was begun by Reverend 
Hyacinth Workman, O.F.M., Superior, (1925 - 1930). 

The Franciscan Fathers first arrived in Edmonton in 1909, and 
along with administering the parish of St. Francis of Assisi, they 
have served many parishes and missions throughout the Archdiocese. 

In order to establish their work and to provide boys with a 
Franciscan training, the first wing of the College was opened in 
1925 with nine boys. Each succeeding year saw the number of 
students increase so it was decided to build a new wing in 1931. 

The work was started under Reverend John C. Moyer, O.F.M., and by 
September of 1931 accommodation for forty boys had been completed. 
When the College had officially opened in 1926 there had been a 
registration of twenty-six boys. The new wing, built in 1931, was 
of reinforced concrete and brick construction and cost $90,000. It 
contained offices, classrooms, dormitories, a chapel and infirmary. 

The wing was blessed by Archbishop O’Leary on October 4, 1931. An 
interesting feature of its growth was that the workmen on the project 
contributed toward the statue of St. Anthony which was placed in the 
niche of the tower. A new gymnasium was added in 1946. The present 
Rector of St. Anthony*s College is Reverend Randolph Wagner, O.F.M.^ 

Another educational institution, slightly different in its aims. 


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117 


was also started in 1925* In September of that year a house at 
10621 - 92 Street was purchased with the intention of forming a 
Ukrainian youth centre to safeguard their faith, and to provide 
training for prospective farming leaders among them. The first 
Director of the Shevchenko Institute was Rev. P. J. Hughes, a man 
who also built many churches in the Archdiocese of Edmonton, He 
*££S assisted for a time by Rev. E. Q. Jennings. Father Hughes is 
now Monsignor Hughes of Estevan, Saskatchewan. In establishing 
the Institute it was hoped that a permanent educational youth 
centre could be completed. Plans for such a permanent institution 
were drawn up by the late Edward Underwood, an Edmonton architect. 

The Christian Brothers of St. Joseph*s College were asked by 
Archbishop 0*Leary to take over the operation of the Institute in 
1927* They were asked because they were operating a similar 
program at St. Joseph*s College in Yorkton. They did undertake 
the work of the Institute for approximately two years but hesitated 
to expand because of difficult financial commitments at the College 
in Yorkton. They felt that the Ukrainian Students could be 
accommodated at St. Joseph’s College in Edmonton. Moreover, 
conditions were becoming increasingly difficult and many students 
were unable to pay even the very low fees of the Shevchenko 
Institute.^ The Archdiocese again took over the administration of 
the Institute in 1929 but sufficient financial aid was not available 
and the Institute was permanently closed in 1932. The late Rev* 
Michael Leany was the last Director of the Institute. 

The work, motivated by the best ideals, was never completely 
successful. Its existence was a more or less precarious one mainly 




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118 


because of poor financial support. The onset of the depression 
hastened the. closing of the Institute in 1932. Work of the nature 
intended for the Shevchenko Institute is today being carried on by 
Ukrainian priests in Edmonton and Saskatoon, and in St. Joseph*s 
College in Yorkton. The outlook for such work today is much brighter 
than it was in Edmonton during the late twenties and early thirties. 

An educational institution for young boys, those from broken 
homes or orphans, was established here in 1922. It was operated 
from 1922 until 1951 by the Sisters of Providence. The Home was 
first located in the old residence of the Archbishop on 83 Avenue. 
Much of the credit for it must go to Monsignor Carleton, who was 
parish priest of St. Anthony’s at the time. 

One inconvenience suffered by the Home on 83 Avenue was the 
lack of recreational grounds and facilities. In 1941 a new Home 
was opened in North Edmonton at 67 Street and 128 Avenue • A former 
fire hall and police station, the building acquired had room for 
about one hundred boys. At first it was supported mainly by private 
donations but the good work being done there led to provincial and 
municipal welfare authorities taking steps to secure some government 
help. The Home was taken over by the Salesian Fathers in 1951. 

The Salesians of Don Bosco is a religious Order dedicated to 
the education of youth. It is the third largest teaching Order in 
the Church, with schools and youth centres in fifty-eight different 
countries. It does not discriminate as to race, color, or creed. 
Their method lies in educating boys to form their complete 
personality, by providing lodging, schooling, and trades. The 
Salesians came to Edmonton in September of 1951 under Superior 






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119 


Reverend Louis Massuero, S.D.B. In 1954 there was a city-wide 
campaign for funds. Many non-Catholic businessmen and firms took 
a generous and active part in the campaign. Following the conclusion 
of the campaign, a new building, large enough to accommodate one 
hundred and twenty-five boys, was erected in 1955• It is located on 
52 Street and 127 Avenue. At present there are six priests and 
four brothers on the staff, under Superior Reverend Father Joseph, 
S.D.B. In their teaching they follow the academic and technical 
courses of the Alberta Department of Education. Pupils from the 
fifth to the ninth grades, inclusive, are taught.-j ^ 

An important milestone was reached in the history of the Roman 
Catholic Church in Edmonton in 1927* In that year, the Scholasticate 
of the Oblate Fathers was taken over by the Archdiocese for the 
training of secular clergy onlyj r The fact that the Archdiocese 
needed its own seminary is significant. A country or a province 
which supplies its own professional men and clergy is said to be 
mature. In most respects it has passed the frontier and trading 
period and is beginning to develop a culture of its own. During the 
frontier period, men are busily engaged in acquiring the bare 
necessities of life. They can ill afford the time or money required 
to obtain what is not absolutely necessary for survival under 
primitive conditions. 

The first building of St. Joseph*s Seminary was constructed in 
1S94; it was the community house or presbytery of St. Joachim* s 
Church and was built under the direction of the parish priest. Rev. 

L. Fouquet, O.M.I. A Minor Seminary had been opened at St. Albert 
in 1900 and there were students there until 1913 when they finally 




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moved to Edmonton* In 1907* the Oblate Fathers found it necessary 
to increase their accommodation when the presbytery became their 
Provincial House. The addition made trebled the size of the original 
building. In 1917, the Provincial House was converted into a 
Scholasticate. In that year, the first diocesan seminarian in 
Edmonton, Emile Tessier, began taking some classes there, although 
he did not live at the Scholasticate. He had previously taken classes 
at St. Joachim 1 s Rectory while working in the city. A few students 
for the Archdiocese were enrolled in 1918 but they lived in a house 
on 111 Street just south of the Precious Blood Monastery of today. 
Accommodation was insufficient so another addition was made to the 
original seminary building in 1919* This addition doubled the size 
of the then existing building. After this second addition the entire 

building was converted into a Scholasticate. . 

16 

Archbishop Legal, recognizing the need for secular priests, had 
opened the doors of the Scholasticate to them. He was succeeded in 
1920 by Archbishop 0*Leary who enrolled candidates for the Archdiocese 
and had them placed under the training of the Oblates. Before long, 
however, the increasing number of Oblate Scholasticates and Diocesan 
Seminarians necessitated a further change. Since the building was 
too small to house both groups an arrangement was made whereby the 
entire Scholasticate was taken over by the Archdiocese for the 
training of secular clergy only. This was in 1927; during June of 
that year the Oblates moved to Lebret, Saskatchewan. In September 
of the same year St. Joseph*s Seminary was officially opened to train 
students for the Archdiocese of Edmonton. During the first year there 
was an enrolment of sixty-six students. They were under the direction 








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121 


of the diocesan clergy assisted by the Reverend Doctors La Coste and 
Salles, O.M.I. The first Rector of St* Joseph’s Seminary was the 
Right Reverend James C. McGuigan, D.D., Vicar-General of the 
Archdiocese* 


During the 1920’s, Archbishop O’Leary’s influence was responsible 
for a large number of young men from Eastern Canada coming to swell 
the meagre ranks of clergy in Edmonton^ r/ Priests and seminarians came 
to Edmonton from England, Ireland, Ontario, Newfoundland, New 
Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. There are also 
many working in parishes outside the city of Edmonton who came West 
at the request of Archbishop O’Leary. There were ten priests from 

St. Joseph’s Seminary ordained in 1923. Of this 1928 class. Rev. 

18 

P. J. O’Reilly and Rev. C. J. Foran went to Rome for post graduate 
work. They were the first diocesan students of the Edmonton 
jurisdiction to study in a Roman university.^. 

Monsignor McGuigan remained as Rector until May 15, 1930, when 
he was consecrated Archbishop of Regina. He was succeeded as Rector 
by Rev. M. C. O’Neill, the present Archbishop of Regina. He remained 
as Rector until 1939 when the present Rector, the Very Reverend Howard 
Griffin, D.D., was appointed. This scholastic year 1956 - 1957 was 
the last year in which the Seminary on 99 Avenue and 110 Street was 
used. Over 200 priests who studied at St. Joseph’s Seminary have been 
ordained. The new seminary building is located on the St. Albert 
Trail, within the newly extended limits of the town of St. Albert. 

The tract of 126 acres on which it is built was purchased in 1954 
from M. Durand, Count de Bernis, a French nobleman who spent some 
time in Edmonton early in the century. Before that, it had been the 


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122 


home of a family named Kelly, and for the past forty years was farmed 
by the Dalhogury family. 

Due to the increased enrolment after the war. Archbishop 
MacDonald in 1947 named the building of a new seminary as the chief 
project in an Archdiocesan campaign for funds. Other objectives 
were the payment of parish debts, the orphanages, and education. 

About half of the sum realized was reserved for the new seminary. 

This sum was built up over the next ten years so that it became 
possible to build a new seminary without too large a debt. The 
Parishes and Religious Communities of the Archdiocese contributed 
further funds in 1956 and 1957 to pay for furnishings. Construction 
began on March 8, 1956. The building was completed in time for 
occupancy on September 12, 1957. The total cost, including land, 
architectural and other fees, building, furnishings, and landscaping, 
was $1,150,000. Designed to accommodate 100 students, it is so 
arranged that heating, kitchen, dining and chapel facilities are 
capable of handling an eventual 200 students. 

In Alberta, the voluntary type of hospital pioneered in the 
field of hospital services. Church groups and religious orders 
followed closely upon the heels of the trader, and were usually the 
first to offer aid to the sick and needy. The first hospital in 
Northern or Central Alberta was established at St. Albert in 1881 
by the Grey Nuns. It was part of the Youville Convent and was 
used by Doctors Harrison, Blais and Braithwaite of Edmonton. This 
hospital served the Edmonton district until 1895. 

The Sisters of Charity of Ville-Marie (The Grey Nuns of Montreal), 
were founded by Madame d*Youville, a native of Quebec, in October, 1738, 


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They moved westward to St. Boniface in 1844 and in 1859 moved to 
Lac Ste. Anne where they opened a mission school. At the suggestion 
of Bishop Tache, they moved to St. Albert in 1863 and opened their 
hospital there in 1881. 

In 1894 a group of doctors in Edmonton wrote Bishop Grandin, 
promising their support of a hospital should the Grey Nuns establish 
one in the city. The doctors who wrote this letter and pledged their 
support were: H. C. Wilson, H. L. Mclnnes, P. S. Royal, J. H. Tofield, 
J. D. Harrison, and E. A. Braithwaite. Both Bishop Grandin and the 
Superior General in Montreal gave their support and soon afterwards. 
Reverend Sister Brassard, Superior of the Orphanage at St, Albert, 
purchased forty-six lots from the Hudson*s Bay Company at a cost of 
twenty-three hundred dollars, A petition was presented to the 
Edmonton town council asking for financial aid and the council voted 
one thousand dollars towards the project. 

During the winter of 1894 - 1895, the material for the construction 
of the hospital was hauled. By December 17, 1895, the brick and stone 
thirty-five bed hospital was completed at a cost of thirty-thousand 
dollars. The first patient, S. Vankonghuet, was admitted by Dr. 
Braithwaite on December 16, 1895* Twenty-one patients were treated 
during December, but because of a shortage of beds the hospital was 
not officially opened until February of 1896, 

A four-story addition and a new laundry were added in 1907* 

During 1908, a training school was organized under Sister Casey. The 
first class of six pupils graduated in 1911* In August of 1916, 

Sister Gosselin, who with Sister Marie Xavier had opened the hospital, 
became Superior, In order to meet increased demands for greater 


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124 


accommodation a west wing and a south wing were added in 1920. 

At that time the entire hospital was remodelled to give the maximum 
service necessary. A five-story wing with a one hundred bed capacity 
was completed in 1940. St. John*s Ward, a fifty-eight bed hut, was 
finished in 1947* In September of 1950 the excavation for a kitchen 
and a new wing of 200 beds was completed. This wing was opened in 
1953* There is a total of 371 beds and sixty-nine bassinets in the 
General Hospital. The present Superior is Sister Alice Gauthier, 
s o g. m. 

The hospital achieved Cl$ss “A 11 rating in 1922, and in 1924 
the first interne was accepted. More than 1100 nurses have graduated 
since the nursing school opened in 190&. There are over 260 doctors 
on the staff, not including seventeen dentists. The hospital is 
also affiliated with the University of Alberta Medical School and is 
thus an integral unit in the undergraduate teaching program. It is 
fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation 
and is approved for rotating interneship by the Canadian Medical 
Association and the American College of Surgeons. An active 
educational program is conducted under the direction of a Medical 
Staff headed by a staff member of the University of Alberta. In 
addition to the School of Nursing there are three other approved 
schools for those who wish to choose a profession in the hospital 
field. There is a School for X-Ray Technologists, one for Laboratory 
Technologists, and a School for Medical Records Librarians. 

The Misericordia Hospital is operated by the Sisters of Mercy. 
This Order was founded in Montreal on January 16, 184&, by Mrs. 

Marie Rosalie (Cadron) Jette. Mrs. Jette was a widow whose religious 


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125 


name was Mother of the Nativity# She was encouraged in the founding 
of this Order by Bishop Bourget of Montreal, The first aim of the 
Order was, and still is, to help the unmarried mother and her child* 

The secondary purpose is hospital work. Nursing schools and closed 
retreats have been added throughout the years. 

On various occasions Bishop Bourget had confided to the care of 
Mrs. Jette, young girls who were to become mothers. The Bishop was 
always impressed by the care she gave the girls and in 1848 he asked 
her to take the lead in establishing the Soeurs de la Misericorde 
(Sisters of Mercy). The Order developed gradually and the Sisters 
were asked to work in different parts of Canada and the United 
States. The Edmonton mission was the seventh of this Order to be 
established. 

It was in March of 1900 that Father Lacombe, O.M.I., acting 
for his Bishop, officially asked the Sisters to establish here. 

The following month. Father Leduc, O.M.I., was in Montreal to 
negotiate with the Superior General of the Order. It was agreed 
that four Sisters would come; the four left Montreal for Edmonton 
on May 29, 19Q0. The Superior of this first group was Sister St. 
Francis of Assisi. The four were accompanied by a lay nurse. Miss 
Mary Jane Kennedy of Ottawa. 

Upon their arrival in Edmonton the Sisters stayed for three 
days with the Grey Nuns of the General Hospital. They then occupied 
a small house donated to them by a Mr. Roderick McCrae. They spent 
three months in this building, after which they obtained a more 
spacious and suitable one, consisting of a warehouse and shed, 
united by means of a corridor. The most urgent repairs and improvements 


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were immediately made so as to give a ‘'Home” to more unmarried 
mothers. The first unmarried mother was admitted on June 26, 1900. 

A drive was organized for the collection of funds but it was 
unsuccessful, but with the number of admittances increasing, the 
work could no longer be carried on in the "Home.” The foundations 
for the present hospital were laid.in 1905 but five years were to 
elapse before it was satisfactorily furnished and equipped. The 
Sisters moved to the new building in March of 1906. From that time 
on the number of patients kept increasing. The new hospital was 
then incorporated as the M Misericordia Hospital.” The School of 
Nursing was opened in 1907 under Sister St. Catherine of Siena. 

The first graduate, a Miss Sproule, finished in 1910. Graduation 
was presided over by Doctors MacDonnel and Revel. 

Various additions were made to the hospital during the years, 
the latest in 1955* In 1911 the first rooms solely for illegitimate 
children were established; the construction of the north wing in 1922; 
the construction of the first nurses* residence, now the internes’ 
residence, in 1937; the building of the maternity wings in 1940; a 
new nurses* residence of 150 beds in 194$; the opening of an east 
wing of forty-seven beds in 1952 and the building of a west wing in 
1955* The bed capacity of the Misericordia Hospital is 402. It was 
approved by the American College of Surgeons in 1925 and in August 
of 1953 was accredited by the Joint Commission of Hospital Accredita¬ 
tion. 

A Sister of Mercy, a graduate in Social Service from the 
University of Montreal, works with the Social Welfare Department to 
study the needs of unmarried mothers and to help in their rehabilitation, 


21 


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127 


The idea of establishing a charitable institution for the aged 
and infirm in the Archdiocese came from Archbishop 0*Leary. The 
"Whyte Block" on 107 Street and 82 Avenue was purchased in 1927 for 
use as an Old Peopled Home. It was officially opened as a Hospital 
in 1929 with a staff of five Sisters of Providence, under Sister 
Monica* The first patients were mainly elderly people; there were 
a few bed patients. In 1931, the provincial government, seeing the 
need of a hospital for the chronically ill, authorized St. Joseph f s 
as a hospital for that purpose 

During the late 1930*s and early 1940*s the authorities there 
were faced with serious problems of overcrowding. An expansion 
program was therefore undertaken. An addition which enlarged the 
hospital by one hundred and fifty beds was completed in 194&. A 
polio ward was opened in 1953 and a major expansion was completed 
in 1955*,,, The present Superior is Reverend Mother M. Anselm who was 
appointed in 1950. 

The Sisters of Providence (Kingston) also operate another 
institution in Edmonton; it is a boarding house for girls and is 
known as Rosary Hall. During the First World War, with the develop¬ 
ment of a labor shortage, many women and young girls took over much 
of the work formerly done by men. The larger towns and cities 
received an influx of girls and young women hoping to obtain a better 
or an easier way of life than they had been accustomed to in the 
rural areas or villages. Many of them arrived in Edmonton with little 
knowledge of the city and without a place to live. It was with the 
intention of helping to care for these girls that in 1915 Archbishop 
Legal took action. This was not the first time he experienced this 






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128 


problem. Shortly after the turn of the century he had built a 
boarding house for Ukrainian girls coming to Edmonton from farming 
areas and from Europe. This home was located on 103 Street, just 
south of the Y.W.C.A. The building was owned by the Y.W.C.A. for 
many years but was sold a few years ago and remodelled. Today it 
is the Dr. Weinlos Clinic. In 1915> Archbishop Legal asked Reverend 
Mother Frances Regis, Superior General of the Community of the Sisters 
of Providence, to take over the work of caring for the welfare of 
Catholic girls living in Edmonton but whose homes were not here. The 
Order of the Sisters of Providence was founded in Canada in 1861, 
with St. Vincent de Paul as its Patron. The same Order had been 
operating a hospital in Daysland since 1908. 

The work itself started in 1915 > when the Sisters of Providence, 
under Superior, Sister Mary Clements, took up residence in a building 
on 104 Street. Shortly afterwards, greater accommodations were needed, 
and in May of 1916 they moved to larger quarters on 107 Street. It 
was then that the name of "Rosary Hall" was adopted for their boarding 
home. The institution was to provide a "home for girls away from 
home." During 1917 they also rented a house on 107 Street belonging 
to a Mr. Berube". This became known as "Rosary Hall Annex." Work 
was carried on here until 1919 when the Annex was given up and the 
house of a Mrs. Lambert on 106 Street was purchased. Sister Mary 
Clement was Superior from 1915 to 1919, followed by Sister Mary 
Carmelita from 1919 to 1925* In 1924* the J. H. Gariepy residence 
was obtained, an addition costing $30,000 was made to it in 1925, 
all being known as Rosary Hall. This building enabled the Sisters 
to carry out their work in more suitable surroundings• 


24 


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An institution differing somewhat to those already described 
is the Marian Centre, The movement which led to the establishment 
of the Marian Centre was started by Baroness de Hueck, now Mrs. Eddie 
Doherty, The purpose of such'establishments was to combat materialism 
in its various forms, including communism. By working with the poor 
and unfortunate, and by living under the same circumstances, the 
organizers of the movement strive to attain their objectives. In 
addition to the Marian Centre in Edmonton there are similar 
establishments in Combermere, Ontario; Whitehorse, Yukon; Portland, 
Oregon; and Winslow, Arizona. Each House is named in honor of the 
Blessed Virgin, Mrs. Doherty opened the first Centre in Combermere 
in 1946. Previously, she had worked among Negroes in Harlem and 
Chicago, in an effort to combat communism among them. 

The first building in Edmonton was a small house on 95 Street, 
opened on May 31, 1955* It soon proved too small; consequently, 
three lots were purchased on 98 Street with the intention of building 
at a later date. There are two houses on 9# Street presently being 
used to serve those who seek help. The Marian Centre itself is at 
10528 - 9S Street, and next door is its counter-part, St. Josephs, 
Father Briere of St. Joseph*s Seminary played an important part in 
helping to establish the Centre here. At the present time, July, 1957, 
there are two girls and one boy on the permanent staff, under the 
direction of Miss Dorothy Phillips, a former personnel director for 
the Blue Cross organization in Montreal. The Centre also receives 
voluntary help from Catholic organizations throughout the city. 

Of those served by the Marian Centre, the great bulk is composed 
of transient workers. Many of them are unable to hold a job long 


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130 


because of lack of skill or ability* Therefore, they must seek 
help. Another segment of the populace which frequents the Centre 
regularly is the old-age pensioners. By receiving two free meals 
a day they can stretch their pension to cover their room rent and 
personal needs. The smallest group served by the Centre is the 
alcoholics. They come to seek food and clothing and are desperately 
in need of guidance and help in order to rehabilitate themselves. 

A building, estimated to cost $64>000, is being erected behind the 
present Marian Centre; it will enable the workers to expand and 
continue their efforts. The money for the building comes entirely 
from donations, as does the food and clothing which is given out 
daily at the Centre. The food and clothing is supplied to the Centre 
by city firms, parishes, and individuals. 

The charitable and educational work of the Church could not be 
carried out without the aid of the institutions described. Through 
those institutions many non-believers or "scoffers” of religion are 
brought into contact with Christianity. Many people have no contact 
with Christianity except through such institutions. Many young people 
trained in these educational institutions often devote their lives to 
the same type of work, mainly because they have received Catholic 
education* They go on to teach, to work in hospitals, in homes for 
the aged, in orphanages, and in missions* Thus, through such 
institutions, the Catholic Church is assuring itself of a supply of 
clergy and Sisters, is performing much of her educational and charitable 
work, and is contacting many who would otherwise have no contact whatsoever 
with Christianity. This is true in Edmonton as well as in other parts of 


the world, 


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1* See Appendix B, pp. 150 - 157. 

2. The three Orders engaged in hospital work in Edmonton are: The 
Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns of Montreal), The Sisters of Mercy, 
and The Sisters of Providence (Kingston). 

3* The Contemplative Order in Edmonton is the Sisters Adorers of the 
Precious Blood. They arrived here in 1925 at the request of 
Archbishop O’Leary "to establish a powerhouse of prayer in the 
Archdiocese." The Foundress of the Sisters Adorers of the Precious 
Blood was Mother Catherine Aurelie of St. Hyacinth, Quebec (1833 - 
1905)* Unable to decide what religious community to join, she was 
finally advised by the Archbishop of Montreal to acquire a secluded 
dwelling and establish a new cloistered community of Adorers of the 
Precious Blood, daughters of Mary Immaculate. A decree of 1861 
formally established this new cloistered community. It was approved 
as a world wide Institute by Pope Leo XIII in 1896. This Contemplative 
Community, sometimes referred to as a "Cloistered Order," is devoted 
to prayer and reparation. The first Superior in Edmonton was Mother 
Mary Immaculate Heart. She remained as Superior until her death in 
1953* The present Superior is Mother Mary of the Rosary. From the 
Edmonton Monastery, seven other monasteries have been established 
in the following dioceses: Charlottetown, Vancouver, Regina, Pembroke, 
Calgary, St. Paul, and one in Japan. 

4» The two Orders which care for charitable institutions in Edmonton 
are: The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, and the 
Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement. Sisters of Our Lady of Charity 
of the Refuge : This Religious Order was founded by St. Jean Eudes 
in 1641# Its purpose was to do and promote works of charity, particu¬ 
larly among delinquent girls and those from broken homes. The first 
foundation of the Order in North America was made at Buffalo, New 
York, in 1855. These Sisters came to Edmonton on March 19, 1912, 
from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the invitation of Archbishop Legal. 
Following their arrival in Edmonton in 1912, with Mother Mary of 
St. Leo as Superior, the Sisters opened a House at 111 Street and 
99 Avenue to care for delinquents. They remained there until 
December of 1918 when they moved to 11409 - 96 Street. This 
building was enlarged in 1921 in order to care for orphans and poor 
children in need of a home. By 1928 the building was too overcrowded 
to allow the admittance of any more children. Under the jurisdiction 
of Archbishop O’Leary the children (orphans) were moved to the 
O’Connell Institute, opened in 1928. In 1948 Archbishop MacDonald 
made it possible for the Sisters to put an addition to the O’Connell 
Institute. In 1951, the present Good Shepherd Home was built on the 
grounds adjoining the Institute. The older girls were moved to the 
Good Shepherd Home and the dwelling at 96 Street was sold. Another 
addition was made to the O’Connell Institute in 1955 and was opened 
in 1956* At the present time both Homes are w^ell filled. The Good 
Shepherd Home is filled to capacity with 105 girls, while the 
O’Connell Institute has an average of 140 children. The present 
Superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge in 
Edmonton is Mother Mary Immaculate Heart. There are eighteen 
Religious, three Junior Professed, four Novices and two Postulants 
in the Order in Edmonton. Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement! 







c. 



















131a 


The Sisters of this Order came to Edmonton in 1926 at the invita¬ 
tion of Archbishop O’Leary; they came from Graymoor, New York* 

The first Superior of the Order in Edmonton was Sister Aloysius, 

S.A. (1928 - 1931). A small rented house in Sacred Heart Parish 
was their first convent. Within a short period of time a larger 
location was acquired at 9618 - 106A Avenue, for the purpose of 
providing a residence for Catholic girls from rural districts who 
came to Edmonton to continue their high school education. In 
addition, the Sisters undertook parish visiting in the homes, 
census taking, acting as interpreters for immigrants, and holding 
English classes for them. Catechetical classes were held at 
Fraser Flats, Beverly, and Holy Rosary Parish weekly. Instructions 
for preparation for First Communion and Confirmation were conducted 
during the summer in outlying districts. This work was carried on 
for six years, but during the depression the work for high school 
girls gave place to the establishment of a Home for children. This 
necessitated their moving from 9618 - 106A Avenue to the present 
location at 11035 - 92 Street, At the new location the main efforts 
of the Sisters are devoted to the children at the Atonement Home, 
and to the summer camp at Lac Ste. Anne. The Atonement Home provides 
for the spiritual and physical development of the child, by religious 
instruction along with education, food, clothing, shelter, medical 
attention and recreation. Boys between the ages of three to twelve 
years, and girls from three to fifteen years, are accepted for 
admittance. A kindergarten is conducted for children residing in 
the Home, and from the immediate locality. Children of school age 
attend St. Michael*s and Sacred Heart Schools. The Sisters also 
make weekly visits to hospital patients and teach catechism in the 
summer. There are approximately eighty-five children in the 
Atonement Home. They are cared for by six Sisters, including Sister 
Stanislaus, S.A., Superior, 

5. See Appendix C, pp. 158 - 161. 

6. Drouin, Rev. E., O.M.I., Files of St. John the Evangelist College, 
March 10, 1957. 

7. The Western Catholic , January 26, 1928, vol. 8, pp. 1 and 5. 

8. Ibid . 

9. The Western Catholic , May 19, 1957, pp. 1 and 5. 

10. Brother Luke, Rector, St. Joseph*s College, March 11, 1957. 

11. Wagner, Rev. Gandolph, O.F.M., Rector, St. Anthony*s College, 

April 25, 1957. 

12. Sacred Heart Academy, Regina, (Letter from Monsignor P.F. Hughes 
to Author, July 31, 1957.). 

13. Interview with Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D., February 9, 1957. 

14. Father Joseph, S.D.B., Superior, Salesians of Don Bosco, March 8, 

1957. 

15. Interview with Rev. James Holland, Professor of Church History, 

St. Joseph*s Seminary. 

16. CF. Letter of Father Forbes, O.M.I., to Archbishop Jordan, O.M.I., 
Coadjutor Archbishop of Edmonton, February 28, 1957. (A copy is 
kept in the files of St. Joseph’s Seminary in the Chancery Office.) 

17. It was during this time that Fathers McGuigan, Nelligan, Jennings and 
O’Neill came to Edmonton. Those in Edmonton now who came from Eastern 
Canada during the time of Archbishop O’Leary include: 











131b 


Monsigpor Carleton 

Monsignor O'Gorman, Sacred Heart 

Monsignor Foran, St. Anthony’s 

Monsignor Griffin, St. Joseph’s Seminary 

Monsignor MacLellan, St. Joseph's College 

Father O'Neill, Assumption Parish 

Father Wall, St. Michael’s 

Father Burke, Immaculate Heart 

Father Merchant, St. Agnes 

Father O'Reilly, St. Edmund’s 

Father Mark Murphy, St. Andrew’s 

Father Adolphus Gillis, St. John the Evangelist 

Father Francis Gillis, St. Pius X 

Father Daly, Sacred Heart 

Father Martin, St. Clare’s 

Father Prendergast, Assistant at St. Clare’s 

Father Britton, St. Theresa's 

Father Donahue, St. Patrick’s 

Father Holland, St. Joseph's Seminary (from England) 

Father Green, Rosary Hall (from England) 

18. Those who were ordained during the completion of the Seminary’s 
first year were: 

Rev. R. Malone 
Rev. J. Murphy 
Rev. D. W. Martin 
Rev. R. J. O’Neill 
Rev. P. Heffernan 
Rev. A. J. Houle 
Rev. J. Aherne 
Rev. W. J. McLeod 
Rev. D. Marchand 
Rev. J. A. Coursol 

19. St. Joseph’s Seminary Files, Archdiocesan Chancery Office. 

20. Sister Alice Gauthier, s.g.m., Superior, Edmonton General Hospital, 
April, 1957. 

21. Sister Ste. Madeleine de la Croix, Superior, Misericordia Hospital, 
April, 1957. 

22. Pamphlet published on the twenty-fifth anniversary of St. Joseph’s 
Hospital, Edmonton, 1952. 

23. The Western Catholic , January 21, 194&, p. 1. 

24. Sister Mary Ildefonsa, Superior, Sisters of Providence (Kingston), 
March 30, 1957. 









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132 


CHAPTER VIII 

ROMAN CATHOLIC ORGANIZATIONS 

Within the Roman Catholic Church there are many groups of 
lay people organized to help carry out certain forms of parish 
activities and social action, under the direction of a priest or 
a competent lay person. Every parish has its various clubs; the 
Catholic Youth Organization, the Holy Name Society, the Altar 
Society; clubs such as these are common to many parishes. There 
are also some peculiar to certain parishes or institutions. All 
of them do valuable work, much of this work passing unnoticed by 
many Catholics, 

In some cases lay organizations or competent lay personnel 
can work for the Church more effectively than the clergy. They 
have more opportunities in some fields to spread the teachings 
of the Church and to show good example in their daily life. The 
financial problem is often solved in large measure due to the 
energetic work of parish workers who organize and supervise fund 
raising campaigns, either to pay off debts or to build new 
institutions and churches. There are many phases of work in the 
Church which are being effectively carried out by lay organizations. 
Study clubs, instructions, fund-raising, which is almost a constant 
problem with all churches, building projects, and social work; all 
can be done to a certain extent by capable organizations. Certainly, 
the load of many pastors is lightened by competent lay organizations. 




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133 


To Catholics, the month of February is usually known as 
“Catholic Press'* month. It is during this time especially that 
Catholics are exhorted to support and follow the teachings of the 
Church which are carried in the Catholic press. Many Catholics 
are ignorant of the Church's teachings on matters about which 
Catholics should be well informed. For this reason the Church 
tries to bring to the attention of Catholics, topics which should 
be known. 

The Archdiocese of Edmonton publishes a weekly newspaper. 

The Western Catholic . Its organization and publication were mainly 
the result of efforts put forth by Archbishop O'Leary. The first 
issue of The Western Catholic appeared on June 23, 1921, and for 
the first few months the editor was Father McG-uigan. ^ The paper 
had its own printing plant under the title of the“Great Western 
Press Ltd." It was published in 1929 for one year by Henry J. 

Roche. In 1930 and 1931 it was published by"La Survivance 
Printing" In 1932, with publishing costs mounting, it was 
transferred to Wainwright but was returned to Edmonton in 1933. 

Among the editors who have helped the paper fulfill its role 
in expressing the teachings of the Church were: Reverend J. A. 
MacLellan, Reverend Doctor A. B. MacDonald of Calgary, Reverend 
Hugo Doyle in 1932, and Reverend R. V. Britton, 1933 - 1949* The 
present managing editor. Reverend A. D. O'Brien, took over in 1949• 
The offices of the paper are now located at 151 Street and Stony 
Plain Road. 

2 

Closely allied with The Western Catholic in helping to spread 
Catholic teachings is the Catholic Truth Broadcast. The first 
broadcast was inaugurated on November 1, 1936. Monsignor O'Gorman 




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134 


of Sacred Heart Parish delivered the first sermon. The use of 
radio as an effective means of communication has proven invaluable. 

Today, television is proving its worth in the same way. The 
Catholic Truth Broadcast is heard on Sunday afternoons and is now 
under the direction of Reverend R. V. Britton of St. Theresa's 
Parish.-^ 

The date of the first meeting of the Catholic Women's League 
was November 7* 1912. This meeting was called by the late 
Katherine Hughes following a visit to Edmonton by L'Abbe Casgrain 
who came west to organize some form of Catholic action in the 
matter of immigration.^ 

The Edmonton subdivision of the Catholic Women's League is 
the oldest branch in Canada. The first work done by the League 
in Edmonton was to open a free employment bureau for girls and 
women immigrants newly arrived from Europe. It was only in 
operation for a month when it became apparent that a permanent 
centre was necessary. This centre would be designed to care for 
girls and women who were ill or out of work. As a result, the 
first C.W.L. "home for girls" was established. 

As the work grew, the need for larger quarters arose. In 
1916 the Sisters of Providence were asked to take charge of the 
"home." Shortly afterwards, in 1917 > the name of Rosary Hall was 
adopted; this name has since been given to similar centres operated 
by the C.W.L. throughout Canada. Rosary Hall came to care, not 
only for immigrant girls, but also for many other girls from Alberta 
who were employed in the city. The first executive officers in the 
formation of the League in Edmonton were: president, Mrs. Samuel 


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135 


J* Gorman; vice-president, Madame W. Gariepy; treasurer, Mrs. M. J. 
Tehan; chaplain. Reverend A. Naessens, O.M.I. 

The charitable work done by the C.W.L. has grown to include: 
church extension, assistance to orphanages, education, social 
welfare, a vast array of parochial activities, war work, work with 
the Sisters of Service; and today, it adds its voice to those 
combatting the scourge of indecent literature# The motto of the 
C.W.L. is M For God and Canada. 11 Their crest is a Cross surrounded 
by a circle. The Cross is a symbol of redemption - the circle 
typifies an endless chain of service; a sisterhood of women founded 
on a basis of charity towards each other. ^ 

The Edmonton Diocesan Subdivision of the Catholic Women 1 s 
League was organized in September of 1922. The motivating personality 
behind its organization was Mrs. J. J. Duggan of Edmonton who became 
the first president. 

The first Diocesan Convention was held in September 9 and 10, 
1922, in Edmonton. Speaking to that Convention, Mrs. Duggan said: 
rt We, however, have reason for an honest pride; not the 
pride of place or accident of geographical position, but 
that honest, honorable pride one feels in the accomplishment 
of a work well done. The Catholic Women 1 s League of Edmonton 
is the oldest among the many Leagues in Canada# We are the 
pioneers - we, in this faraway city, blazed the trail long 
years before the larger centres of the east# In the spring of 
1913 our first meeting was called to order, and our first 
President, Mrs. Samuel Gorman, elected, and from that day to 
this our regular meetings have assembled, and our minutes have 


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136 


been kept at each consecutive gathering. Our work has moved, 
now slowly, now more rapidly, according as urgency impelled, 
and looking back now over a brief nine and a half years, our 
past is its own sufficient defence, and we have kept true to 
our motto, *For God and Canada 1 for in these words one can 
find the sum and substance of Catholic life. 1 ' 

6 

The Catholic Business Girls Club was also closely connected 
with the work of the Catholic Women*s League. The object of the 
Club was to provide a common meeting place for Catholic girls, so 
as to widen their acquaintanceship with other Catholic girls in 
the city. The Club was formed in June, 1922, with Miss Edna 
Bakewell as the first president. It proved especially beneficial 
to those girls whose homes were not in the city. Taking an active 
part in all Catholic activities, it also acted as a junior organiza¬ 
tion for the Catholic Women 1 s League. A driving force behind its 
organization was one of the leading Catholic women of the time in 
Edmonton, Mrs. J. J. Duggan. 

Another organization closely related to the C.W.L. is the 
Catholic Business Women's Club, which had been known as the 
Margaret Duggan Subdivision of the C.W.L. It later became the 
Catholic Girls' Club, and later still, a Junior C.W.L. During 
the early 1940's the organization split again and the older and 
married members carried on as the Margaret Duggan Subdivision of 
the C.W.L.^ During 1954 the Club \ms reorganized under the title 
"Margaret Duggan Business and Professional Subdivision of the 
C.W.L.", with objectives slightly different from the earlier 
Catholic Business Girls' Club. It was designed to accommodate 


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137 


those women who wished to aid in parish or charitable works, but 
whose interests differed from the older, married women of the C*W«L a 
It is comprised mainly of young business and professional women. 

In Edmonton their efforts have been largely directed towards the 
rehabilitation of returned servicemen, and in working with some of 
the religious and charitable organizations in the city* The first 
president in 1954 was Mrs. M. Boyle, who was also the charter 
president of the Margaret Duggan Subdivision of the C.W.L. At the 
present time, Mrs. E. O'Connor is the president of the organization* 

o 

The Edmonton Council of the Knights of Columbus, No. 11B4, was 
the first instituted west of Winnipeg. A Council had been organized 
in Winnipeg in 1902 and a Mr. T. D. Deegan of Winnipeg was appointed 
Territorial Deputy for the prairies. The first organizational 
meeting was held on August 26, 1906, and on November 1, 1906, a 
charter was granted the Edmonton Council. The installation of the 
Council took place on January 5> 1907 <» The first officers 
included: Hon. N. D. Beck, Grand Knight; H. M. Matin, Lecturer; 

J. Cormack, Advocate; H. J. Sullivan, Deputy Grand Knight; His 
Honor L. Dubuc, Chancellor, On July 1, 1914 > the Edmonton Council 
organized the Fourth Degree. In 1932 the Silver Jubilee of the 
Order was celebrated in the city. The ninth state depute s of 
Canada attended the ceremony . q The Council has always taken a part 
in city activities. During the influenza epidemic of 1919 it 
donated money to aid the afflicted. It has donated prizes for 
scholastic endeavour in our Separate Schools, sponsored athletic 
teams, furnished a ward in the General Hospital, and has aided 
substantially in supporting St. Mary's Boys' Home. 


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The Catholic Welfare Bureau in Edmonton was established in 

1935. Father Ryan, who in 1931 became pastor of St, Andrew’s 

Parish, was called in 1935 to aid in the establishment of such an 

organization, and he became its first Director, The immediate 

10 

cause of tiis organization being formed was the depression, A 
unified system of caring for those who felt the wrath of the 
depression was necessary. Rectories and Convents were beseiged 
by men seeking a meal or some clothing. The vast majority of 
these men were sincere and honest. Conditions were such that they 
had to resort to begging. As usual, there were some who made a 
"good thing" of their sad plight but by far the greater number 
would have been working if the opportunity was available. In 
order to give some organization to the charitable services it was 
felt that a centralized bureau was necessary. The object of the 
Catholic Welfare Bureau was to help the poor and needy with food 
and clothing, employment and counsel. The need for this Bureau 
did not originate or end with the depression even though the 
depression served to emphasize such a need. 

During the Marian Year of 1954 Pope Pius XII urged Catholics 
to a greater participation in various phases of social action. 

It was in trying to follow this directive that the Catholic Infor¬ 
mation Centre came into being. Rooms were first rented in the 
McLeod Building in June of 1954. Much of the credit for its 
organization and initial operation is due to Reverend W. Irwin 
and Reverend E. Doyle. 

Sister Jackson of the Sisters of Service was loaned to the 
Archdiocese for a period of six months in order to help get it 


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139 


established. The Centre itself was opened on January 2, 1955* 
Sister Jackson was also the secretary of the Confraternity of 
Christian Doctrine; it was hoped that both groups could join to 
give the necessary service. She remained until the end of June, 
1955, and Hiss Angela Doyle took over her duties, remaining in 
charge until the end of January, 1957* On January 2, 1957, the 
Centre was moved to its present location. Following the departure 
of Miss Doyle, Mrs. Catherine Doherty assigned a staff worker from 
the Marian Centre, Miss Marie Therese Langlois. 

The Centre was moved to its present location in order to allow 
room for a chapel and immigration counselling. At the beginning 
of Lent in 1957 Archbishop MacDonald gave permission for daily Mass 
each weekday at noon. After the first day increasing numbers made 
two Masses necessary. The Catholic Information Centre is designed 
to promote knowledge of the Catholic Church. Any who desire to do 
so may call in at any time to obtain information. Questions are 
answered and pamphlets and literature are given out to inquirers .-q 

The Catholic Immigration Counselling Service was organized 
during late 1955 and early 1956. Much of the work was done by 
Reverend C, Van Acht, A number of priests had come to the city 
from Europe, including three Polish and one Lithuanian priest. 
Father Jurksas, who established a mission for the Lithuanians. 

The three Polish priests worked with newly arrived Poles and 
served in Polish parishes which had been established for a number 
of years. The Salesian Fathers worked with Italian immigrants. 
Father Joseph of the Salesians worked with the Hungarians until 
early 1957. At that time, so many Hungarians were coming that 


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140 


Father Hamor, a Salesian Father from Hungary, began full time work 
with them.- In late 1956, Father Bertsch, a Pallottine Father, 
began work among the newly arrived Germans. 

The Catholic Immigration Counselling Service was established 
when Archbishop MacDonald appointed Father Robert a3 Director, 
with Fathers Van Acht and Bertsch on full time work. At present 
there are three priests working full time on immigration. They 
are: Father Van Acht, Father Bertsch, and Father Hamor. Their 
office is located in the Catholic Information Centre. 

The work done by the three priests consists of dealing with 
the government officials in the Immigration Building, serving 
immigrants by helping them to find jobs and housing, arranging 
for classes in English and often giving the classes themselves, 
instructing converts and helping those who wish to marry. On 
occasions, they go to country districts, where, aided by the 
local pastor, they hold meetings for new arrivals. Catholics in 
country parishes can also apply to the counselling service for 
families who wish farm work. 

The work of the various organizations described gives an 
indication of the number and types of organizations found in the 
Catholic Church. There are others which are not described here; 
but one may gain from those described an estimate of the work being 
done. The work being carried out through press and radio, through 
women’s organizations, by the Knights of Columbus, and by special 
organizations directed by the clergy, is all part of a greater design 
to teach and to help the unfortunate; briefly, to work for the Catholic 
Church by doing the work of the Catholic Church. 


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141 


1* Interview with Rt. Rev. J. A.MacLellan, former editor of 
The Western Catholic , May 20, 1957. 

2. The Western Catholic , November 5, 1942, p. 1. 

3. Ibid . 

4. Interview with Mrs. D. M. O’Brien, Edmonton, former National 
Secretary of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, March 8, 1957. 

5. The Western Catholic . October 12, 1932, p. 1. 

6. Ibid . 

7. Interview with Mrs. M. Boyle, Edmonton, Charter President, 

May 10, 1957o 

8. Ibid . 

9. Downey, M.M., Old Timers’ Association, Edmonton, November, 1937* 
(Notes compiled on the Biographies of Western Pioneers and History 

of Settlements of Western Canada.). 

10. Interview with Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D., August 11, 1957. 

11. Interview with Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D., August 11, 1957. 

12. Interview with Rev. E. Doyle, J.C.D., August 11, 1957. 






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142 


CHAPTER IX 

CONCLUSION 

The history of the Roman Catholic Church in Edmonton is 
primarily a story of growth and expansion; secondly, it is the story 
of the fusion of two major racial groups, the English and the 
French-speaking Roman Catholics. Both aspects of this story have 
given rise to problems, each totally different in nature but at the 
same time, closely intertwined. The tremendous growth and expansion 
of Edmonton brought to a head the racial issue, a problem which had 
been smouldering for some years. In its early years of growth, this 
problem was not considered as such; it was looked upon as a natural 
phase of growth and that is exactly what it was. However, with the 
passing of years, and with the culture of this region undergoing a 
change from a more or less primitive basis to a more settled 
agricultural society, a change in methods was needed in the religious 
field to cope with changes in other phases of social growth. Religion 
is not only a spiritual growth on the part of a human being, it is 
also a social growth. 

From the 1870*s until the First World War, there was a fairly 
steady flow of new settlers to this region, with the exception of a 
lag in the 1880*3. This flow was particularly evident in the decade 
1900 - 1910. The land seekers of the 1880’s, the prospectors of the 
1890*s, the great increase in immigrant homesteaders between 1890 
and 1915, along with the westward movement of many Canadians from 
Eastern Canada who were seeking to assist and share in the growth 
of the West, and finally, the discovery of large oil deposits near 


XI 


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143 


Leduc in 1947; all of these factors were responsible for the growth 
of this region and of this city* In the same manner they are the 
reasons for the growth of the Roman Catholic Church here. Roman 
Catholicism in Edmonton has grown with the city, has shared in the 
city*s prosperity and adversity, and today shares in the steady but 
rapid growth which is making Edmonton the second fastest growing 
city in Canada. 

The arrival of Father Remas, O.M.I., in 1853, marked the 
beginning of the work of the Oblate priests in this region. Until 
1920 ecclesiastical jurisdiction here was directly under the control 
of members of the Oblates; the year 1920 marked a change. In that 
year, a secular priest was appointed as Archbishop of Edmonton. No 
longer was the district regarded as a strictly missionary field. 

This had been evident for some years for in 1912 orders came from 
Rome that the seat of ecclesiastical authority for the morthern part 
of Alberta was to be located in Edmonton, a newly-created Archdiocese. 
This meant that St. Albert was being replaced in its capacity in the 
work of the Church; St. Albert, with its distinguished record as a 
mission centre of the Roman Catholic Church. The vast number of 
Catholics coming to the district, and who were not French-speaking, 
needed and wanted priests of their own cultural outlook. Spiritually, 
they could be cared for by the Oblates but they could be better 
served in entirety by priests who understood their way of life, their 
traditions, their language, and their customs. Archbishop 0*Leary, 
a man of vision and tremendous personal charm, was appointed to bridge 
the gap between the missionary period of the Oblates and to establish 
in Edmonton an ecclesiastical centre ready and willing to cope with 


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144 


the problems of a new era; to care for an increasing number of 
English-speaking and other linguistic groups of Catholics. He was 
to establish parishes in areas where they were needed; to bring in 
priests to care for those parishes, if possible, priests of the same 
background as the people they served* Certainly, this was a serious 
problem to be faced and solved. The older missionaries naturally 
found it difficult to adapt to the change* That was natural; they 
were missionaries, first and always. It was also hard for some of 
them to remember that St. Albert, which for over forty years had 
been the nerve centre of Roman Catholicism in this area, was no 
longer such a centre. Archbishop O’Leary, with his personal 
magnetism and tact, helped to bring about the necessary changes. 
Whether or not those changes could have been brought about so 
successfully by another person is a matter of debate. Certainly, 
he had the temperament and the ability to perform a task of that 
nature* By working with the Oblates and in gradually pointing out 
the tremendous future for the Church here, he succeeded in winning 
their aid in helping to make his vision become a reality. He was 
responsible for promoting establishment and growth on a stable and 
orderly basis from a long range viewpoint. He, more than any other, 
laid the foundations for much of the growth of the Catholic Church 
here in the last thirty years. Needless to say, he did not do it 
without help, nor could his work have been accomplished without the 
groundwork done by Bishop Grandin, Archbishop Legal, and the 
missionary work of the Oblate Order. Neither could his efforts have 
proven successful without the sound administration provided by his 
successor. Archbishop MacDonald. Bishop Grandin, a great missionary 


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145 


and a man of unusual sanctity, provided the heroic example of self- 
sacrifice which was imitated by his missionary priests. Archbishop 
Legal was a devoted missionary, one of the last of the old guard of 
Oblate missionary heroes. Archbishop MacDonald has succeeded in 
consolidating and expanding the work of his predecessors. Upon his 
appointment as Archbishop, he faced serious financial problems in 
his capacity as Archbishop; he had to care for many of the debts 
incurred in church expansion during the depression years. One may 
conclude that each of those in authority had a special contribution 
to make in the growth of the Catholic Church here. This is not to 
say that their contributions were limited to the topics mentioned 
but that they made their greatest contribution in that field. 

Another ihctor which has made possible the growth of the 
Catholic Church here has been the co-operation and seal of the 
priests and different congregations of Sisters. Such co-operation 
has certainly lightened the task of Bishop Grandin and his successors. 
A devoted clergy and a good grasp of Catholic teachings on the part 
of the faithful would naturally bear good results. This has been so 
in Edmonton. Also, the role of people of different racial stocks 
in working towards the greatest interests of the majority, has been 
no small factor in the growth of the Catholic Church here. It is 
shown that differences, serious differences, have existed at certain 
periods. This is not unnatural in any way for we are dealing with 
people. The important thing about these differences is that they 
were not allowed to become a dividing influence but were sublimated 
to the work of the Church. That in itself is a tremendous forward 
step in social and Christian unity. 




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146 


4 It is almost exactly one hundred years since the first Catholic 
Church was.built in this city. Fort Edmonton in 1859 was an 
important trading post of the Hudson*s Bay Company and at that 
time had a population of about 150 people. It had been chosen as 
a fort because of its geographical advantages in connection with 
the fur trade. Who could have foreseen the changes that were to 
occur in less than one hundred years? Today, Edmonton is a city 
with a population of 238,353® Of that number there are slightly 
more than 49,000 Roman Catholics, with an annual increase of 2,000, 

In Metropolitan Edmonton there are twenty-four Roman Catholic 
churches, forty-two Separate Schools, two colleges, a School for 
Boys, a Training School for Girls, five Religious Orders of Men, 
twenty-one Religious Orders of Women, three hospitals, an Immigration 
Centre, an Information Centre, a weekly Catholic newspaper, a seminary, 
a Catholic Welfare Bureau, and the Marian Centre. The above figures 
certainly represent growth and serve adequately to show that the 
Catholic Church here has grown along with the city. 

Finally, the history of the Roman Catholic Church here has 
been marked by yet another factor, a more or less intangible one, 
but yet one that is very real. Archbishop 0*Leary often referred 
to it as does Archbishop MacDonald today. That intangible factor 
can be expressed by describing it as the spirit of democratic 
freedom to be found in Alberta. The general attitude seems to be 
one of greater tolerance and respect for the rights and beliefs of 
others; whether or not native Albertans realize this it is soon 
noticed by those who adopt this as their native province, some for 
that very reason. This spirit of freedom has helped those who 


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147 


promoted the growth of the Roman Catholic Church here D The 
expansion of the Church in Alberta generally, and in Edmonton, 
particularly, has been noticeably free of much of the bitterness 
and misunderstanding that was the lot of the Catholic Church in 
many other places. The Separate School system of Alberta, a 
wonderful tribute to the legislators’ sense of justice, cannot be 
equalled in Canada, outside the province of Quebec, which is a 
predominantly Roman Catholic province. The number of Catholic 
institutions and organizations in Edmonton bear witness to that, 
and the growing number of parishes and the Separate School system 
are proof that the authorities of the Church here have guided its 
growth wisely and well# 


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146 


APPENDIX A 

The new church of St. Anthony*s represented a considerable change in 
architectural design. Its semi-circular floor plan is one of the very 
few in Canada. The “crying room’* was the first feature of its kind in 
any church in Canada. It enables parents with babies and small children 
to attend Mass together. They sit in this crying room, a room located 
at the rear of the church, and through a large window they can follow 
the services. They can hear the prayers but any cries made by the 
children cannot be heard in the main body of the church. There are 
those who are still opposed to any but a conventional type of architecture 
in regards to church design. We must remember that there is no style of 
architecture peculiar to Christianity as such, for Christian architecture 
is by its nature a changing architecture. The Church may change in 
external accidentals but does not change in essence. It is important 
that an architect realizes this fact, for then he will be able to apply 
his art to any parish group who are following the requirements of a 
universal liturgy, adapted to local customs. His work will, in that way, 
always be fresh and vigorous, helping the Church in the contemporary 
expression of her message. 

Although liturgical worship is the primary purpose of church building, 
it is not the only purpose. Room must also be allowed for non-liturgical 
functions. First of all comes the Mass, then the administration of the 
sacraments, then the non-liturgical devotions such as the Rosary, the 
Stations of the Cross, and different private devotions. The different 
types of devotions give the architect opportunity to exercise his talents, 
both in the use of the materials and in adapting materials for particular 












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functions and space requirements. 

In Canada* timber and reinforced concrete arches are used 
effectively in church structure. However, the designs in Canadian 
church architecture have shown only slight innovations in the last 
twenty years, St. Anthony's Church, with its semi-circular plan 
designed to bring the services closer to the people, is an exception 
to the standard rectangular floor plan. 

Many priests today who are faced with the problem of building a 
church, a school, and a parish hall, in areas where there is little 
money available, must carefully consider the ideas of any architect 
called in to help. It is in situations such as these that co-operation 
between the priest and the architect is strictly necessary. Judging 
from the results of many of these combined efforts, we can safely say 
that the co-operation is there, and that the artist and the man of 
religion are together serving God in the realm of church architecture. 

Vide (Couterier, Rev. P., O.F., "The Role of the Priest in the Creation 
of Works of Art, " Catholic Art Quarterly ", vol. 14, pp. 73 - 74.) 



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APPENDIX B 

1* The ten Religious Orders in Edmonton whose main work here consists 
in teaching are: Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus, Soeurs 
De L* Assumption, Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception, 
Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent, Sisters of Saint Joseph 
(London), Sisters of Saint Joseph (Peterborough), Sisters of 
Service, Soeurs de Sainte-Croix, Ursulines of Jesus, and the 
Ursuline Religious,, 

Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus , This Order was the first 
to locate in Edmonton. They arrived here under Superior Mother 
Anna O'Neil on October 11, 1888. They came upon the invitation 
of Bishop Grandin to teach in the first Separate School in the 
city. The Order was founded in France in 1820 by Madame de 
Bonnauit d'Houet. Teaching has always been their main work. 

In Edmonton they teach at the Immaculate Conception Convent, 

St. Joseph's High School (Girls), and Grandin School. There 
are twenty-two Sisters of the Order in Edmonton at this time, 
with Mother Margaret Mary Hickey as Superior. 

La Congregation Des Soeurs De L'Assumption . Founded in 1853 
at St. Gregoire, Quebec, this Order has as its primary purpose 
the teaching of religion, and secondly, the teaching of French. 
All Sisters engaged in teaching are bilingual. In Edmonton 
they teach at Sacred Heart School, Grandin, and in Our Lady of 
Lourdes School, Jasper Place. The first Superior in Edmonton 
was Sister Sainte Majorique (1925 - 1928). In 1927 there were 







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ninety pupils enrolled with the Sisters, from Grades I to XII c 
In 1957, there were one hundred and thirty pupils from Grades IV 
to XII. The Sisters, all fully qualified as to provincial 
teaching standards, teach all subjects of the curriculum. At 
the present time there are twenty-four Sisters at the Boarding 
School on 107 Avenue and 97 Street, and six at the residence on 
99 Avenue and 110 Street. The Superior is Sister Sainte Lea. 
There is also a convent in Jasper Place. 

Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception . A small group 
of Sisters left Saint John, New Brunswick, on August 10, 1924, 
and arrived in Edmonton later in the same month. They were: 
Sister M. Barbara, Sister M. Aloysia, and Sister M. Regis, all 
of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception. Upon 
their arrival in Edmonton, they stayed with the Grey Nuns for 
a few days until they found a suitable convent. Their first 
convent was on 91 Street; their second was on 87 Street and 
115 Avenue. In May of 1925 they moved to their present 
location on 85 Street. The first Superior of the Order in 
Edmonton was Sister M. Barbara, (1924 - 1930). 

Today the Sisters teach in three Separate Schools. 
Primarily a teaching Order, the Sisters spend much of the 
summer vacation period teaching catechism in the rural areas. 
They also have Vocation Clubs for high school and working 
girls of St. Alphonsus Parish. A new addition was made to 
their convent in 1956, enabling the Sisters from various 
missions in the province to make their annual retreat in 



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Edmonton. There are nine Sisters of this Order in Edmonton, 
with Sister Henrietta Marie as Superior. 

Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul . The Foundress of 
this Order, Elizabeth Bayley, became a Catholic after the 
death of her husband Willian Seton, in 1804. Mother Seton 
founded the first House in 1809, at Emmitsburg, Maryland. In 
April of 1957 the cause of Mother Seton 1 s canonization was 
formally presented in Rome. The Halifax Community was 
established from New York in 1849. The Motherhouse in Canada 
is located at Mount Saint Vincent College in Rockingham, Nova 
Scotia. Mount Saint Vincent is the only independent Women 1 s 
College in Canada. 

In 1925 the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, of 
Halifax, Nova Scotia, under Sister Frances de Chantal (1925 - 1931), 
arrived here to teach in the Edmonton Separate Schools. At the 
present time this Order has two convents in Edmonton. Its sixteen 
members are teaching in five of Edmonton’s Separate Schools: 

St. Andrew’s, St. John’s, St. Mark’s, St. Vital’s and St. Vincent’s. 
A music teacher in each convent conducts music classes. The 
present Superior is Sister Mary Matilda. 

Sisters of Saint Joseph (London) . The Sisters of Saint Joseph 
arrived here on July 26, 1922. They came at the request of 
Archbishop O’Leary in order to take charge of Sacred Heart and 
Fairview Schools, and to establish a Novitiate. The Novitiate 
was transferred to London in 1940. Mother M. Leo was the first 




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Superior of the Order in Edmonton, Today, the Sisters of 
St, Joseph are teaching in five of the city's Separate 
Schools: St, Patrick's (formerly Fairview), Sacred Heart, 

St, Francis, St, Michael's and St, Basil's, There are sixteen 
members of this Order in Edmonton, with Sister M, Clare as 
Superior. 

Sisters of Saint Joseph (Peterborough) . This Order arrived in 
Edmonton in September of 1%S, The Sisters came to Jasper 
Place at the invitation of Reverend J. M. Malone, then parish 
priest at St. John the Evangelist. For the first five years 
there were only four Sisters of the Order here, with Sister 
St. Basil as the first Superior. In 1953 their number was 
increased by one with the arrival of Sister Mary Denis to 
teach in Jasper Place. By 1955 the number had increased to 
eleven. Primarily, the Sisters of Saint Joseph (Peterborough) 
are engaged in teaching and in giving music lessons. They 
teach in St. Luke’s High School, Our Lady of Fatima and Notre 
Dame Schools in Jasper Place. Sister Mary Jean is the present 
Superior. 

Sisters of Service . The Sisters of Service were founded in 
Toronto in 1922 by Reverend George Daly, C.Ss.R. The Order 
was founded in order to help in the development of home 
missions. Archbishop O'Leary, realizing that many of the new 
arrivals in Edmonton, particularly those whose families were 
separated, were not receiving the proper indoctrination in 




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Christian Doctrine, invited the Sisters of Service to establish 
a House here 0 

January 25, 1925, marked the arrival of this Order in 
Edmonton. The members of the Order stayed with the Sisters of 
Providence for a month until their own house on 120 Avenue and 
82 Street was established. In October of the same year they 
moved into their present home on 118 Avenue and 85 Street. 
Another House, opened in 1929, and located on 99 Avenue and 
105 Street, is a Residential Club for girls. The principal 
work of this Order in Edmonton is the teaching of Christian 
Doctrine through Religious Correspondence Courses. They 
operate a Religious Vacation School for Catholic children 
attending public schools; classes are also held for these 
children during the school year. In 1953 they took over the 
secretarial duties of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine 
of the Edmonton Archdiocese. The present Superior is Sister 
C. Gilmore; there is a total of eleven Sisters of Service in 
the city, six at the Residential Club, and five at the 
Catechetical Centre. 

S oeurs de Sainte Croix . Les Soeurs de Sainte Croix came to 
Edmonton in order to assist with the education of young Catholic 
girls. The first Superior, Mother Marie de S. Thorailla, was 
also provincial Superior. The Sisters of this Order operate a 
study home for young Catholic girls taking courses at the 
University of Alberta. Their first residence, the House of 
St. Jude at 8527 - 112 Street, was also the headquarters of the 



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provincial Superior until 1956 when a second property at 
8321 - 112 Street was purchased. The present Superior in 
Edmonton is Sister M. de Sainte Edouard Martyr, while the 
provincial Superior is Mother Marie de Sainte Eulalie de Merida. 

This Order has education as its main work. They teach in 
elementary and secondary schools, in home economics schools, in 
classical colleges and musical studios. They conduct a musical 
studio in Edmonton in addition to their boarding school. 

Ursulines of Jesus . The Congregation of the Ursulines of Jesus 
was founded in 1802 by Louis-Marie Baudovin in the diocese of 
Lucon, France. The Sisters devote themselves principally to 
the instruction of youth and the care of the sick in hospitals 
or at home. 

They arrived in Edmonton on September 28, 1911, and 
immediately began teaching in the Calder district. Sister Anna 
Celine was the first Superior in Edmonton and in 1919 became 
the first Superior of their convent in south Edmonton. Today 
(1957 )y the Sisters teach at St. Edmund’s, St. Anthony’s, and 
Mount Carmel Separate Schools. There are seventeen members 
of the Order here with Sister M. Fidelmia as Superior at Calder, 
and Sister M. Augustine as Superior at the convent in south 
Edmonton. 

Ursuline Religious. A religious Congregation closely associated 
with the history of St. James Parish is that of the Ursuline 
Religious of the Chatham Union. This Ursuline Order was founded 






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in 1535 at Brescia, Italy, by St. Angela Merici. She was the 
first to found an Order for the education of young girls* The 
Congregation spread rapidly throughout Europe and in 1639 
Venerable Mother Mary of the Incarnation came from France to 
Canada to begin the first Roman Catholic School in the New 
World* She was the first Missionary Sister in the Church. 

Another Ursuline Sister, Mother Mary Xavier le Biham, came 
from France to Sault Ste* Marie in 1863, in order to establish 
an Ursuline convent. In I860 she moved to Chatham where she 
built the Motherhouse of "The Pines." From there, Ursulines 
have spread throughout the London Diocese, to the Archdiocese 
of Toronto,- Michigan, Alberta and Saskatchewan. In addition to 
teaching in elementary, secondary and college schools, they 
conduct music schools and a school for mentally retarded children 
in Ontario. 

The Ursuline Religious of the Chatham Union arrived in 
Alberta in' September of 1952* They came here to teach in the 
Separate Schools and at present are teaching in St. James School 
and at St. Mary*s High School (Girls). They also have a residence 
at Brescia Hall for girls attending the university* Formerly 
known as Newman Hall, this residence was taken over by the Ursuline 
Religious in September of 1953* The name Brescia Hall was given 
in honor of the birthplace of St. Angela Merici, the foundress of 
the Ursuline Religious. Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart, Ph.D., 
was the first Superior in Edmonton. Mother Mary Virginia is the 
present Superior of Brescia Hall. In September of 1955 Mother 
Mary Janet, B.A., assumed the principalship of the newly constructed 




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St. Mary's High School (Girls). St. James, formerly a three-room 
portable school, is now a twelve-room school with a gymnasium. Its 
principal is Mother Mary Ellen who is also Superior of the Order in 
Edmonton. At the present time there are nine Sisters in Edmonton, 
five at St. Ursula's Convent, and four at Brescia Hall. 


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APPENDIX C 

There are five Religious Orders in Edmonton whose main work here 
consists of domestic duties in several institutions. They are: 

Les Filles de Jesus (St, Joseph*s Seminary), Les Petites Missionaires 
de St, Joseph (Household Department of the Oblate Fathers’ Residence 
at St, Albert), Les Soeurs De La Charite de Notre Dame D’Evron 
(Household Department of St. John’s College), Sisters of St, Elizabeth 
(Household Department of St, Anthony’s College), Les Miliciennes Du 
Rosaire (Household Department of the Oblate Fathers’ Residence at 
9916 - 110 Street). 

Filles de Jesus . Because of a suppression of Religious Orders in 
France around the turn of the century, the Filles de Jesus sought 
refuge in Canada. They came to Edmonton in 1902, upon the invitation 
of Bishop Legal to undertake domestic work in the Diocese. The first 
Superior in Edmonton was Sister Marie Adeline. Their work here has 
been mainly in the rectory at St. Joachim’s and in domestic work at 
St. Joseph’s Seminary. They are still in charge of preparing the 
meals at the seminary. In 1951 they opened the House of St. Joseph 
at 8k 15 - 91 Street. It is designed to be a novitiate for young girls 
who join the Order. The Superior of the House is Sister Marie Arthur, 
while Sister Marie Elizabeth of Jesus is the Superior of the Sisters 
at St. Joseph’s Seminary. 

Petites Missionaires De St. Joseph . This Order came to Edmonton 
from St. Paul in 1946; the Sisters had opened a mission in St. Paul 
in 1944# When they arrived in Edmonton they worked at the Provincial 


House of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate on 110 Street. The Founder 






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of this Order is Brother Louis Gareau, C.S.V. In 1922 he and his 
niece. Miss .Helen Gareau, were attached to the service of the Clerics 
of St. Viateur at Otterbourne, Manitoba. Brother Louis Gareau 
outlined to his superiors the advantages of establishing an Order 
which could work along with the community at Otterbourne towards the 
propagation of the cult of St. Joseph. This idea was accepted, and 
soon after, under the auspices of His Excellency, J. H. Prudhomme, 
Bishop of Prince Albert, the Community of the Little Missionaries of 
St. Joseph was formed. The Rules and Constitution were drawn up and 
on the fifteenth of August, 1939, they were given the Imprimatur by 
His Excellency, Bishop Emile Yelle. 

The Congregation came to Edmonton in order to take charge of 
the household department of the Oblate Fathers* Residence on 110 
Street and to recruit new members for their Order. They later left 
the Residence on 110 Street in order to care for the retreat house 
at St. Albert. The first Superior in Edmonton was Sister Joseph 
Victor. There are three Sisters of this Order in St. Albert under 
Superior, Sister Therese Veronique. 

Soeurs De La Charite De Notre Dame D*Evron . The Sisters of Charity 
of Our Lady of Evron were founded in 1862 at La Mayenne, France, by 
Madame Thulard. Following the French Revolution in 17&9 the Order 
was dispersed but was reorganized in 1803 at Evron. The purpose of 
the Order was to care for the sick, neglected children, and the poor. 
Their work has grown to embrace other types of charity. 

They came to Canada following the edicts against religious 
orders in France during 1901 - 1902. Their first stop in Alberta was 







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160 


at Trochu where they have established an Old People*s Home and a 
hospital* Bishop Legal and Bather Leduc, O.M.I., were instrumental 
in getting the Sisters to locate in the Diocese* In 1910 the Order 
established a hospital in Vegreville and later in the year came to 
Edmonton* In 1911 they took over the care of the domestic work and 
the infirmary of the newly established St. John*s College in 
Strathcona. The first Superior of the Order in Edmonton was Sister 
Alphonsine Horeau. There are seven members of this Order in Edmonton 
at this time, under Sister Henriette Authenac. They remain in charge 
of the domestic work at St. John*s College. 

Sisters of St* Elizabeth . The autumn of 1950 saw the arrival of 
another Order in the city* It is an Order which engages primarily 
in hospital work and in domestic work at various religious institutions. 
The Sisters of St. Elizabeth, founded by St. Elizabeth of Hungary in 
Aachen in 1626, came here to care for the domestic work involved in 
the operation of St. Anthony*s College. 

Having arrived in Canada in 1911* they established their 
Motherhouse at Humboldt, Saskatchewan. From there, they established 
hospitals in Macklin, and Cudworth, Saskatchewan. Along with their 
hospital work they also undertook the domestic tasks at St. Thomas 
College in Battleford and St. Peter*s College in Muenster. The 
housekeeping at the retreat house in Cochrane, Alberta, is done by 
this Order, and they also conduct an Old People*s Home in Saskatoon. 

At present, there are four Sisters of this Congregation in Edmonton, 
under Sister Ludmilla Wagner. The first Superior was Sister Immaculate 
Saretsky. 











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Les Miliciennes Du Rosaire . This Order is different from the others 
in that it is a Lay Organization and no Habit is worn by its members 
who began their work in Edmonton upon the invitation of the Oblate 
Fathers. They care for the rectory and hope to do the work of the 
lay apostolate in the parish. Concerned primarily with Catholic 
Action they expect to establish strong lay apostolates wherever they 
work. As yet, they work on somewhat of an experimental basis. Miss 
Gisele Martel is the Superior of this Order which now has three members. 


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BIBLIOGRAPHY 

A. FRIMARY MATERIALS 


I. Personal Interviews Ifcth : 

1. His Grace, The Most Reverend John Hugh MacDonald, D.D., 
Archbishop of Edmonton. 

2. His Grace, The Most Reverend Anthony Jordan, O.M.I., 

Coadjutor Archbishop of Edmonton. 

3* Right Reverend W. B. Carleton, V.G., P.A., St. Joseph's 
Cathedral. 

4. Right Reverend G. H. Griffin, D.D., D.P., St. Joseph's 
Seminary. 

5* Right Reverend M. J. 0*Gorman, D.P., Sacred Heart Parish. 

6. Right Reverend J. A. MacLellan, St. Joseph's College. 

7. Right Reverend C. J. Foran, D.D., St. Anthony's Parish. 

8. Right Reverend J. R. Ketchen. Immaculate Conception Parish. 

9* Reverend C. Devic, O.M.I., Oblate Provincial House, Edmont) n 0 

10. Reverend P. E. Breton, O.M.I., Oblate Provincial House, 
Edmonton. 

11. Reverend J. Serrurot, O.M.I., Oblate Provincial House, 
Edmonton. 

12. Reverend E. Doyle, J.C.D., Archdiocesan Chancery Office. 

13. Reverend A. D. O'Brien, Editor, The Western Catholic . 

14. Reverend J. Holland, Professor of Church History, St. 

Joseph's Seminary. 

15. Mr. A. A. O'Brien, Superintendent, Edmonton Separate School 
Board. 

16. Mr. L. J. Slavik, Secretary-Treasurer, Edmonton Separate 
School Board. 

17* Miss K. Krausert, Secretary, Edmonton Separate School Board. 

18. Mr. Harry Carrigan, 7208 - 105A Street, Edmonton. 

19. Mr. Milton Martin, 10016 - 114 Street, Edmonton. 

20. Mrs. Gostick, Provincial Archives, Legislative Building. 

21. Mrs, D. M. O'Brien, 11317 - 100 Avenue, Edmonton 

22. Mrs. M. Boyle, 11036 - 125 Street, Edmonton. 

23. Mr. John Cormack, 11007 - 99 Avenue, Edmonton. 

24. Mr. E. Dupuis of Diamond, Dupuis and. Dunn, Architects. 

II* Correspondence With : 

1. His Eminence, James Cardinal McGuigan, D.D., Archbishop 
of Toronto. 

2. His Grace, The Most Reverend M. C. O'Neill, D.D., Archbishop 
of Regina. 

3. His Excellency, The Most Reverend C. L. Nelligan, D.D., 
Titular Bishop of Fenice. 

4. His Excellency, The Most Reverend E. Q. Jennings, D.D., 

Bishop of Fort William. 

5. Right Reverend P. J. Hughes, Sacred Heart Academy, Regina, 
Saskatchewan. 








163 


6 . 

7. 

8 . 
9. 

10 . 

11 . 

12 . 

13. 

14. 

15. 

16 . 

17. 

18. 

19. 

20 . 
21 . 
22 . 

23. 

24. 

25. 

26. 

27. 

28. 

29. 

30. 

31. 

32. 

33. 

34. 

35. 

36. 

37. 

38. 

39. 

40. 

41. 


Reverend A. Deschambault, Genthor), Manitoba, 

Chairman of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. 
Reverend A. T^treault, O.M.I., Battleford, Saskatchewan, 
Former Director of the Lacombe Museum in St. Albert. 

Reverend P. J. O’Reilly, D.D., St. Edmund’s Parish. 

V. Reverend G. J. Ehman, C.Ss.R., Vice-Provincial, Vice- 
Provincial House of the Redemptorist Fathers, Edmonton. 

V. Reverend B. Johnson, C.Ss.R., St. Alphonsus Parish. 
Reverend Gandolph Wagner, O.F.M., St. Francis Friary, 
Edmonton. 

Reverend Ladislaus Frytek, O.F.M., St. Francis Parish. 
Reverend Joseph Balazskovi, S.D.B., St. Mary’s Home. 

Reverend Brother Luke, F.3.C., St. Joseph’s College. 

Reverend E. Drouin, O.M.I., St. John's College. 

Reverend G. Doyle, Sacred Heart Parish. 

Reverend R. J. O'Neill, Assumption Parish. 

Reverend M. E. Murphy, St. Andrew’s Parish. 

Reverend R. Leonard, St. Andrew* s Parish. 

Reverend A. Gillis, St. John the Evangelist Parish. 

Reverend E. Donahoe, St. Patrick's Parish. 

Reverend M. McAnally, St. James the Great Parish. 

Gillis, St. Pius X Parish. 


3. Peet, St. Mary's Parish, Beverly. 
Jacob, Ste. Anne’s Parish, Jasper Place, 


Reverend F. 

Reverend H. 

Reverend R. 

Mr. C. P. Wilson, Editor of ’’The Beaver”, Beaver House, 
Hudson Bay Company, Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Reverende Soeur Marie Arthur, Filles de Jesus, St. Joseph's 
Seminary. 

Reverende Soeur Marie Elizabeth de Jesus, Filles de Jesus, 
8415 - 91 Street. 


Reverende Soeur Therese Veronique, Petites Missionaires de 
St. Joseph, St. Albert. 

Reverende Soeur Ste. Lea, Soeurs De L'Assumption. 

Reve'rende Soeur Leonie Ferland, s.g.m.. Sisters of Charity, 

(Grey Nuns of Montreal), Archivist, Provincial House, St, Albert. 
Reverende Soeur Alice Gauthier, s.g.m., Superior, Edmonton 
General Hospital. 

ReVerende Soeur Madeleine de la Croix, Soeurs de la Misericorde, 
Misericordia Hospital. 

Reverende Soeur E. Aucherie, Soeurs de la Charite de Notre 
Dame D’Evron, Trochu, Alberta. 

Reve'rende Soeur M. de Saint-Edouard Martyr, Soeurs de Sainte Croix. 
Reverend Mother Margaret Mary Hickey, Sisters Faithful 
Companions of Jesus. 

Reverend Sister Stanislaus, Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement. 
Reverend Mother Mary of the Rosary, Sisters Adorers of the 
Precious Blood. 

Reverend Sister Henrietta Maria, Sisters of Charity of the 
Immaculate Conception. 

Reverend Sister Mary Matilda, Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent 
de Paul. 

Reverend Mother Immaculate Heart, Sisters of Our Lady of 
Charity of the Refuge. 


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42* Reverend Sister M. Ildefonsa, Sisters of Providence 
(Kingston). 

43. Reverend Sister M. Ludmilla Wagner, Sisters of St. Elizabeth. 

44. Reverend Mother M. Clare, Sisters of St. Joseph (London)* 

45• Reverend Sister Mary Jean, Sisters of St. Joseph (Peterboro) 
46* Reverend Sister Clare Gilmore, Sisters of Service. 

47• Reverend Mother M. Augustine, Ursulines of Jesus. 

48* Reverend Mother Mary Ellen, Ursuline Religious of the 
Chatham Union. 

49. Mr. L. C. Scott, Edmonton City Hall. 


Ill* Church Documents : 

Acta Apostolicae Sedis , Commentarium Officiale, Typis 
Polyglottis Vaticanis, Romae MDCCCCXIII, 1913, vol. 5, p. 182. 


IV. Reports and Proceedings : 

1. Annual Reports of the Edmonton Separate School Board, 

1938 - 1957. 

2. Reports for the School District of St. Albert - Roman 
Catholic Public School District No. 3 of the N.W.T., 1885* 


V. Contemporary Pamphlets : 

1* Le Chevalier, Rev. Jules, O.M.I., Fetes des Pionniers , 
Edmonton, 1948. 

2. Pamphlet published on the twenty-fifth anniversary of 
St. Joseph 1 s Hospital, Edmonton, 1952. 

3* Twenty-fifth anniversary pamphlet on Sacred Heart Parish, 
Edmonton, 1938. 

4. Twenty-fifth anniversary pamphlet on St. Andrew's Parish, 
Edmonton, 1952. 

5. Pamphlet published on the opening of the new St. Alphonsus 
Church, Edmonton, 1953. 

6. Les Cloches de Saint Boniface (Revue Eccle'siastique et 
Historique), vol. 43, June, 1944. 


VI. Newspapers and Periodicals : 

l a The Edmonton Journal , March 11, 1920. 

2. The Western Catholic , all volumes (1922 - 1956). 

3. Coutourier, Rev. P., 0.0., "The Role of the Priest in the 
Works of Art," Catholic Art Quarterly , vol. 14, pp. 73 - 74. 

4. Lavanoux, Maurice, Liturgical Art , August, 1951, p. 90. 












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B. SECONDARY MATERIALS 


I. Primary Sources : 

1* Letters of Bishop Grandin to his relatives in France, Archives 
of Postulation in Rome, (Copies are in the possession of 
Rev. E. Breton, O.M.I., 9916 - 110 Street, Edmonton.). 

2® Notes from the Hudson Bay Archives relating to Fort Edmonton 
in 1859, London, England. (Copies are in the possession of 
Rev. E. Breton, O.M.I., 9916 - 110 Street, Edmonton.) 

3. "Preliminaires De La Fondation De Lac Ste. Anne, Lac Ste. Anne 
Historique," Soeurs Grises de Montreal, Prov. S. Albert, 

Archives. 

4. f, Fondation de St. Albert' 1 , Soeurs Grises de Montreal, (Chroniques, 
1859 - 1864, pp. 256 - 257.) Prov. S. Albert, Archives. 

5. Notes compiled on the history of St. Albert by Rev. Alexis 
Tetreault, O.M.I., 1955. 

6. "Notice Historique sur les Missions de Lac Ste- Anne, Str Joachim 
et de St- Albert," p. 7. (These notes were written by Father 
Lacombe, O.M.I., in 1863, and may be seen in the archives of the 
Oblate Fathers, 9916 - 110 Street, Edmonton.) 

7. Diary of Father A. Lacombe, O.M.I., Archives of the Oblate 
Fathers, 9916 - 110 Street, Edmonton. 

8. Notes compiled on the Biographies of Western Pioneers and 
History of Settlements of Western Canada by M. M. Downey, Old 
Timers 1 Association, Edmonton, November, 1937® 


II. Published Secondary Works : 

/ 

1. Bishop Provencher, Melanges Religieux , Montreal, 1843. From 
"Notice Sur La Riviere Rouge Dans LeTerritoire De La Baie 
D»Hudson." 

2. Morice, Rev. A.G., O.M.I., History of the Catholic Church in 
Western Canada , Toronto, 1910, vols. I, II. 

3. Legal, Most Rev. E., O.M.I., History of the Catholic Church 
in Alberta , Edmonton, 1914. 

4« Tachd', Most Rev. A., O.M.I., Vingt Annexes de Missions , St. 
Boniface, 1866. 

5. Magaret, Helene, Father De Smet , New York, 1940. 

6. Hughes, Katherine, Father Lacombe. The Black Robe Voyageur , 
Toronto, 1920. 

7. Blue, John, Alberta, Past and Present . Historical and 
Biographical, Chicago, 1924, vols. I, II. 

8. Hermant, Rev. Leon, O.M.I., Thy Cross My Stay , Toronto, 1948. 
9® Morton, A.3., History of the Canadian West to 1870-71 . 

London, 1939. 

10. Morton, A.S., History of Prairie Settlement , Toronto, 1938. 
11© Parkman, Francis, The Oregon "Trail , (Sketches of Prairie and 
Rocky Mountain Life), Boston, 1895. 

12. Breton, Rev. P.E., O.M.I., The Big Chief , Edmonton, 1955. 

13. Jonquet, Rev. P®, O.M.I., Mgr. Grandin , Montreal, 1904. 















































166 


• « 

14. Duchaussois, Rev. R. P., O.M.I., Femmes Heroiques , Paris, 1927. 
15* Johnson, Rev. George, Ph. D., Story of The Church . New York, 

1935.- 

16. Bouscaren and Ellis, Commentary On Canon Law , Milwaukee, 1957. 
17* MacDonald, George Heath, Fort Augustus-Sdmonton , Edmonton, 1954* 

18. Jeness, Diamond, The Indians of Canada , National Museum of 

Canada, 1955. / ^ 

19. Benoit, Dom., Vie de Mgr. Tache , Archeveque de Saint Boniface, 
vol. 2, Montreal, 1904. 

20. O'Reilly, Rev. J., C.J.M., Blessed Jean Eudes , Halifax, 1909* 

21. Pope Pius XI, The Christian Education of Youth , New York, 1939* 










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