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Missionaries

The story of French settlement in Alberta is also the story of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada. In their mission to bring Christianity to the traders, Aboriginal and Métis people, French Catholic missionaries made sure that French culture would survive in the West long after English came to dominate.

To the Church a mission was a group of Christians sent to another country (in this case Canada) to set up churches and do religious work. These people were known as Missionaries. It was in 1842 that the first permanent missionary, Father Jean Baptiste Thibault, arrived in Alberta. He established a permanent mission at Fort Edmonton and formed the first Roman Catholic Mission at Lac Ste. Anne the following year. Thibault’s replacement at Lac Ste. Anne, Father Lacombe arrived in the Edmonton area in 1852. Recognizing the unique spiritual and cultural needs of the Métis people he established the St. Albert mission in 1861. Until his death in 1916 Lacombe was recognized as a leading figure in the French Canadian community, in particular for his creative missionary work with the Métis, and the nomadic Cree and Blackfoot nations.

Father Albert Lacombe

Father Albert Lacombe

St. Albert, Alberta,1877

St. Albert, Alberta,1877