hide You are viewing an archived web page collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:20:58 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer

Home    |    Info    |    Contact Us    |    Partners    |    Sitemap    |    Archives    

Alberta's Francophone Heritage
Background, People, Culture, Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource and Alberta Lottery Fund


Francophone Edukit

Angel Spacer


Royal Commission
on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (RCBB)

Languages Act

Trudeau and the Canadian Charter

Franco-Albertan Politicians

Influential Figures


Reverend Jean Baptiste Thibault, Vicar-General of St. Boniface. After the Conquest of New France in 1760, Catholic religious freedoms were limited, but progressively the British were obliged to make concessions as their colony did not simply revert to the use of English. The religious issue was complex, because the colony of Lower Canada was now a subject of the British Crown, which was also the head of the Church of England. The head of the Catholic Church was the pope at the Vatican, but as the population was French speaking, the clergy had all come from France and the British had no interest in importing clergymen from France, which was also aggravated by years of war and revolution. In the interim, several religious orders, notably the Jesuits, in Canada had died out and their belongings had reverted to the State. So it was that the archdiocese of Québec at the beginning of the 19th century extended to the Pacific.

Although there were clergymen who accompanied the LaVérendrye expeditions, the first secular priest to come on a permanent basis to the West was J. Provencher and J. Dumoulin, at the invitation of the governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company and Lord Selkirk, following the Seven Oaks affair in the Red River Valley in 1818.

It was only after 1840 that diplomatic relations finally rectified this situation and that the Catholic clergy of Québec was given the right to recruit missionary orders from France.

A few missionaries attached to the diocese of Québec had come out West to help Provencher who had become bishop coadjutor of the district of the North-West. Belcourt, Demers, Blanchet, Thibault, Bourassa.

Thibault wrote a number of letters to his superior, Bishop Provencher telling him of his travels to Portage-la-Loche and of the great welcome he had received from the Métis there. They pressed him to come further North and bring the comforts of religion to them. They also requested priests. Provencher had the letters copied and sent on to Montreal and Québec where the religious establishment read them with joy and wonder.


Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on Francophone Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved