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R.P. Edward Cunningham, OMI, [1890-1917]. (OB3838 - Oblate Collection at the PAA)Cunningham, Edward (1890-1917)

CUNNINGHAM, Edward, was born in Edmonton, Alberta, on July 5th, 1862, the son of Johnny Cunningham, a Metis of Irish ancestry in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and Rosalie L'Hirondelle, a Metis. He died in Edmonton, Alberta, on July 18th, 1920.

Edward began his classical studies in Saint-Albert, finishing them at the University of Ottawa (1882-1885). He entered the Novitiate of Lachine on August 25th, 1885 and made his profession on August 29th, 1886. He continued his studies at the Scolasticat Saint-Joseph, in Ottawa (1886-1888), and completed his theology studies at Lac-La-Biche, Alberta (1888-1890).

He made his perpetual vows at Fort MacLeod, Alberta, on February 17th, 1889, and was ordained a priest at Saint-Albert, Alberta, March 19th, 1890, by Mgr Vital-Justin Grandin, o.m.i., Bishop of Saint-Albert. He was the first Metis priest.

He served at various missions: Fort MacLeod and the Peigan mission [Brocket] (1888); Saint-Albert and Lac-La-Biche (1889); Saint-Albert, again (1890-1892); and Onion Lake, Saskatchewan (1892-1897). He signed the register of Long Lake [Gurneyville], Alberta (1895, 1897). He then went to Saint-Albert (1897-1903), entrusted with the small missions in the area and visited that of Beaumont; then, Lac-La-Selle [Sadd1e Lake], Alberta (1899); Onion Lake (1899); Hobbema (1899); until, in 1900, he settled at Saint-Albert and served Duhamel. He returned to Onion Lake (1903-1917) where he went to the mission at Lac Sainte- Anne, Alberta (1917-1920).

Fr Cunningham is buried in the Oblate cemetery at de Saint-A1bert.1


Reprinted with the permission of Les Archives Deschâtelets and the publisher from Gaston Carriere, o.m.i., Dictionnaire de Marie Immaculée au Canada, volume I (Ottawa: Éditions de l’Université d’Ottawa, 1979), p 242.


1. Le premier prêtre indigène de l'Ouest canadien, in Les Cloches de Saint-Boniface, 28 (1929), p. 286·287.

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