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R.P. Léo Balter, OMI, [1919-1927]. (OB2627 - Oblate Collection at the PAA)Balter, Léo (1919-1927)

BALTER, Léo, was born on September 14th, 1873, a Bodange, parish of Fauvillers, Belgium, the son of Jean-Baptiste Balter and Madeleine Nickels. He died in Saint-Paul, Alberta, August 28th, 1948.

Fr Balter studied at the apostolic school of Turnhout, at Saint-Joseph College in Virton and began his studies in philosophy at the small seminary of Bastogne. He then entered the novitiate of Saint Gerlach [Houthen], Holland, on February 16th, 1894 and made his profession on February 17th, 1895. He made his perpetual oblation at the Scolasticat of Liège on February 17th, 1896 and was ordained a priest in the same place on July 10th, 1898 by Mgr Adélard Langevin, o.m.i., Archbishop of Saint-Boniface, Manitoba.

On July 19th, 1899, he was sent on mission work to the Oblate Province of Alberta-Saskatchewan and he worked, in succession, at Lac-La-Selle, [Saddle Lake] (1899-1912), where he obtained a post office designated Sacred Heart in 1903; at LeGoff [Cold Lake] (1912-1913); again at Saddle Lake (1913-1915); at Saint-Paul de Métis as intermediary curate (1915-1916); again at Le Goff (1916-1918); at Saddle Lake (1918-1919); at  Cold Lake (1919-1927); at Onion Lake, Saskatchewan (1927-1929); again at Saddle Lake (1929-1930); again at LeGoff (1930-1936); and, finally, at Blue Quills [Saint-Paul], Alberta, in the role of Director of the Indian Residential School (1936-1948).

He was a member of the provincial council and founded, in 1905, the Petite Revue du Sacré-Coeur [the Small Sacred Heart Review], in the Cree language -  Kitchitwaw miteh atchimomasinahiganisa. He is also the author or an important Cree-French dictionary (7 volumes), which remained in manuscript form, as well as other works in the Cree or Montagnais language. He was buried at the Oblate cemetery in Saint-Albert, Alberta.1


Reprinted with the permission of Les Archives Deschâtelets and the publisher from Gaston Carriere, o.m.i., Dictionnaire de Marie Immaculée au Canada, tome I (Ottawa: Éditions de l’Université d’Ottawa, 1979), pp 42-43.


1. Jules LE CHEVALLIER, o.m.i., Mort du R.P. Léo BaIter, Q.M.I., après un demi-siècle d'apostolat, in La Suvivance [Edmonton], 1er septembre 1948; Victor BARBEAU-André FORTIER, Dictionnaire bioliographique du Canada français, p. 16; archives provinciales O.M.I., Edmonton; archives O.M.I., Abbaye, Solignac (Haute-Vienne), France.

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