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Mgr. Émile Grouard, OMI, [1910-1912]. (OB3045 - Oblate Collection at the PAA)Grouard, Émile (1910-1912)

Grouard, Émile was born in Brûson (Sarthe), France on February 2nd, 1840. His parents were André Grouard, policeman, and Anne Ménard. He died at Grouard, Alberta on March 7th, 1931.

A cousin of Mgr Vital Grandin, o.m.i., Mgr Grouard studied at the small seminary of Précigné and the large seminary at Mans. He left for Canada with Mgr Grandin in 1860 and finished his studies at the large seminary of Quebec (1860-62) and was ordained a priest at Boucherville on May 3rd, 1962, by Mgr Alexandre Taché, o.m.i., Bishop of Saint-Boniface.

The day after his ordination, he set out for Saint-Boniface, where he began his novitiate on June 8th, 1862, finishing it at the Mission at Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. He made his perpetual vows on November 21st, 1863. During his novitiate, he visited Forts Simpson and Liard.

Fr Grouard worked first at Fort Chipewyan (1862-63) and, then, at Fort Providence (1863-74) as well as visiting Fond-du-Lac (1862), Fort Liard (1863-71), Fort Simpson (1863-71), Hay River (1869-70) and Fort Nelson (1868-69).

Having lost his voice, he went to Paris for treatment (1874-76) and benefited from his visit in the capital by studying painting and tending to the publication of books in Native languages. He was charged with the decoration of the churches at Fort Chipewyan, Fort Dunvegan and Grouard, and the writing of many works in various Native languages.

On his return to Canada, Fr Grouard lived at Lac-La-Biche, Alberta (1876-83), then at Fort Dunvegan, Alberta (1883-85), where he worked on converting the Beaver and the Métis of Iroquois ancestry at Grande Prairie, Alberta. He returned to Lac-La-Biche (1885-88), when he was named Superior at Fort Chipewyan (1888-90). Fr Grouard also visited the Loucheux [term used to refer to arctic and subarctic Aboriginal Peoples] and the Eskimos (1888-90) and founded the mission at Peel River (1890).

He was named the Bishop of Ibora and Vicar Apostolic of Athabasca-Makenzie on October 18th, 1890, and he chose as his motto Sub tuum praesidium and was consecrated at Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, August 1st, 1891, by Mgr Alexandre Taché, Archbishop of Saint-Boniface. On July 30th, 1901, the District of Athabasca was separated from Mackenzie and Mgr Grouard became Bishop of the new Vicariate (1901-29). The Bishop lived at Fort Chipewyan (1891-1902), and then moved to Grouard (1902). The name of the Vicariate was changed to Grouard in 1927. Mgr Grouard left mission work on April 18th, 1929 and was named Archbishop of Égine on February 28th, 1930 by Pope Pius XI.

He was the vicar of missions from 1890-1930 and received the decoration of the Legion of Honour in March, 1924. In 1932, a plaque in his honour was erected in the church at Brûlon.

Mgr Grouard was renowned for his linguistic and artistic knowledge. He was also one of the first to introduce steam-powered boats in the Northern regions of Canada. Two lakes, a river a town and a railway station were named for him in the Canadian West, as well as a street in Chicoutimi, Quebec, and the Knights of Columbus chapter in Falher, Alberta.

The Bishop who lived in Grouard, Alberta from 1902 to 1931, was buried there.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 II (Ottawa: Éditions de l’Université d’Ottawa, 1979), pp 116-17.


1. Emile GROUARD, o.m,i., Souvenir de mes soixante ans d'apostolat dans l'Athabaska-Mackenzie, Lyon, Oeuvre apostolique de Marie-Immaculée, 1923, 440 p.; La mort de Mgr Grouard, O.M.I., in Les Cloches de Saint-Boniface, 30 (1931), p. 57-60; Jean-Marie-Rodrigue VILLENEUVE, o.m.i., Oraison funèbre de Son Excellence Mgr E.-J.-M. Grouard, in Revue de l'Université d'Ottawa, 2 (1932), p. 106-114; Grouard, Emile, in Encyclopedia canadiana, vol. 5, p. 45; Yves GUÉGUEN, o.m,i., Grouard, Emile, in Catholicisme aujourd'hui, vol. 5, p. 314-315; Emile Jean B. Grouard, in John J. DELANEY-James Edward TOBIN, Dictionary of Catholic Biography, p. 515; Grouard, Emilio, in Enciclopedia cattolica, vol. 4, p. 277; G. B. TRAGELLA, Grouard, Emilio, in Dizionario cattolico, vol. 1, p. 279; Grouard, Emile, in Louis LE JEUNE, o.m.i., Dictionnaire général ... du Canada, vol. 1, p. 721-722, Vincenzo. ANZALONE, o.m.i., Il patriarca delle nevi, Monsignore Emile Grouard, 40 éd., Milano, Pontificio Instituto delle Missioni Estere 1950, 99 p.; Grouard, Emile, in Norah STORY, The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature, 1967, p. 332; Grouard, Emile, in Henry James MORGAN, The Canadian Men and Women of the Time, Toronto, William Briggs, 1898, p. 412-413; Mgr Grouard nommé vicaire apostolique de l'Athabaska-Mackenzie, in La Semaine religieuse de Montréal, 17 (1891), p. 265267; Elie-J. AUCLAIR, Le jubilé de diamant de Mgr Grouard, ibidem, 79 (1922), p. 340-342; Georges GOYAU, Mgr Grouard, ibidem, 86 (1927), p. 169-173; Anton FREITAG, s.v.d., Grouard, Emile, in Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, vol. 4 (1960), col. 1245.

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