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R.F. Antoine Kowalczyk, OMI, [1910-1912]. (OB3116 - Oblate Collection at the PAA)Morice, Adrien-Gabriel

MORICE, Adrien-Gabriel, was born in Saint-Mars-sur-Colmont (Mayenne), France, on August 27th, 1859, the son of Jean Morice and of Virginie Seigneur. He died in Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, April 21st, 1938.

After his studies at the small seminary at Mayenne and the juniorat of Notre-Dame de Sion, Gabriel entered the novitiate of Nancy on August 14th, 1877 and made his profession August 15th, 1878. He made his perpetual vows at the Scolasticat of Autun, October 9th, 1879 and, as a minor, received his orders to go to British Columbia (1880) where he lived at Mission City (1880-1882), and was ordained a priest on July 2nd, 1882, by Mgr Louis D'herbomez, o.m.i., Vicar Apostolic of British Columbia.

Fr Morice went among the Chilcotin at Williams Lake (18821885) and, then, at Stuart Lake [Fort Saint James] (1885-1906). During his time among the Aboriginal Peoples, he developed a modified syllabic alphabet that reflected the intricacies of the Dené language and published a journal «Le papier qui raconte» [The Paper That Recounts] in the same alphabet, as well as a number of religious works. He created vocabularies and also grammatical treatises in Chilcotin, Sekani, Nahanni. He developed a Dene syllabic; established a printshop for the Dene language at Stuart Lake; and created a number of maps of the interior of British Columbia, one of which, the first of the interior, was published by the provincial government in 1907.

He next went to Kamloops (1906-1908) and, after, to the juniorat of the Sainte-Famille at Saint-Boniface, Manitoba (1908-1909); to Saint Mary's in Winnipeg (1909-1910). He then became the first editor of the newspaper Le Patriote de l'Ouest [The Western Patriot], with a residence at Duck Lake, Saskatchewan (1910-1911). He returned to the juniorat at Saint-Boniface (1911), the Parish of Sacré-Coeur [Sacred Heart] Winnipeg (1911-1914) in the role of chaplain of the Académie Sainte-Marie, again at the juniorat of Saint-Boniface (1914-1923), then, to Lebret, Saskatchewan (1923-1925).

In order to make more time for his research and writing of history and ethnography, he lived privately in Winnipeg (1925-1938). He was also a professor of Anthropology at the University of Saskatoon (1912-1914), from which he received an honorary doctorate in law o (1933). He received the same honorary degree from the University of Ottawa (1934).

A number of geographic entities in British Columbia bear his name. He left a great number of works in printed and manuscript form.

Fr Morice was buried in the Oblate cemetery at Saint-Boniface, Manitoba.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 404-405.


1. Le R.P. A.-G. Morice, O.M.I., est décédé, in L'Ami du Foyer, 33 (1937-1938), p. 148-149; Le R.P. A.-G. Morice, dans Missions ... des ... Oblats de Marie-Immaculée, 72 (1938), p. 347-350; Morice, Adrien-Gabriel, in Encyclopedia canadiana, vol. 8, p. 167; Morice, Adrien-Gabriel, in John J. DELANEY - James Edward TOBIN, Dictionary of Catholic Biography, p. 827; Norah STORY, Morice, Gabriel, in The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature, p. 540-541; Renée BEAULNE, Bio-bibliographie du Rév. Père A. G. Morice, o.m.i., Montréal, Ecole de bibliothéconomie, 1945, 46 p. (Ms.); Wilhelm SCHMIDT, s.v.d., P. Adrien-G. Morice, O.M.I., in Anthropos, 24 (1939), p. 376-379; Robert STREIT, o.m.i., Morice, Gabriel, in Bibliotheca Missionum, Aachen, Aachener Missionsdrukerie, 1927, vol. 3, p. 933-938; Gaston CARRIÈRE, o.m.i., Adrien-Gabriel Morice, o.m.i. (1859-1938). Essai de bibliographie, in Revue de l'Université d'Ottawa, 42 (1972), p. 325-341; Gabriel-Adrien MORICE, o.m.i., Fifty Years in Western Canada, being an abridged Memoirs of Rev. A. G. Morice, O.M.I., Toronto, The Ryerson Press, 1930, x-267; Un grand savant américaniste: Le Père A. G. Morice, o.m.i., in Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Québec, 26 (1932), p. 14-33; Taddeus-P. JOST, Rev. A.G. Morice, Discoverer and Surveyor, and the Problems of the Proper Geographical Names in the North Central British Columbia, in Revue de l'Université d'Ottawa, 37 (1967), p. 463-476; Gaston CARRIÈRE, o.m.i., Adrien-Gabriel Morice, O.M.I., Missionary and Scientist, in Adrien-Gabriel Morice, O.M.I., The History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia, Fairfield, Washington, Ye Galleon Press, 1871, p. [3-7]; Raymond HUEL, Adrien-Gabriel Morice, O.M.I., and the University of Saskatchewan, in Revue de l'Université d'Ottawa, 43 (1973), p. 195-204; Victor BARBEAU-André FORTIER, Dictionnaire biographique du Canada français, p. 175.

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