Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/435

This page needs to be proofread.




S^guin, Grouard, and the learned explorer, linguist, and ethnographer. Father Petitot, managed, in the teeth of opposition and extreme poverty, not only to hold their own, but to increase the mnnber of their stations and converts. In the course of 1866 Father Petitot procured for the natives of Great Bear Lake the visit of the first minister of the Gospel they had ever seen in their dreary wastes. In the south Fathers Lacombe, Gast^, Leduc, Fourmond, Bonnald, and others were neither less active nor less success- ful. While in the far East secular priests were looking after the spiritual interests of the Abenakis, the Oblates continued their \isits to the Indians north of the St. Lawrence, and the Jesuits to the natives of the Lake Superior basin.

On the Pacific Coast, the work of evangelization inaugurated by Father Demers likewise advanced. That missionary, ha\-ing been made Bishop of Vancouver Island (1847), called to his aid the Ob- lates lately established in Oregon. The stations of Esquiraalt, Sanish, and Cowitchen, and the con- version of hosts of aborigines were the immediate results. From the island missionary work spread to the adjacent mainland. On 8 Oct., 1859, Father Charles M. Pandosy founded the Okanagan mis- sion, and Fathers Casimir Chirouse, L(5on Fouquet, Paul Durieu, and other Oblates powerfully helped their superior. Father Louis-Joseph D'Herbomez, in regenerating the Indians of the Lower Fraser. Most consoling were the results of their zeal, and it is doubts ful if a more thorough change from habitual intemper- ance and other vices was ever effected in North America than that which rejoiced the hearts of the Oblates in British Columbia.

On 20 Dec, 1863, Father d'Herbomez became the first bishop of the mainland, and this circumstance gave a new impetus to the evangelization of that im- mense country. Shushwaps and Chilcotins were then granted the same spiritual advantages as had been for some time enjoyed by the natives of the Lower Fraser valley, for the special benefit of whom the mis- sion of St. Mary's had been established (1861). In the course of 1868 Bishop d'Herbomez himself visited the whole of the northern interior of British Columbia, as far as Babine Lake, doing much good to the D^n^s and other Indians he met. Fathers Le Jacq and McGuckin walked in his footsteps until the former established (1873) the mission of Stuart Lake, which was to become the great centre of missionary activities in the north of the Pacific province. In June, 1875, Father Pierre-P. Durieu was named coadjutor to Bishop d'Herbomez. On Vancouver Island a devoted secular priest. Father August Brabant, had long been battling at his own per- sonal risk against the apathy of the less religiously inclined Indians of the west coast. He was finally successful, while secular priests. Fathers J. N. Lem- mens, Joseph Nicolaye, and others, were gradually taking the places of the Oblates who had been the pioneers of the island diocese. In 1871 the Holy See formed the Province of St. Boniface with Arch- bishop 'Tach^ as metropolitan and three suffragans. Bishop Grandin, now titular of St. Albert, and the vicars Apostolic of Athabasca-Mackenzie (Mgr. Far- aud) and of British Columbia (Mgr. d'Herbomez). The archdiocese lost importance as a missionary coun- try in proportion as it saw the wave of white immi- gration roll over the soil tilled by so many devoted workers. The districts of the Saskatchewan,^ Atha- basca, and the Mackenzie were long to remain rich fields for apostolic men zealous for the lowest in the social scale. That the difficulties and even dangers attending the evangelization of the Indians had not disappeared from those territories was made evident by the drowning in Lake Athabasca (1873) of a veteran of the northern missions, Father Emile Eynard, an ex-official of the French Government, the

freezing (1874) of Louis Uaz^, a lay missionary of the St. Albert diocese, and the fate which befell Brother Alexis (July, 1875), killed and eaten by an Iroquois companion.

Vet there is no denying that local conditions were little by little undergoing some alterations. On the plains of what is now southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan white immigration had commenced. At that time treaties were made with the Indians, en- tailing the establishment of new missionary posts and of industrial schools. While some of these were as- signed to Protestant sects, the Church could not be content with a second place in a country where she had done most of the pioneer work. In spite of occasional ill-will on the part of those in power, she readily adapted herself to the new circumstances. Thus were founded the important Indian schools of (1) Dunbow, Alberta (1884); (2) Qu'Appelle, Saskatche- wan (1884); (3) St. Boniface (1890); (4) Duck Lake, in Saskatchewan (1897), and other similar institutions for the benefit of the Indian youth. British Columbia already possessed the Indian industrial schools of St. Mary's, William's Lake, Kamloops, and Kootenay, all in the hands of the Catholic missionaries and nuns. Then came the Saskatchewan Rebellion (1885), which resulted not only in the destruction of seven Catholic missions, but even in the death at the hands of pagan Crees (2 April) of Fathers Fafard and Marchand, young Oblates then in charge of the posts of Frog Lake and Onion Lake respectively. Quite a few of the misguided Indians, however, eventually profited by these troubles, since their condemnation to death or confinement led them to join the Church they had so grievously injured.

Thenceforth the roving life of the pioneers be- came more or less a thing of the past for the mis- sionaries of the western prairies, who, penned up with their charge in well-defined reservations, con- tinued their ministrations without that element of romance which breaks the monotony of the daily rou- tine and contributes to the making of history. It may nov/ suffice for us to mention the labours of Fathers Gaste at Lake Caribou ; Bonnald at Cumber- land; Grouard (who replaced Bishop Faraud, d. Oct., 1892), at Lac la Biche and Athabasca; of Father Pascal (appointed vicar Apostolic of the newly crea- ted district of the Saskatchewan, 19 April, 1891), at Lake Athabasca and elsewhere ; of Father S^guin, on the Lower Mackenzie, and of many other equally de- serving missionaries. Even the lonely missions of the great northern stream and tributaries have had a share in the material progress so noticeable in the south. Thanks to the initiative of Bishop (irouard, a steamer has been built which annually saves to those poor missions large sums of money formerly paid to the Hudson Bay Company for their periodical outfitting. In the far East a new impetus was im- parted to the missions of the faithful Micmacs by the arrival of the Capuchin Fathers in October, 1894, at Ste-Anne de Restigouche. In British Columbia material circumstances were never quite so precarious as in Mackenzie. Owing to the efforts of Bishop Durieu, the spiritual conditions of the Indians of the mainland of that province have ever been exception- ally bright. With the aid of such tried co-workers as Fathers Le Jacq, Fouquet, Chirouse junior, and others, the wonders of the Paraguayan Reductions have been reproducetl, if not surpassed, among the Indians of the Pacific. Others working there were Rev. A. G. Morice, who directed Stuart's Lake mis- sion during nineteen years and invented an Indian syllabary now widely known in the North; N. Coccola, who did wonders in the Kootenay; Fr. 'Thomas, and V. Rohr.

Of a native population of 111,043, Canada officially coimts to-day 40,820 Catholic Indians thus distrib- uted: Prince Edward Island, 274; New Brunswick,