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PR0003.004SF · Entidad colectiva · 1901-1986

The Oblate Vice-Province of Grouard was established in 1901 as part of the Vicariate of Missions of Athabaska. The Vicariate of Missions of Athabaska-Mackenzie had been established in 1864, and encompassed the geographical area of what is now Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

The Vicariate of Missions of Athabaska-Mackenzie was administratively divided along the 60th parallel, into the Vicariate of Missions of Athabaska (Northwestern part of Alberta) and the Vicariate of Missions of Mackenzie (Northeastern part of Alberta and the Northwest Territories). The Vicariate of Missions of Athabaska had three regions: Athabaska District (including Fort Chipewyan and Fond-du-Lac), Lesser Slave Lake – St. Bernard’s as Center (called Grouard since 1909), and the Peace River District.

In 1927, the District of Athabaska was moved to the Vicariate of Missions of Mackenzie, and the Vicariate of Missions of Athabaska became the Vicariate of Missions of Grouard. Mackenzie would administer the Athabaska district and Grouard, all areas east of the 113th meridian. The Vicariate of Grouard included Hay Lake, Fort Vermilion, Peace River, Fairview, Fort Dunvegan, Spirit River, Tangent, Grande-Prairie, Guy, Atikameg, Girouxville, Falher, McLennan, Grouard, Slave Lake, Wabaska and Desmarais until 1948.

In 1967, Rome abolished the system of vicariates of missions under the direction of Superiors, and all vicariates became Vice-Provinces under the direction of a Provincial. This elevated the Vicariate of Missions of Grouard to the Vice-Province of Grouard.

The Vice-Province of Grouard was both the civil corporation and the canonical entity for the Oblates in the northern regions of Alberta. Its administration consisted of the Superior / Vicar, later Provincial, and a council of four advisors that included the Treasurer, who advised on financial matters, with committees for support as needed.

The responsibilities of the Provincial administration was to manage the administration, the religious operations, and the financial aspects of the corporation, and to direct all the activities of the region that aimed to evangelize, to establish mission stations, elementary and advanced schools, orphanages, hospitals, and carry out other works of Christian charity, to erect chapels and churches. This included the monitoring of properties and investments, pensions and personnel finances, project funds, and funds used for training and material missionary work in the communities.

The Provincial Administration worked closely with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grouard-McLennan to carry out mission work in the territory that spanned 250,000 square kilometers. The superiors of the Vicariate often at the same time served as the bishop of the Diocese. The Vice-Province provided Oblates to support the work of the Diocese, and the administration of the missions, parishes and the financial responsibilities for staff often overlapped. The Oblates also supported the work of the Diocese in administering its seven Indian Residential Schools.

By the 1970s, the Oblates would carry out their missionary work under an agreement with the Roman Catholic archbishop of the Diocese, and financial affairs and property ownership were also separated in the 1970s.

The Provincial was also responsible for overseeing the administration of the various Oblate institutions in the Vice-Province, including the Centre Notre-Dame de la Paix, the Notre-Dame Collège (closed 1971), the Provincial House, the museum, and the pilgrimage grounds in Girouxville, and the Kisemanito Centre in Grouard.

By 1982, the Vice-Province of Grouard had four administrative districts based on geographic representation: The west sector contained Spirit-River, Eaglesham, Girouxville, Falher, and Jean-Côté. The central sector consisted of McLennan, Donnelly, Guy, Calais and Valleyview. The northern sector was comprised of Assumption, Meander-River, Fort-Vermilion and High Level, and the eastern sector consisted of Trout Lake, Wabasca, Smith, Slave Lake, Faust, Joussard, High Prairie, Gift Lake and Grouard.

The Oblate Vice-Province of Grouard ceased to exist in 1986 when it merged with the Oblate Vice-Province of Mackenzie and the Province of Alberta-Saskatchewan to form Grandin Province.

Superiors, Vicariate of Grouard:

  • Emile Grouard (1901-1930)
  • Jules Calais (1930-1932)
  • Joseph Guy (1932-1938)
  • Ubald Langlois (1938-1944)
  • Henri Routhier (1944-1950)
  • Armand Boucher (1950-1956)
  • Marjorique Lavigne (1956-1965)
  • Jean Marsan (1965-1966)

Provincials, Vice-Province of Grouard:

  • Jean Marsan (1967-1973))
  • René Bélanger (1973-1979)
  • Clément Richer (1979-1985)
PR0003.001SF · Entidad colectiva · 1986-2003

Grandin Province was established on May 1st, 1986, when the Oblate Vice-Provinces of Grouard, Mackenzie, and the Province of Alberta-Saskatchewan were merged to form Grandin Province. Grandin Province encompassed the western area of the Northwest Territories, Alberta, and northern Saskatchewan. It was also declared a bilingual Province. Like its predecessors, Grandin Province was both the civil corporation and the canonical entity of the Oblates in the west. The Provincial Administration consisted of eight members and included a Provincial, a Provincial Vicar, and six advisers. Grandin Province administration also included a Finance Committee composed of the Provincial Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Financial Consultant and three other members. The Provincial Administration of Grandin Province was moved from its traditional base in St. Albert, to the newly acquired Provincial House in Edmonton.

The responsibilities of the Provincial administration within Grandin Province continued along the lines of its predecessors: to manage the administration, the religious operations, and the financial aspects of the corporation, and to direct all the activities of the region that aim to evangelize, to establish mission stations, elementary and advanced schools, orphanages, hospitals, dispensaries and carry out other works of Christian charity, to erect chapels and churches.

The Oblates of Grandin Province congregation carried out the administrative functions and the duties related to mission and parish work, vocation and the formation of future Oblates, continued their administrative responsibilities at the provincial and diocesan levels, carried for the sick and the elderly, and were present in their local communities by teaching in universities, carrying out bible studies, and participating in retreats and pilgrimages.

The Provincial was responsible for overseeing the administration of the various properties, including the scolasticates, the Star of the North Retreat House, various colleges, CHFA radio and other subordinate institutions. The Provincial Vicar, was responsible for the missions in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Kisemanito Centre, Lac St-Anne pilgrimage, and the laymen ministry training committee.

Grandin Province worked closely with the churches in the various local communities, and by the early 2000s included 158 Oblates, consisting of four bishops, 116 priests, 37 brothers and one scolasticate, who served six Roman Catholic dioceses: Mackenzie, Grouard-McLennan, St-Paul, Edmonton, Calgary and Prince Albert.

The administrative and canonical entity of Grandin Province ceased to exist when, on December 8, 2003, the western Oblate provinces of Grandin, St. Peter’s, Manitoba Corporation, St. Mary’s and the Order of OMI British Columbia, also known as St. Paul’s Province, and the central provinces, were canonically amalgamated to form OMI Lacombe Canada.

Provincials, Grandin Province:

  • Maurice Joly (1985-1986)
  • Félix Vallée (1986-1989)
  • Jacques Johnson (1989-1995)
  • Camille Piché (1996-2003)