Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Vice-Province of Mackenzie

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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Vice-Province of Mackenzie

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        The Oblate Vice-Province of Mackenzie was originally established in 1901. Its predecessor, 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. In 1901, the Vicariate of Missions of Athabaska-Mackenzie was administratively divided into two Vicariates along the 60th parallel. The Vicariate of Missions of Athabaska (northwestern portion of what would become Alberta, south of the 60th) and the Vicariate of Missions of Mackenzie (northeastern portion of what would become Alberta and the Northwest Territories, north of the 60th).

        Mackenzie included of missions and schools in a number of communities, including Fort Smith, Fort Resolution, Fort Providence, Fort Simpson, Fort Wrigley, Fort Liard, Fort Rae, Fort Norman, Good Hope and Peel River. In 1927, the District of Athabasca became an administrative unit of the Vicariate Apostolic of Mackenzie, and all areas west of the 113th meridian would become the Vicariate of Grouard. This included Fort Chipewyan, Fond-du-Lac, Fort McMurray and Fitzgerald. Chard followed in 1935 and Yellowknife in 1935.

        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 Mackenzie to the Vice-Province of Mackenzie.

        The Vice-Province of Mackenzie was both the civil corporation and the canonical entity for the Oblates in the north. Its administration consisted of the Vicar, later Provincial, and a council of four advisors that included the Treasurer, who advised on financial matters. The Council was drawn from Fort Smith or the south, one advisor from the central zone (Lac des Esclaves), one advisor from the lower part of the Mackenzie River.

        The responsibilities of the Provincial administration was to manage the organization, 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 Roman Catholic Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith to carry out mission work in regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. 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 Indian Residential Schools in the north. The Oblates also worked closely with the Grey Nuns of Montreal. Together, they opened and administered six hospitals, Fort Smith in 1914, Fort Simpson in 1916, Aklavik in 1925, Fort McMurray in 1938, Fort Resolution in 1939 and Fort Rae in 1940.

        By 1948, the Oblate Congregation consisted of more than 100 fathers and brothers. By 1982 the Vice-Province of Mackenzie had three administrative districts: Fort Smith and the south, Lac des Esclaves for central and Inuvik for the north. The Provincial House in Fort Smith was the only property that belonged to the Oblates, other properties belonged to the diocese.

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

        Superiors, Vicariate of Mackenzie:

        • Gabriel Breynat (1901-1943)
        • Joseph Trocellier (1943-1950)
        • Jean-Louis Michel (1950-1956)
        • Robert Haramburu (1956-1962)
        • Lucien Casterman (1962-1966)

        Provincials, Vice-Province of Mackenzie:

        -Lucien Casterman (1967-1971)

        • Gilles Mousseau (1971-1980)
        • Jean Porte (1980-1985)


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        Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Grandin Province (1986-2003)

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        Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Grandin Province is the successor of Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Vice-Province of Mackenzie

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