Notes from the 75th anniversary of the Parish
Rev. Joseph Hallé 1919-1938
Most Rev. Joseph Charbonneau 1939-1940
Most Rev. Albini Leblanc 1940-1945
Most Rev. Georges-Léon Landry 1946-1952
Most Rev. Louis Levesque 1952-1964
Most Rev. Jacques Landriault 1964-1971
- Apostolic Administrator 1971-1973
Most Rev. Roger Despatie 1973-1993
Most Rev. Pierre Fisette 1994-1995
Most Rev. André Vallée 1996-
Pelletier October. 1919 to January 1922
Joseph-Gérard Audet (dit Lapointe) December 1921 to
Raoul Guibord August 1922 to August 1930
J.-M. Sauvé 1930 to 1931
G.-Edouard Brosseau 1931 to 1935
G. Fafard 1935 to 1937
Léo-Marie Sylvain 1937 to 1940
G.-Edouard Brosseau 1940 to 1942
Joseph Payette 1942 to 1945
Msgr Pierre Grenier 1945 to 1971
Jean-Paul Décarie 1971 to 1977
Jean-Roch Pelletier 1977 to 1983
1983 to 1990
Jacques Fortin, Administrateur 1990 to 1991
Gilles Gosselin 1991 to
Jean-Guy Mailloux 1998 to
Lessard 2001 to
came to be with the construction of the Transcontinental railroad.
During the first few years, the town was named "Grant"
in honour of Sir William Grant, then Prime Minister of Ontario.
It is only in 1922, when the town received its charter, that
the name was changed to Hearst.
missionaries weren't late in making their appearance in Hearst.
From 1912 to 1917, priest from the diocese of Haileybury came
to service the mission once a month.
1917, the Oblate Fathers (from Moonbeam) took charge of the
mission until 1919. On the 18th of April 1919, the district
became part of the Apostolic "Prefecture", under the
direction of Mgr. Joseph Hallé who arrived in Hearst
accompanied by Rev. Edmond Pelletier, priest from the diocese
of Quebec. In June, Rev. Zoël Lambert arrived. He was named
"Prelate of His Holiness", retired on July 30th 1943
in St-Nicholas, Quebec; deceased August 18th 1980 in Hearst.
Apostolic Prefecture of Hearst became Apostolic Vicariate on
the 17th of November 1920.
had to be done, the colonisation was only beginning. Most of
the parishes of the Hearst diocese saw their beginnings between
1920 and 1930.
first settlers arrived in 1912. The French Canadians were in
small numbers, among them were Pierre Turgeon, Alfred Bélanger
and Xavier Bélanger. Pierre Turgeon built a boarding
house on the street known today as Front Street. Thus was born
the first hotel in Hearst. It was later named Windsor Hotel.
1918, Hearst was not a town. It was a large village and more.
The population was in great majority English and Protestant.
Travelling was done on foot and by train. At this time life
was not restful. Everyone had to work hard and sometimes fight
for justice, especially when the regulations on wood cutting
came into effect. In order to avoid taxes on a cord of wood,
you had to clear a certain amount of acreage a year. The inspectors
visited often and somehow their measurements seemed "short".
A small group of French Canadians submerged in an English majority,
they did not have life easy, especially if they didn't speak
English. Without the intervention of priest, many settlers would
have lost a good portion of what was due to them. At this time
many were uneducated and not used to fighting.
the arrival of Mgr. Hallé in 1919, up to the building
of a church, mass was celebrated on the 2nd floor of the bishop's
house. The construction of the first church started in the Fall
of 1919 to be finished by 1920. Mgr. blessed the church on the
6th of February 1920. It offered religious services until the
day it was partially destroyed by fire in November 1951. In
1947, the town had built a large parish hall, after the fire,
it was converted into a church while waiting for the new cathedral
to be built in 1968.
July 1920, arrived four Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
They lived in a small house on Kitchener Street only to be moved
in July 1921 into M. Adélard Blais' old house, located
at the corner of Kitchener and Ninth Street. It was then that
the Sisters established their first convent. Eight young girls
and four young boys were the first boarders. The boys slept
in the basement of the Bishop's house. There were then three
classrooms: one in M. Adélard Blais' basement, one in
the basement of the Bishop's house and another in the basement
of the first cathedral.
1922 was built a convent that had Saint Joseph as its patron
saint. The Sisters took possession of said convent in September
1922. In July, there were only two Sisters, in September arrived
a third and a fourth joined then in January 1923. The boarders
had increased an other Sisters lent a hand. At this time there
were four classrooms.
1929, the chief supervisory officer from the Ministry of education
was visiting the classrooms that contained day students from
town. He was touched by the subnormal conditions that these
children were living in. He handed his report to the government
and received an $8000.00 grant for the construction of a school.
Supervisors C. Charron, and councillors D. Lafond, Léo
Giroux, Adélard Blais, Charles Duguay, and Edelbert Bégin.
Mgr Zoël Lambert took a large active part in this construction.
As early as May 1930, the construction had begun and on December
4th, two classes were opened. The following month, on January
4th all classes were available. The school was blessed and was
given St. Therese as its patron saint.
Sisters of Perpetual Help left Hearst in June 1941, they were
immediately replaced by the Sisters of the Assumption from Nicolet.
Their devotion and efforts were geared to the education of young
children. They maintained, at great sacrifices, a convent that
lodged young boys up to 1956, and girls until 1973. They opened
St. Joseph Academy in 1956 in order to help the girls, who were
mostly boarders, to acquire a secondary high school education.
1991, our community was happy to welcome and celebrate the 50th
anniversary of the presence of the Sisters of the Assumption
the population grew two new elementary schools were built; St.
Louis and St. Jacques. From the very beginning the principal
responsibility belonged to the Sisters. In 1942, the Hearst
High School educated the population at the secondary level.
This school was enlarged in 1967.(the secondary level of Hearst
College in 1971) The Hearst High School is now a school which
offers a bilingual character, is catholic and now titled École
Secondaire Hearst High School. Its 50th anniversary was celebrated
in July of 92.
a growing population, the elementary school was not able to
respond to the demands. It is why Mgr. Louis Levesque, Bishop
of Hearst, decided to establish a small seminary, where the
students could pursue their studies and reach a Bachelor of
Arts. At the beginning it was a private secondary school with
a French Catholic education. Its doors opened on September 8th
affiliation to the Seminary at Laurentian University in Sudbury
in 1958, gave them permission to offer required courses in order
to obtain a B.A. The institution received its incorporation
charter from the Ontario government in 1959, and had the name
of Hearst College. In 1970, it had to abandon the secondary
level and devote itself uniquely to the university courses.
Recognized as a public institution in 1971, it named itself
College Universitaire de Hearst. It is know known as Hearst
Algoma Central and National Transcontinental Railway contributed
to the advancement and the economy of the town of Hearst Forest
Products. Being the principal source or revenue, many sawmills
establish themselves in the region. In 1921-22 came Mc'Neil
and Pellow, Hamand and Huard. Later Selin, Newago, Fontaine,
Lecours, Levesque and Gosselin established themselves. One industry
demands another. The wood industry gave birth to the sale of
tractors, trucks, and other machinery needed for transportation
and the good management of their industry. Evolution continued
with modernisation of the mills, the addition of the fabrication
of wafer board and plywood, properties of Yvon L้vesque now
owned by Columbia Forest Products). There were also the operations
of Bio Shell which started in 1980 and continued until March
plays an important place in the economical life of Hearst. In
1922-23 there were 2 banks, the Hochelaga and the Imperial.
In 1994, the Imperial remains, the Bank of Nova Scotia opens
its doors in 1968 and the Caisse Populaire in 1944.
the early days there were a few hotels, a general store, a grocery
store, a post office, a policeman, and a few firemen. Commercial
services have improved since then.
also is equally an important element in the development and
economics of Hearst. Many people came to reside in the area
with farming in mind. Because the forest operations offered
permanent employment to the settlers, kept on modernizing their
industry, many people left agriculture. Of course, the climate
not always favourable to the land, could be a factor to the
demise of agriculture.
Kinsey was the first to practice medicine in Hearst. In 1916,
he treated his patients in his private home. In 1920-21, our
first hospital was completed. It was named St. Paul's Hospital
after the Anglican Church in Ottawa.. It was managed by the
Women's Missionary Society. In 1954, the hospital was sold to
the Sisters of Providence who changed the name to Hôspital
Notre Dame. In response to the needs of a constant growing population,
a seventy-nine bed hospital was erected in 1972. The medical
needs today are provided by doctors: Proulx, Ghali, Lafleche,
Smith, Fragiskos, Lacroix and Lamontagne. The forerunners were
doctors: Polnicky, Gray, Okeke, Onwidive,
Auben, Sadizki, Quanbenbush, Cain, Killingheek, Baird, Baker
Williamson, Luttlemary William, Kennaird, Chalykoff, Margaret
and Willian Arkinstall, Chiasson and
Blank. (Hope we got everyone).
the spiritual order of things, we have to mention the devotion
of religious orders. In the past 75 years, in our parish we
had the services of the Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help,
the Sisters of the Assumption,
the Sisters of Providence, the Sisters of Our Lady Queen of
the Clergy and members of the secular institute des Milliciennes
events have touched the Hearst Church in 1993-94. Mgr. Despatie
passed away on May 14th 1993, he served the diocese for twenty
years. The parishioners keep a memory of a shepherd who was
very close to his flock. On March 18th 1994, the Church was
happy to greet and welcome a new Bishop to the diocese, Mgr.
Pierre Fisette. He was warmly received and he was assured of
our support in his projects. He lost his life in a tragic car
accident on the 21st of December 1995. Along with him in the
same accident were Sister Micheline Bolduc and Father Viateur
Allary. All to be missed.
October 15th 1996, we welcomed and celebrated the installation
of our present Bishop, Most
Rev. André Vallée,