Jean-Guy Mailloux, cur้ / Parish Priest  
Established in 1922
Bishop Joseph Hall้
Pastor Edmond Pelletier
Feast Day August 15

In place  
Bishop vacant
Rector R้mi Lessard
Population (2000) 3670


  •  P.P.C.: ---

  •  P.F.C.: M. Cl้ment Groleau

  •  Our Triptych


Notes from the 75th anniversary of the Parish in 1994.

  •  Bishops of the Diocese of Hearst

Most 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-

Edmond Pelletier • October. 1919 to January 1922
Joseph-Gérard Audet (dit Lapointe) • December 1921 to July 1922
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
Fernand Villeneuve • 1983 to 1990
Jacques Fortin, Administrateur • 1990 to 1991
Gilles Gosselin • 1991 to 1998
Jean-Guy Mailloux • 1998 to 2001
R้mi Lessard • 2001 to

Hearst 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.

The 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.

In 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.

The Apostolic Prefecture of Hearst became Apostolic Vicariate on the 17th of November 1920.

Everything had to be done, the colonisation was only beginning. Most of the parishes of the Hearst diocese saw their beginnings between 1920 and 1930.

The 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.

In 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.

Since 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.

In 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.

In 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.

In 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.

The 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.

In 1991, our community was happy to welcome and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the presence of the Sisters of the Assumption in Hearst.

As 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.

With 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 1953.

The 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 University.

The 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 1991.

Commerce 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.

In 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.

Agriculture 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.

Doctor 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).

In 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 du Rosaire.

Two 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.

On October 15th 1996, we welcomed and celebrated the installation of our present Bishop, Most Rev. André Vallée, p.m.้.

Site Français