This Week in History
A Missionary of Many Talents
For the week of Monday June 11, 2007
On June 13, 1849, Albert Lacombe was ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. Father Lacombe would become one of the most renowned missionaries in the Canadian West.
While studying at the Archbishop’s palace, Lacombe received a visit from Father Georges Belcourt, who was a missionary in the Pembina area (now in North Dakota). This visit made a lasting impression on Lacombe; two months after he was ordained a priest, he left for the Prairies, where he would spend most of his life.
In 1852, he worked with Bishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché at the Red River settlement, but was sent to Lac Ste-Anne (in present-day Alberta) in 1853. While visiting many of the missions in the area, Lacombe began forging friendships with the Blackfoot, Cree and Métis peoples through his evangelical missions, as well as become a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1856.
In 1908, towards the end of his life, Lacombe opened a home for orphans, elderly and disabled in Midnapore, Alberta. This was quite successful; there were 40 residents within six months. It was at this home that Lacombe would spend the rest of his days. He passed away December 12, 1916, at age 89.
For his work with the First Nations and his impact on the development of the Canadian West, Albert Lacombe, O. M. I. , was designated a National Historic Person in 1932.
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