ST. ANN'S PARISH: TINCHEBRAY FATHERS, CALGARY SEPARATE SCHOOL BOARD, AND BISHOP MCNALLY.
The assumption of the parish by the Tinchebray Fathers, formerly a teaching congregation, occurred at a tune when significant changes were being demanded by the Canadian English language Roman Catholic hierarchy centred in Ontario. They wanted the appointments of English-speaking bishops in the prairie West that hitherto had been the exclusive domain of French-speaking bishops because of then-historic missions in the West. The Diocese of Saint Albert was detached from the Ecclesiastical Province of St. Boniface in 1912 and elevated to become the Ecclesiastical Province of Edmonton, composed of the new Diocese of Calgary and the Archdiocese of Edmonton. Emile Legal assumed the position of Archbishop of Edmonton at that time while John Thomas McNally inn 1913 was appointed as Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary. He was the first Anglophone bishop appointed to a See in the prairie West. Legal wanted to maintain a French clerical presence in Calgary.
The Tinchebray Fathers began in 1910 to manage St. Ann's Parish and its separate school that was under the authority of the Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Board No. 1. After three years of unsteady progress with parish organization and problematic school administration, the ground underneath the feet of the Tinchebray Congregation in 1913 was shaken by the arrival of Bishop McNally who had a vision for his diocese and its schools that required more English-speaking secular clergy, less French regular clergy (if any) and the employment of teachers who communicated well using English in its schools.
During the spring of 1910 Bishop Legal made a pressing offer to transfer the embryonic St. Ann's Mission in Calgary to the Tinchebray Fathers. This proposal as made to Father Henri Voisin, Provincial of the Congregation, dated April 20, 1910. Rev. Father Henri Grandin, Provincial of the Oblates in Alberta, informed Bishop Legal of his need to make changes in pastoral assignments in Calgary that involved the emerging St. Ann's Mission. He stated that he would like to keep the mission but that the Oblates were unable to do so because of personnel shortages and would like to see it placed in the hands of an existing religious congregation, otherwise it would likely be assigned to a secular priest. (1) In December 1911, there was a total of 34 priests including three members of the Tinchebray Congregation in the territory that would be transferred to the new Diocese of Calgary in the following year. Regular clergy accounted for 32 priests (mostly Oblates) while only two were secular priests. All the priests were bilingual speaking French and English. (2) Legal informed Father Voisin that it would be a good "foot on the ground" to establish their French origin Tinchebray Fathers in Calgary. (3) Concerns over the security of their placement in an Anglophone city led the Tinchebray Congregation to negotiate conditions with their Bishop requesting his recommendation of the status in titulo perpetuo (permanent title) for the Congregation's possession of St. Ann's Parish in Calgary. The title, in theory, would make it more difficult for a hostile bishop to dismiss the Congregation from the parish.
Bishop Legal could not have missed the rumblings of change emanating from the Anglophone hierarchy of Canada in Ontario and the Maritimes seeking the appointment English-speaking priests and bishops for predominantly English-speaking dioceses in western Canada. Archbishop Francis Bourne of Westminster, England, asserted that English was best suited language for the evangelization of English-speaking and other non-Francophone Catholics in North America outside of Quebec. (4) Archbishop Bourne outlined his position that reflected and reinforced the views of the Canadian Anglophone Bishops at the World Eucharist Congress held in Montreal in September of 1910. Father John Thomas McNally, the secretary of the congress, was an associate of the Archbishop. Bourne declared:
If the mighty nation of that Canada is destined to become in the future is to be won and held to the Catholic Church, this can only be done by making known to a great part of the Canadian people in succeeding generations, the mysteries of our faith through the medium of our English speech.[...] Until the English language, English habits of thought, English literature--in a word the entire English mentality is brought into the service of the Catholic Church, the saving work of the Church is impeded and hampered. (5)
The speech and position of Archbishop Bourne was widely published and supported in English language Catholic newspapers across Canada. (6) The Tinchebray missionaries would feel the full impact of these sentiments in a brief three years when the rumblings became a reality.
Bishop Legal and the Oblates were confronted with a growing demand for clergy in Calgary and southern Alberta due to rapid population growth during the first decade of the century. East Calgary was one of several regions of the city receiving an influx of population. The process of establishing St. Ann's Parish by the Oblates and laity began in earnest in 1908 with a request from Catholics living east of the Elbow River for a chapel to be established to serve the faithful in the area. Until then, St. Mary's was the only Roman Catholic church for the entire city of Calgary when the decision was made to begin establishing missions and chapels in the outlying parts of the city. (7) Oblate priests from St. Mary's Church travelled on Sundays to celebrate mass for a small growing core of Catholics in East Calgary. Several existing venues were rented along 9th Avenue to serve as temporary chapels between the years of 1908 to 1910. Building their own church became a priority project for the parishioners that had been completed just before the Tinchebray Mission assumed possession of the parish. A wood frame church, 5 50 by 30 feet, was constructed in the spring of 1910 and opened for its first mass on August 8th of that year at 8th Avenue and 15th Street East, with St. Ann's Parish being canonically erected on December 16, 1910. (8) St. Ann's Parish Annual Reports in 1910 and 1911 reveal a continued rapid increase of parishioners by 1911 in the parish from 337 to 548 persons mostly of Irish and Scottish origins. (9 10) Mgr. Legal in a letter to Father Voisin noted, "Naturally it would be necessary to place a Father there who speaks English sufficiently well." (11) Father Louis Stanilaus Forget (PSM) was assigned to the multiethnic, English-speaking, working-class district of East Calgary which was surprising considering his difficulty communicating in English and his difficult personality. (12) Father Voisin, however, observed growth in Father Forget's ministry while he was assigned to English-speaking Carstairs parish in a letter dated June 6th. He wrote, "With approval of Your Grandeur, I will send Father Forget to Calgary. He actually did very well in Carstairs and there enjoys a great influence even on the Protestants. I am persuaded that he can make the greatest good in this working-class environment of Calgary." (13)
A 1965 history of St. Ann's Parish stated that Father Forget attempted to improve his communications with his parishioners by taking English reading lessons from Ethel MacDonald, St Ann's first separate school teacher, every Saturday morning in preparation for the Sunday Mass readings. (14) While Father Forget was credited with good relations with parishioners, it was not the case with his fellow religious. (15) When Father Voisin appointed Father Paul Renut (PSM) as an assistant to Father Forget in June of 1912, he lamented, "I hope he will not make life impossible for the third assistant as he did for the previous two." (16) Father Renut resided in the Carstair's rectory while commuting by rail to Calgary to avoid conflicts.
The move to St. Ann's Parish was a rocky experience for the Tinchebray congregation, especially for Father Forget. The acquisition of St. Ann's Parish of Calgary in 1910 represented the high point of the southern expansion of the Tinchebray mission. Father Forget and his first part time assistant, Father Eugene Ciron (PSM), had high hopes of developing the Anglophone parish, including its school. This move was the first attempt by the Tinchebray mission to minister in an urban parish.
Father Forget, during his tenure as parish priest at St. Ann's (1910-1912), sought to recruit a congregation of sisters to serve as teachers for the expanding St. Ann's Separate School, and to provide parochial services in the parish. He saw a need for nursing services, home visitors, perhaps eventually a hospital and the establishment of a convent with a boarding school. The development of St. Ann's parish generally progressed well but his efforts to establish a congregation of sisters in the parish was complicated by his personality, communications, housing, the Calgary Catholic Separate School Board, and finances, as well as finding suitable roles for francophone sisters in an Anglophone parish. He wanted sisters who could communicate well in English. After negotiating with several communities of sisters starting in 1910, Bishop Legal and Father Forget made their decision in early 1911 selecting the Daughters of Wisdom. Four members of the community arrived September 18, 1911, in addition to Sr. Marie-Aimee, who at the tune was residing with the Grey Nuns while attending the Calgary Normal School in order to obtain an Alberta teacher certificate. (17) She was scheduled to begin teaching at St. Ann's Separate School in January 1912.
In January of 1911, the Congregation of Religious in Rome granted the Daughters of Wisdom in Canada authorization to borrow up to $20,000 and to find a lender for the Calgary project. (18) The mother house was responsible for constructing convents, while a community of sisters was expected to be self-supporting, financed through their provision of gainful services such as noted. Boarding schools were ideal institutions for sisters to provide religious environments for students and also to bring in revenue by collecting fees for feeding and housing residential students. Convents frequently offered music, art, and language lessons to the public to materially support their lives in a parish. (19)
Financial difficulties involving the purchase of land not only added to the strain, it was an important factor that would lead to the decision by the Daughters of Wisdom to withdraw from Calgary after being in the city for less than a year. The approval by Church authorities for the Daughters of Wisdom to seek loans for their Calgary foundation did not guarantee that loans would be acquired in Canada. Banks and other institutions that might lend money had their own criteria for making their lending decisions. Not being incorporated as a society in Alberta until January 1912 was an impediment when dealing with Alberta banks. (20) The litany of financial difficulties facing the sisters in Calgary was formidable. The value of the Congregation's Red Deer property was not sufficient to be used as collateral for loans and their current convent and expansion expansions in Castor were costly. The Calgary Bank of Commerce wanted known Alberta guarantors. (21) Loans were sought from various religious congregations who were frequently over committed themselves, as was the case when their Mother House in France turned down a loan request for $10,000 in the spring of 1912. (22) Borrowing from the Diocese of St. Albert was not a possibility. Options and down payments to buy city lots were arranged with local land agents with money that was borrowed from St. Ann's Parish and the Tinchebray Fathers.
The employment of Sister Marie-Aimee as a teacher at St. Ann's School during the winter term of 1912 helped to augment the meagre incomes of her colleagues at St. Ann's where they received some income from parish related work. In April 1912, the Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Board declined Father Forget's request to pay the sisters' $70 per month to teach preschool children in East Calgary. (23) Also, a plan to build a convent with a boarding school did not get off the ground, thus eliminating a potential source of revenue.
The relationship between Father Forget and Sister Theophile, Calgary Superior of the Daughters of Wisdom, was tense during the sisters' short stay in Calgary. The conflict centred on the issues of personalities, language, and age. Mother Theophile noted in letters to Superior General Cecile de la Croix in France during 1912 that there were some personal difficulties between Father Forget and certain sisters and that in addition she wrote, "He is upset that the sisters do not speak good English; they hardly speak it at all." (24) Sister Marie-Agathe, Superior in Red Deer, wrote in a letter to Sister Cecile dated February 1,1912 stating that Sr. Theophile and Father Forget were in concurrence regarding the need for a boarding school, "However, the priest and Sister Theophile often ruffle one another." (25) Added to this personality conflict, both Father Voisin and Father Forget expressed their impression that a younger superior for the Calgary Congregation was needed to handle that difficult assignment. Sister Theophile was 55 at the tune, in poor health, frequently depressed over the progress of the Calgary foundation and the rude accommodations and attitudes of some people in the city. She commented, "Ici, on deteste les Francais!" Voisin did acknowledge that Father Forget's manners at times could be "brusque." (26)
In June 1912, Superior General Cecile's letters announced the withdrawal of the Daughters of Wisdom congregation from Calgary. The reasons were centred around their inability to finance the project and to provide the needed English-speaking sisters for Calgary. (27)
In late summer of 1912, Father Forget also decided called it quits with plans to leave Calgary at the end of September 1912. He may have made the decision in part as a consequence of the withdrawal of the Daughters of Wisdom from Calgary. Father Voisin informed Bishop Legal by letter on September 29, 1912 that Fr. Forget would return to France with the Rev. Father Rondet in early October after declining all other purposed postings in the Tinchebray mission district. (28) Later, he was to study in Ireland and then minister in Oregon, returning to Canada in 1917 as the pastor of the Irish parish of St Patricks in Vancouver until his death in 1964. (29) Father Ciron was appointed as pastor of St. Ann's Parish early in 1913 replacing Father Forget. (30)
Father Ciron began his pastorship of St. Ann's Parish answering to Bishop Legal until Bishop McNally arrived to take up the Sceptre of Calgary on July 28,1913. Father Ciron was faced with a number of lingering issues left by his predecessor that included the real estate deals of the Daughters of Wisdom and the financial entanglements of his Congregation with St. Ann's Parish. Bishop Legal had made plans and commitments to acquire the services of the Sisters of Charity of Notre Dame d'Evron serving in Trochu to teach at St. Ann's Separate School in Calgary when the Daughters of Wisdom withdrew in 1912. The Population growth, rail development by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, and the recently constructed separate school soon led Father Ciron and his parish council to relocate the three-year-old church and to construct a presbytery for the priest on 21st Avenue SE immediately west of the separate school located on the corner of 9th Street SE and 21st Avenue SE in 1913. (31) Three Catholic institutional buildings of St. Ann's Parish were lined up in a row adjacent to each other with a fourth one in the planning stages. The Sisters of Charity of Notre Dame d'Evron had purchased four lots near the school from the parish intending to build a convent in anticipation of teaching roles at St. Ann's School offered by the Archbishop in the summer of 1912 prior to the division. (32)
In the summer of 1913, Father Voisin while attending the triannual Tinchebray General Chapter meeting in France asked to be relieved of his position as Alberta Provincial of his Congregation due to health reasons. Father Pierre Bazin (PSM) was elected in his place as Provincial at the same assembly. (33) The outspoken Reverend Father Bazin would take over for the next three years directing the Tinchebray Fathers from St. Ann of the Prairies' Presbytery in Trochu just north of the diocesan division line. The two veteran missionaries, Fathers Bazin and Voisin, returned to Alberta in the fall of 1913 to assume their readjusted role.
Early in the administration of St. Ann's Parish by Father Ciron, he and his parish council made some important decisions that would increase the existing debt of the parish. St. Ann's church was to be moved and a presbytery was to be built on parish lots purchased near the new separate school in the Mills subdivision. (34) They encouraged the Sisters of Charity to build a convent near the new school as well. (35) Archbishop Legal reported St. Ann's debt on July 31, 1913 at the bank to be $11,750 but he added that there was a credit of $5,100 charged to the Trochu Sisters for lots purchased from the parish. (36) Bishop McNally would make demands on Fr. Ciron to produce the parish account books and other documentation for his inspection in 1914 so that he could understand the origins of the debts incurred during the administration of the parish by the Tinchebray Fathers. (37) The debt was complicated by the expanding web of loans and land deals for a between St. Ann's Parish, the Tinchebray Fathers, and the sisters in the attempt to facilitate the building of a convent in the parish. In addition to the purchase of lots from the parish, the Sisters of Charity had made a financial commitment to help pay for the twenty-block relocation cost of St. Ann's Church offering up to $6,000 expecting to establishing a convent near St. Ann's Separate School to assume promised teaching positions. (38) The convent was never built and the offer of employment was never honoured.
Bishop McNally wasted no time after his arrival in Calgary to initiate changes that he characterized as transitioning from the francophone "... dead and useless past" to a new progressive regime under an English-speaking clergy. (39) He wanted the predominantly English-speaking laity of his diocese served by an English-speaking clergy and teachers from top to bottom in short order. The Bishop had a keen interest in education and was noted for regularly attending meetings of the Calgary Catholic Separate School Board. (40) The Board became an ally to the Bishop in school matters.
By the end of 1913, McNally had recruited nine Anglophone secular priests to his jurisdiction from the Maritimes, Ontario, United States, Ireland, and England. (41) In fact, Father Arthur J. Hetherington, the Bishop's Secretary, the first secular priest recruited for Calgary by Bishop McNally was on loan to the Diocese of Calgary by Archbishop Francis Bourne of Westminster, England. (42) Among the other Anglophone clerics recruited by Bishop McNally was Father A. Bernard Macdonald, Doctor of Divinity. He was a friend of the Bishop hailing from Prince Edward Island and had been a classmate of McNally in Rome. Rev. Dr. Macdonald who had taught at St. Dunstan's College in P.E.I, was appointed as Superintendent of the Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Board in 1915, on the recommendations of Bishop McNally, played an important part in the removal of the Oblates from Calgary's Sacred Heart Parish. (43) It is apparent and quite natural that the new bishop assigned parishes and positions to individuals whom he trusted and who reflected their patron's views.
In early 1914, the Tinchebray Mission's role in the Diocese of Calgary was reduced. The Bishop's secretary, Father Hetherington, sent Father Bazin a letter dated March 25, 1914 thanking the Congregation for their service in the northeast portion of the Diocese of Calgary that had been developed by the Tinchebray Fathers over the years. The bishop decided to assign these missions to diocesan priests from the Diocese of Calgary in the place of the Tinchebray Fathers who had served the missions from Trochu situated in the territory of the Archdiocese of Edmonton. (44) The Tinchebray Fathers retained Diocese of Calgary parishes of St. Ann in Calgary and St. Agnes in Carstairs.
Meanwhile in Calgary, Father Ciron's intentions of having the Sisters of Charity take the place of the Daughters of Wisdom at St. Ann's Separate School were cut short by decisions of the Calgary Separate School Board. An indication of things to come, the Board on September 5, 1913 shortly after the arrival of Bishop McNally declined to approve Fr. Ciron's request to establish a kindergarten in East Calgary. (45) In addition, the Separate Board early in 1914 made its position clear regarding the employment of the Sisters of Charity from Trochu in its schools. A resolution of the Board, in step with the new bishop, diminished the hopes of the sisters of establishing a new convent in St. Ann's Parish was passed by the Board at its January 10,1914 meeting.
The resolution read:
... Resolved that it is the sense of this Board, in meeting assembled that they disapprove of the engaging as teachers, the Sisters of different Orders, as they deem this policy to be for the best interest of the Separate Schools. And, inasmuch as the Board had been advised that it is the intention of a Certain Order of Nuns to come into St. Ann's Parish to become members of the Teaching staff of the Calgary Separate schools, that the Chairman be delegated to interview Father Ciron, and make known the actions of the Board in this regard... (46)
While the resolution did not name the Sisters of Charity specifically, they were the only congregation at the time who were expending considerable resources to establish themselves in St. Ann's Parish after having been invited by its priest and church council. (47) Archbishop Legal had stated in his 1913 "Notes about Parishes and Missions in the New Diocese of Calgary" to Bishop McNally that the Sisters of Charity had already purchased land from the Parish of St. Ann because they were to teach La its separate school. (48)
After John Burns, Separate Board chairman, met with Father Ciron on March 12*, he submitted a report to a special meeting of the Board held on March 18, 1914, specifically regarding the decision not to hire French mans from Trochu as teachers for Calgary Separate Schools. (49) The Board reaffirmed and elaborated on the resolution of January 10th instructing its secretary - treasurer, Mr. J. Connolly, to send a letter to Father Ciron explaining their position. His letter echoed the educational philosophy of Bishop McNally when he emphasized the need of Catholic schools to maintain the highest standards in the realm of the secular component of education so that their graduates were not handicapped when competing with public school graduates. He reiterated the Board's view that an order of French nuns would not be able achieve that goal in Calgary. Mr. Connolly's letter of March 20th to Father Ciron concluded:
The Board feels, that they would not be measuring up the full duties of their office, if they hired as teachers, the Sisters above referred to. They do not believe that a body of French teaching Nuns, can,
achieve the measure of success in the schools, that are required. They believe also that the best interest of the various schools, throughout the city, would not be served by hiring a different order of Nuns to teach in them. (50)
Bishop McNally who had a keen interest in the success of Catholic education in his diocese with the Board seemingly taking their ques from the bishop who did not believe "a body of French teaching Nuns" was up to the challenge. (51)
Bishop McNally began to more firmly oppose the Sisters of Charity's plans for establishing a convent in St. Ann's Parish despite previous arrangements. Rev. Father Hippolyte Leduc (OMI), declared that the sisters had written and verbal consent of Bishop Legal prior to the division of the diocese in 1912 for their plans to teach in St. Ann's Separate School and to build a convent in the parish. The written permission according to Leduc, Archdiocesan Procurator, was given to the Sisters of Charity via Legal's letter to the Congregation's superior general in France on Dec. 24, 1912 before division of diocese recommending that they purchase land in Calgary for their institutions. (52) Father Leduc, in a 1914 letter, further confirmed that Bishop McNally had given verbal permission for the project when he and Mother Recton, superior from Trochu, visited His Lordship at his residence in Calgary in the fall of 1913. (53) Archbishop Legal in his "Notes about Parishes..." dated July 31, 1913 had previously informed Bishop McNally, "This community of the Sisters of Charity of Evron (France) had bought these four lots, and some other property, and has accepted to take charge of the separate school, erected said parish of St. Ann." (54)
Mother Provincial Recton, submitted a written request to establish a convent in St. Ann's Parish, Calgary on November 28,1913 to Bishop McNally before departing for France to attend the Congregation's upcoming chapter meeting. She wrote under the impression that the Constitution of the Sisters required the written permission of the current diocesan authority, McNally, to proceed with establishing their convent in Calgary. (55) Upon her return to Alberta she wrote McNally a letter dated April 7, 1914 informing him that the sisters had arranged the financing for the Calgary project in France and that construction of the convent would begin in about two weeks. Father Hetherington responded by letter on April 16, 1914 expressing surprise with her announcement. He informed Mother Provincial that since the bishop had become more aware of conditions in Calgary after his arrival the previous summer, he had come to realize that there was not much scope for the sisters' activities in the city. Bishop McNally, as a consequence, "... expects that...you will abstain from making any further arrangements for opening a new foundation in Calgary, until such time as he will feel justified in granting his written authorization." (56) Father Hetherington's letter following on the heels of earlier school Board decisions regarding the prohibition on hiring French nuns in Calgary along with the diocesan take over the northeast missions previously administered by Tinchebray Fathers revealed an emerging pattern. The reduction of the role of francophone religious in the Diocese of Calgary was underway.
After receiving Archbishop Legal's "Notes about Parishes..." in 1913, Bishop McNally requested various documents and information thereafter from Fathers Bazin and Fr. Ciron with reference to the presence of the Tinchebray Fathers in the Diocese of Calgary. Rev. Father Bazin met with the Bishop in Calgary on several occasions regarding the missions' finances in the diocese. Father Bazin was also interviewed by representatives from St. Ann's Parish regarding finances and activities at the parish church. Father Ciron corresponded and met with McNally over the course of his pastorship until being replaced by Father Paul Chauvin (PSM) in 1915. Chauvin also provided a parish financial report in 1916 as a part of his administrative responsibilities. (57) His Lordship, the bishop, was clearly carrying out his responsibility as the Ordinary of the Diocese of Calgary but in hindsight it is apparent that he was also gathering information that would help to justify his intended replacement the Tinchebray Fathers from his domain with appointees more to his liking.
One of the concerns that Bishop McNally had with St. Ann's Parish was its high debt. Archbishop Legal reported the debt at the transfer to be $11,750 and by 1916, according to Father Hetherington based on Fr. Chauvin's 1915 parish report, had mushroomed to $21,678.00 plus $2,000 in unsettled claims. Rev. Hetherington noted that the debt was nearly three time that of Sacred Heart Parish, a comparable parish, wondering how on earth the parish was able to manage this disproportional debt in such a short tune. (58) Rev. Father Bazin was later asked to shine some light on the reasons for such debt by representatives of St. Ann's Parish, Misters William King and P. V. Bougard, when they interviewed him at St. Ann's rectory in Calgary on January 31, 1916. They were concerned, among other issues about a $6000 liability associated with the Sisters of Charity. Father Bazhi explained:
That he and Mother Superior came to Calgary and met the Bishop. The sisters mentioned their desire to locate in Calgary and His Lordship said that he would be pleased to welcome them, as their property was near the (relocated) school and it would be inconvenient for them to go to church where the church was then located, they being a rich order offered to defray the expense of the removal of the church to its present site to the extent of Six Thousand Dollars ($6,000). The Mother Superior went to France after this interview and arranged for the sisters to come out and after coming back from this after making all arrangements the Bishop then repudiated his verbal arrangement and refused to have the sisters come. (Written by Mr. Burgard - Feb 2nd, 1916) "When questioned as to why the church was moved we were informed that the sisters promised Six Thousand Dollars for part of the expense of moving the church and, as they did not come it would be unfair to expect them to pay that amount" (Written by Mr. William King). (59)
The interview would have been available for the Bishop's review. He had scrutinized the financial affairs of the St Ann's during the tenure of Fr. Ciron (1913-1915) and appears to have found it wanting. The perception promoted by Bishop McNally that the Tinchebray Fathers had mismanaged the fiscal affairs of the parish was used against the Congregation during 1916m Rome and was repeated long after their departure from Calgary. The booklet, History of St. Ann's Parish Calgary, Alberta published by the parish in 1965 devoted a few pages its priestly founders. A passage from the history observed the following:
Evidently Priest from France, unfamiliar with the language and with Canadian financial ways found parish administration too difficult, so on July 1916, on its own initiative, the Community of Priests of St. Mary of Tinchebray asked the Holy See to be released of the parish. The Community left St. Ann's on November 30, 1916. (60) Whether or not the opinions expressed in the history booklet are supportable, it is without a doubt that the relentless pressure and scrutiny exerted on Father Ciron led to the young priest's departure from the Diocese of Calgary. Father Bazin found it necessary to find a replacement for nun in 1915 from the few Tinchebray Priests serving in Alberta. The exhausted Father Ciron was to be replaced by Father Chauvin whose earlier temporary posting to St. Ann was to become permanent. (61) Father Chauvin seemed none too eager to be permanently assigned to the Calgary crucible and regretted having to leave the Archdiocese of Edmonton that was administered under the "paternally sound judgment" of Mgr. Legal. (62)
The fate of the Tinchebray Fathers during then- brief interlude in the Diocese of Calgary was closely linked to that of the long serving Oblates and other francophone congregations serving under the west's first English-speaking bishop. The francophone clergy of the Diocese of Calgary that was increasingly finding their presence in the diocese threatened by the administrative actions of Bishop McNally and his allies began to seek redress within the official apparatus of the Church. Then- grievances constituted a long list. Their complaints includes the removal of the Tinchebray Fathers from northeastern missions of the Diocese of Calgary, the Calgary Separate Board's refusal to hire the Sisters of Charity as teachers, the Bishop's refusal to admit the same Sisters of Charity to St. Ann's Parish, non-renewal of teaching contracts of two francophone Ursuline nuns at St. Mary's School, orders of removable of the Oblates from their parishes in Calgary and Lethbridge as well as action against the francophone Missionary Fathers of the Sacred Heart in Medicine Hat. (63) The Oblate Fathers began their quest for redress through communications with the Apostolic Delegate in Ottawa, Archbishop Stagni, and eventually took their case to Rome.
The Tinchebray Fathers found then-hold on Calgary and Carstairs parishes increasing under the scrutiny of Bishop McNally and they were as well to become embroiled in an expanding litigation in Rome centered on the actions of Calgary's new bishop. The Sisters of Charity also became involved in the proceeding seeking redress for then-claimed financial losses. Bishop McNally took counteraction against the Francophone religious communities of Calgary defending his administration in Rome during 1916 that included a report regarding the Tinchebray Fathers in his Diocese. Father Hetherington had been instructed to gather documented statements in 1916 on the activities of the "Trochu-ites" and "Bazounites" to send certified copies in Italian to him for his dossier in preparation for his report to the Vatican. (64) He referred to the Archdiocese of Edmonton as the "hotbed of the enemy." (65)
The Tinchebray Fathers did not achieve their goal to remain in the Diocese of Calgary. Bishop McNally delivered a highly critical report to the Vatican on the tenure of the Tinchebray Fathers during his episcopate in Calgary. This report was described by the Very Reverend Father A. Guibert, Superior General of the Tinchebray Fathers, in a letter to Archbishop Legal as "virtually an indictment" against their administration of St. Ann's Parish. Rev Father Rondet noted that His Eminence the Cardinal Prefect of the Consistory, De Lai, advised against responding to the Bishop's report. The Tinchebray Fathers by July 1916 reached the painful realization that they would not prevail in their challenge against Bishop McNally. They decided to make a sacrifice for peace by voluntarily removing themselves from St. Ann's Parish--a parish that had been assigned to them in tituloperetuo by Rome at he request of Bishop Legal. (66)
On July 22,1916, Father Rondet delivered an agreed upon signed document to the Prefect of the Consistory stating their intention to withdraw from the Diocese of Calgary along with their observations, reasons and conditions. Rondet noted that even though reliable testimony certified that the current pastor of St. Ann's Parish, Father Chauvin, had been shown to do good while in the parish, Bishop McNally wanted him replaced by an Anglophone priest. The Tinchebray Fathers did not have an Anglophone priest to take over Chauvin's position. (67) The reasons cited for then- withdrawal included the opposition of the bishop and the near impossibility of the Tinchebray Fathers to do good work in the City of Calgary now entirely made up of an English-speaking secular clergy. If the Congregation were to insist on a counter investigation of the bishop's serious allegations, it would simply not be in the interest of peace and the general good of the parish. In addition, the Congregation was considering its personnel requirements for future missions in the Canadian West and perhaps Eastern Canada. (68) The document summed up their reasons for the request to withdraw in the following paragraph:
For all these reasons, to avoid painful conflicts in the interest of the greater good and the only concern of serving the Church above all decide, although it costs much, to renounce the attribution of "titulo perpetuo" that the Holy See gave the parish of St. Anne in Calgary to the Congregation of the Priests of Ste. Marie under the terms and conditions proposed by the Very Reverend Attorney General (Rondet) and already approved by your Eminence. (69)
Father Rondet put the best face possible on their imminent retreat back to the safety of the francophone administered Archdiocese of Edmonton. However, Rev. Father Guibert subsequently advised Archbishop Legal that the Tinchebray Mission was considering establishing a foundation in Eastern Canada to secure their future in Canada. (70) Father Voisin was again made provincial of his Congregation again in the summer of 1916 and had to deal with the Congregation withdrawal from the Diocese of Calgary.
The withdrawal was made conditional on provisions clearly intended to protect the reputation and the financial interest of their Congregation. These clauses included recognition that their withdrawal was voluntary and the attachment of a letter from Bishop McNally to the Report of the Bishop in the Archives of the Sacred Congregation attesting to the good works by the Fathers before their departure. They were to have the necessary tune to make their departure and that the debts contracted for the parish by the Fathers remained with the parish. (71)
His Lordship, Bishop McNally did not mince words when he responded on November 7 to Father Provincial Voisin's November 3, 1916, announcement of withdrawal from the Diocese of Calgary. The Bishop wrote:
"While regretting exceedingly the causes which have led up to this decision on the part of your community, I cannot truthfully say, ... that I now regret the decision you announce... I wish to emphasize here the fact that the Bishop of Calgary in no way merit the vilification and denunciation he has so frequently received from the likes of your immediate predecessor as Provincial and from those of the father at present in charge at St. Anne's, and also indeed from the one at Carstairs, in all three of which cases I hold abundant documentary evidence. (72) The parishioners of St. Ann's were largely supportive of the Bishop's position for the most part as shown in some of the signed statements from Calgary parishioners contained in the bishop's dossier. (73)
The Tinchebray Fathers tenure in Calgary from 1910 to 1916 at the invitation of Bishop Legal who intended to reinforce the presence of French regular clergy in Calgary did not succeed. Even though the missionaries had
the full support of Archbishop Legal throughout their tenure in Calgary other factors intruded to make the project unworkable. These elements included complicated finances, the inability to retain the Daughters of Wisdom as teachers at St. Ann's Separate School, and Father Forget's difficult personality and poor command of English. Given tune, these problems could have been resolved if they had supportive bishops throughout their six-year sojourn in St. Ann's Parish.
The arrival of Anglophone Bishop McNally who had a different vision for the Diocese of Calgary than did Legal and the Tinchebray Fathers further reduced the effectiveness of their work at St. Ann's. McNally certainly did not support the continuation of a ministry of regular French priests in the Anglophone city. From July 28, 1913 to the departure of the Tinchebray Fathers from Calgary in November of 1916, McNally took steps to remove the missionaries from his diocese along with the indirect support of the Calgary Separate School Board. The Board refused to accept the francophone Sisters of Charity of Notre Dame d'Evron as teachers for the separate schools and Bishop McNally revoked his permission for the sisters to build a convent in Calgary. The Sacred Congregation in Rome ruled in favor of the Bishop of Calgary regarding litigation against the Bishop brought by the Oblates, Tinchebray Fathers and the Sisters of Charity in 1916 and thereby reinforcing his program of Anglicization.
The attempt by Legal to give the Tinchebray Fathers a "foot on the ground" in Calgary during 1910 supporting a continued French regular clerical presence failed. The Tinchebray Fathers, bruised by their Calgary experience, retreated north to the safety of the Archdiocese of Edmonton in late 1916.
(1) ARCAE 7.3.122, Legal to Voisin, 20 avril 1910.
(2) ARCAE Legal letter book: Legal a Stagni [Translation by A. Lemire, Nov 1986] 5 decembre 1911, 468.
(3) ARCAE 7.3.122, Legal to Voisin, 20 avril 1910.
(4) McGowan, The Waning of the Green, 245.
(5) Found in (Robert Choquette, Language and Religion: A History of English-French Conflict in Ontario. (Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 1975). 91.
(6) McGowan, The Waning of the Green, 245.
(7) PAA, OMI, 73.248 71.220/2135, History of St. Ann's Parish, 1965, 3.
(8) DCA 999003301, Extract "Parishes and Missions," Legal 16 Jan. 1913, 6.
(9) DCA, Rapport Annuel: Paroisse ou Mission de Ste Anne, Calgary 1910 & 1911.
(10) PAA OMI, 73.248 71.220/2135, History of St. Ann's Parish, 1965, 3. KB: Author's photo 2018. Haskins Block today is occupied by The Collectors' Gallery of Art.
(11) ARCAE 7.3.122, Legal to Voisin, 20, avril 1910.
(12) PAA OMI, 73.248 71.220/2135, History of St. Ann's Parish, 1965, 5.
(13) ARCAE 7.3.122. Voisin to Legal, 6 juin 1910.
(14) PAA OMI 73.248 71.220/2135, History of St. Ann's Parish, 1965, 5.
(15) Ibid. 1.
(16) ARCAE 7.3.122, Voisin to Legal, 1 juin 1912. NB: Forget's assistance from 1910 to 1912 were Fathers Anciaux, Renut and Ciron.
(17) Re, The Daughters of Wisdom, 37.
(18) N.B. The Superior General of The Society of St. Mary had a historical and institutional relationship with the Daughters of Wisdom. Both were members of the Montfortian Family founded by de Montfort.
(19) "Red Deer Convent: Getting Ready for Pupils, Teachers for English and French, The Alberta Advocate, 28 Aug. 1908, 1.
(20) Re, The Daughters of Wisdom, 38.
(21) Ibid. 36.
(22) Ibid. 43.
(23) Calgary Catholic Separate School Board (CCSSB) -1912-17, 15 April 1912, 1.
(24) Found in Re, The Daughters of Wisdom, 40.
(27) Ibid., 45.
(28) ARCAE 7.3.122, Voisin to Legal, 29 septembre 1912.
(29) ARCAE priests' biographies, Forget, Louis Stanislaus & Sr. Rhonda Brown, Saint Patrick Parish: A Century of Faith in the Heart of Mount Pleasant, Vancouver, SFU Document Solutions, 2010,22-23.
(30) ARCAE, Priests' Biographies, Ciron, Eugene Alphonse Marie, PSM.
(31) Adapted by author from Glenbow G3504, C151, 1912, G796, Harrison & Ponton's 1911-1912 Map of the City of Calgary.
(32) DCA 993021621, H. Leduc to McNally, 3 May 1914.
(33) RCAE7.3.I22, Voisin (Conde sur Noireau, France) to Legal, 13 aout 1913.
(34) DCA 20081, Ciron to Legal, 7 juin 1913. & PAA 73.248 71.220/2135, History of Si. Ann's Parish, Calgary, 1965, 8-9.
(35) DCA 993022301, "Notes about Parishes and Missions in the New Diocese of Calgary", Legal to McNally 31 July 1913, 6.
(37) PAA PR1971.220, Item 2134 Bishop's Sec (A. H.) to Ciron (copy), 30 May 1914.
(38) PAA PR 1971.220 (St Ann File), Signed Statements: A. J. Barry & Patrick Foley. 2 Feb. 1916.
(39) DCA 993022301 (McNally Letter File), McNally (New York) to Hetherington, 18 January 1916.
(40) Ross, "Bishop J. T. McNally and the Anglicization of the Diocese of Calgary: 1913-1915," 22.
(41) M. B. Venini Byrne, From the Buffalo to the Cross: A History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary (Calgary: Calgary Archives and Historical Publishers, 1973). 115.
(42) Ross, "Bishop J. T. McNally and the Anglicization of the Diocese of Calgary: 1913-1915," 95.
(44) PAAPR 1971.220, Item 2134, Bishop's Secretary to Bazin, (COPY), 25 Mar 1914.
(45) CCSSB: minutes 1912-17, 5 July 1913, 61.
(46) CCSSB: minutes 1912-17, 10 Jan 1914, 83-85.
(47) DCA 20081301, Ciron to Legal, juin 1913.
(48) DCA 993022301, (McNally Letter File) [Eng. Trans. A. Lemire] "Notes about Parishes and Missions in the New Diocese of Calgary," Legal to McNally, 31 juillet 1913, 6.
(49) DCA 993040406 (Sisters of Charity N.D. d'Evron, St Ann's Calgary), Connolly to Ciron, [copy] 20 Mar. 1914.
(52) DCA 993021621, H. Leduc to McNally, 3 May 1914.
(53) DCA 993021621, H. Leduc to McNally, 3 May 1914.
(54) DCA 999003301, "Notes about Parishes...," Legal 31 July. 1913, 6.
(55) DCA 993040406 (Sisters of Charity N.D. d'Evron, St Ann's Calgary), Recton to McNally, 28 novembre 1913.
(56) DCA 993040406, Hetherington to Mother Provincial, 16 April 1914.
(57) DCA 200801301 (St. Ann's Calgary), Bazin to Legal, 16 avril 1915.
(58) DCA 993022301 (McNally Letter File), Hetherington (Calgary) to McNally (Rome) 6 April 1916.
(59) PAA PR1971. 220 (St Ann File), Signed Statements: A. J. Barry & Patrick Foley. 2 Feb. 1916.
(60) PAA 73.248, History of St. Ann's Parish Calgary, 1965. 9.
(62) DCA 200801301, Chauvin to Legal, 9 juin 1915.
(64) DCA, 993022301, Hetherington (Calgary) to McNally (Rome), 4 April 1916.
(65) DCA, 993022301, McNally (Rome) to Hetherington (Calgary), 22 March 1916.
(66) RDDA MG462 (Reverend Fathers of Saint Mary of Tinchebray) Guibert [France] to Monseigneur (Legal), 19 aout 1916.
(67) PAA PR 1971. 220, Item 2134, H. Rondet (Rome) to Sacra Congregatio Consistorialis (Rome), 22 juillet 1916.
(70) RDDA MG462 (Reverend Fathers of Saint Mary of Tinchebray) Guibert [France] to Monseigneur (Legal), 19 aout 1916.
(72) PAA PR1971. 220, Item 2134, McNally (Calgary) to Voisin (Red Deer), 7 November, 1916.
(73) PAA PR1971.220 (St Ann File) Barry to McNally (Calgary) 6 January 1916. & PAA PR 1971.220, Item 2134 Sweeney to McNally, 23 Aug. 1916.
Byrne, Buffalo to the Cross, 117-119.
by Henry Wostenberg
Henry Wostenberg is a retired Red Deer Separate School teacher. He is currently editing a manuscript regarding the Tinchbray Mission to central Alberta from 1904 to 1924.
BREDIN AND CORNWALL
[This notice appeared in the March 23, 1906, edition of the Edmonton Bulletin.]
The enterprising firm of Bredin & Cornwall, whose success has been one of the business features of Northern Alberta, was established in 1898 by its present head, W.F. Bredin. In 1901, J.H. Cornwall became a member as the dimensions of the business increased, and in 1903 F.C. Roberts became the junior member.
Mr. Bredin was born in Woodland, Stormont County in the province of Ontario. After leaving his native place, Mr. Bredin, then a young man, first went to the Western States where he lived the life of the frontier, was a driver of the stage from Miles City to Bismarck until 1882 when he travelled north through what is now Alberta to Edmonton. He was for several years with the William MacDonald Company at Bear's Hill in Alberta. Beginning business as a fur trader on his own account, he went north to the Mackenzie river, where he wintered at the time of the first rush to the Klondike, whose rich gold fields were unknown, when he had left civilization behind. He wintered in the same latitude as the Klondike within comparatively close touch of the gold fields. That was one of the few times that Mr. Bredin had missed a trading opportunity, for his supplies could have been disposed of at almost fabulous amounts.
Mr. Bedin is now the member elect for Athabasca in the Alberta Legislature and through his personal knowledge of the district and representing the largest constituency in the Dominion of Canada, will be of great value to any legislation affecting a country almost entirely undeveloped and one that will be in the near future be of importance in Western settlement. Mr. Bredin enjoys the unique distinction or being the only member elected by acclimation to the Alberta Legislative Assembly.
J.K. Cornwall is a native of Brantford, Ontario, and came West in 1898. H.C. Roberts, the third member of the firm, came from London, England, about 18 years ago and began his western life as a farmer, then became a miner, then went to the United States where he became an expert in handling air compressors and air drills and was the first man to run air drill in the Canadian West.
The headquarters are at Lesser Slave Lake and the firm has posts or outposts at Grande Prairie, Spirit River, St. John's, Peace River Crossing, Battle River, Wolverine Point, Red River, Hay River, Hudson's Hope, and White Fish Lake. The firm has contracts from the Dominion Government for the transportation of supplying to the outlying posts of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and to the engineering and surveying camps of the Government service.
An idea of the business conducted by Messrs. Bredin & Cornwall may be understood when it is known that the volume of business during the last year was $125,000.