Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 28: Father Albert Lacombe Day

Memorial Card
Memorial Card issued for the 50th Anniversary of the ordination of Father A. Lacombe, omi, 1899.
Photo: Missionary Oblates, Grandin Collection at the Provincial Archives of Alberta, OB4336A
Unveiling of the Father Lacombe Statue
Unveiling of the Father Lacombe statue, 1929.
Photo: Missionary Oblates, Grandin Collection at the Provincial Archives of Alberta, OB11031
Father Lacombe with Indian chiefs
Father Lacombe with Indian chiefs at Earnscliffe–the Ottawa home of Sir John A. Macdonald.
Photo: Provincial Archives of Alberta, P200

Material and Text Source Government of Alberta:

"Father Albert Lacombe (1827-1916) was a builder of bridges – between places, between people, between periods of history. Born in 1827 in Québec, Lacombe spent most of his life traveling throughout the vast lands of western Canada and negotiating relations between First Nations, Métis, and Euro-Canadians. Lacombe's accomplishments are staggering. He established First Nation missions, served numerous Roman Catholic parishes, and founded new settlements. He mastered several First Nation languages and published dictionaries and prayer books in these dialects. During the upheavals of the 1880s, Father Lacombe was a peacemaker, resolving disputes between Aboriginals and the federal government and Canadian Pacific Railway. He established the Lacombe Home in Midnapore and recruited the Sisters of Providence to administer care for the sick, the poor, and the aged at the site. Lacombe coordinated the construction of bridges and grist mills, of schools and churches. He was one of the most influential figures in shaping the transition of western Canada from a sparsely populated territory inhabited almost exclusively by Aboriginals and fur traders to a land defined by survey lines and railway tracks and increasingly populated by Euro-Canadian settlers.

Although Lacombe's time as resident Oblate in St. Albert was short – he left in 1865 to minister to the nomadic Cree and Blackfoot – his impact was profound. In addition to selecting the site for the mission and erecting its first building, Lacombe also recruited settlers, coordinated the construction of one of the first bridges in western Canada, and organized the first supply chain of carts from Red River to Edmonton. His indefatigable spirit and total dedication to the mission in its early years ensured its future."

For more information about the Father Lacombe Chapel visit: