River Bourgeois History

    L’Ardoise from days gone by

    Part 10:

    Ephrem Boudreau was born in River Bourgeois in 1905. After his classical studies, he spent three years at agricultural school. Here he earned bachelors’ degrees in arts and one in agricultural science. In addition, he acquired a diploma in Social Sciences from l’Universite de Laval in 1935.

    He wrote Riviere Bourgeois from which this history is taken and translated.

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    CONTINUATION OF THE SECTION ON THE PARISH

    (Request for a priest)

    As this request implies, in addition to the parish of Arichat, Fr. Gaulin would be responsible for the following: L’Ardoise, River Bourgeois, D’Escousse, Grand-Digue (probably a mission because there never had been a parish here).

    Four years later, 1825, the church wardens of River Bourgeois and L’Ardoise addressed a request to Monsignor Plessis dated January 15, 1825. They regretted the recall of their missionaries, who had been so lately assigned, for reasons unknown to them. They prayed that the Monsignor would “return their priest.” Here are a few excerpts from their request:

    “Alas, Monsignor, can there be a greater loss; our priest and his support in these difficult times when morals are so depraved and our ignorance exposes us to such great dangers and our lack of experience leads us from the path of virtue? What is to become of our people surrounded by traps and roaring lions that encircle us and try to surprise us?…

    It is true, Monsignor, that the Rev. Fr. Hudon took charge of our parish…

    If the tithe will not suffice, we will do everything in our power to provide for whatever is necessary so that he will not have to go anywhere unless charity and duty compel him to…

    Monsignor, in your greatness we are your faithful subjects and children

    Jean Landry, Juste Maubourquet

    Jean Bourque, Célestin Maubourquet

    Jean Boucher, Omer Maubourquet

    Jean Landry, Silvain Samson

    River Bourgeois L’Ardoise

    Church Wardens Church Wardens

    Written at L’Ardoise the fifteenth day of January 1825”

    In 1825 Fr. McKeagney left L’Ardoise because he was assigned to a new mission in Sydney. Consequently, the situation in L’Ardoise reverted to what it had been before the establishment of a parish there. Fr. Hudon of Arichat would once more be responsible for the mission at L’Ardoise, an area extending as far as River Bourgeois. The situation returned to normal when Fr. Vincent de Paul, a Trappist monk, was installed at L’Ardoise in place of Fr. McKeagney where he remained until 1826. From that time on there were priests at L’Ardoise without interruption.

    Fr. Julien Courtaud was named priest at L’Ardoise in 1841 and remained there for twenty-eight years until his death in 1869. The mission at River Bourgeois was under his jurisdiction. He adopted a system of alternating services between L’Ardoise and River Bourgeois: two Sundays at L’Ardoise and one Sunday at River Bourgeois. His last entry for the latter parish is dated November 24, 1868.

    If Fr. Courtaud was, in practice, priest at L’Ardoise and River Bourgeois, this did not mean other priests could not, on occasion, minister to the latter parish. So it was that Fr. Zéphirin Lévêque, vicar at Arichat for six months, 1841-1842, would occasionally visit D’Escousse and River Bourgeois. Entries in the register for the latter extend from September 19, 1841 to May 21, 1842.

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    Don Boudrot is a retired English teacher, currently an author and historian living on Isle Madame.