Lepers at the lazaretto
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Father Marius Bonin of the Pères Blancs d' Afrique arrived at the lazaretto as a patient on March 22nd, 1950.

Excerpt from the Chronicles of the RHSJ: "The trial is painful and long; however, we hope that he will find comfort and aid under our roof to one day return to his missionary work".

He was transferred to Lyon in France on March 26th, 1952. He died of lung cancer in his homeland in 1969.


Cournoyer, Donat
Indiana, Perou


Donat Cournoyer, o.f.m.

Donat was born in St. Marcel, September 5th, 1916. He joined the Franciscans in 1936 and was ordained as a priest in 1944. He made his way to the Peruvian Amazon three years later to establish the apostolic prefecture of Saint Joseph de l'Amazonie in the far reaches of Peru's jungle near the borders of Brazil. He initiated the construction of a village, Indiana, where more than 1500 people reside today. He remembers: "We had to do it all from A to Z. I'd experiment and loved it. Clearing the land, drawing plans, building...". He built among others things, a chapel, a clinic, a shelter to welcome the healthy children of parents striken with leprosy, and a workshop to repair boat engines.Father Cournoyer began to feel the first symptoms of leprosy in 1954. This is confirmed during a stay in Canada in 1956. Thus began a 40 months quarantine at Canada's only lazaretto in Tracadie, New Brunswick.
He took advantage of this time to learn the violin, electronics and short wave radio.

He was released and declared cured in May, 1960. He returned to Indiana in October where he would put to use what he learned during his years of immobility. He founded a school whose teachings were broadcasted via radio. Afterwards, he was named to San Pablo, a village of lepers 300 km from Indiana. His last mission would be in Peru at Tingo Maria in the country's centre and in Lima as superior at the Fanciscans' monastery.
He would also be in close contact with the terrorists of the "Enlightened Path" (Sentier lumineux), a maoist inspired movement that was spreading fear throughout the country. After 51 years of service, he returned to Canada and remains in contact with his friends via internet.


Donat Cournoyer and his mother
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Father Donat Cournoyer with his mother. This photo was taken in the garden of the congregation during his stay at the lazaretto.

"I had built a decorative well with stones taken from the seashore."


A cured leper
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Maurice, a cured victim of leprosy

Maurice was admitted to the lazaretto at the age of 19, as well as his 9 year-old sister, Judith, in 1878. Their father died at the age of 41 in 1876, as did his 16 year-old son. Their mother came to work at the lazaretto at hat time.

Maurice was released after 20 years and considered cured. We can see on the photo that his hands had been affected by the disease. He married several years later and had 4 healthy children. He lived to the age of 80.

His sister, Judith, stayed at the lazaretto for 10 years and was also released. She then married and had a healthy family.


Mother suffering from leprosy with her newborn
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Itinerary of a sick lady treated in Tracadie, New Brunswick

A couple arrived in Canada after having lived in Brazil for a few years.
The wife was diagnosed with Hansen's disease while she was pregnant. She was admitted to the lazaretto in Tracadie in November, 1956.

The baby was born in perfect health in May, 1957. The father came for his little 3 month-old daughter. The mother returned to her family on December 24th, 1959.

She is still living in Canada, as is her daughter.