Father François Xavier S. Lafrance, first resident pastor of Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


François Xavier Stanislas Lafrance, 1814-1867

Son of Marie Emilie Angélique Mcdonnell and Louis Charles Lafrance, François Xavier Stanislas de Kotska Héanview Lafrance was born in Quebec on February 26th, 1814. He was named pastor at Tracadie a year after he was ordained as a priest in 1841. Father Lafrance succeeded in getting the lepers transferred to Tracadie after much effort in July of 1849.

He founded Tracadie's first school in 1843. In Memramcook, he later established the foundations of the Collège Saint Joseph which would become the Université de Moncton in 1963.

Father Lafrance was transferred to Memramcook in 1852. The priest from that parish, Ferdinand Gauvreau, replaced him in Tracadie.

Father Lafrance died November 26th 1867 in the parish of Barachois, New Brunswick. He was buried in the parish of Saint-Thomas in Memramcook, New Brunswick.

Father Lafrance became rightfully known as the defender of the lepers and the forerunner of education in Acadie.


Father Ferdinand Edmond Gauvreau, 2nd pastor of Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Ferdiand Edmond Gauvreau

Ferdinand Edmond Gauvreau was born in Quebec on September 12th, 1806.
He was ordained in 1830.

He came to Tracadie to replace Father Lafrance in January of 1852. His duties for his new parish spanned a territory of sixty or so miles from Neguac to Pokemouche. The duty closest to his heart and his devotion was the betterment of the fate of the lepers in the lazaretto. He took the iniative of conceiving a project with his bishop, Mgr James Rogers, that would allow nuns to come to the lazaretto to take care of the lepers. The Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of Montreal responded favorably to their request. Father Gauvreau went to Montreal himself to visit them and accompany them on their voyage to New Brunswick in 1868.

Being a member of the Bureau of Health, he assured by all means necessary that a part of the funds required for the hospital's upkeep and its staff was available. Father Gauvreau also began the processes and preparations for the construction of a stone church which was completed by his successor, Father Babineau. Father Gauvreau returned to Quebec for health reasons after 19 years of duty. He died in 1875 in the parish of St. Flavien where he served as priest.


Joseph Auguste Babineau, 3rd pastor of Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Joseph Auguste Babineau, 1844-1915

Joseph Auguste Babineau was born in Saint Louis de Kent, New Brunswick, April 29th, 1844. He is called upon to replace pastor Gauvreau in the parish of Tracadie September 9th, 1871. Father Babineau's immediate goal was to finalize the procedures for the construction of a new stone church. The construction began in 1874 and ended in 1896. Shortly thereafter, a presbytery was constructed. The nuns managed to have the stone lazaretto (1896) built thanks to his support and his aid.

The nuns and the doctor assumed the responsibility of taking care of the lepers, when the administration of the lazaretto was transferred from the provincial Bureau of Health to the federal government in 1880. Father Babineau was nonetheless named as its director and signed the agreement.
He made several trips to Ottawa to obtain both the construction of a new building and an increase in the annual allocation given to the nuns in order to take care of the sick. Father Babineau acted as the lazaretto's protector and was its supporter, taking to heart its interests during his 32 years of service in the parish of Tracadie. The lazaretto was fortunate to have such a zealous supporter. He was named pastor in St.
Leonard in the spring of 1903. He would remain there until his death, March 31st, 1915.


Mgr. James Rogers, bishop of Chatham
Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada


Mgr. James Rogers

Mgr. James Rogers was the first bishop of the new diocese of Chatham which covered the Northern Territories of New Brunswick. He was the only son of John Rogers and Mary Britton. He was born in Ireland on July 11th, 1826 and emigrated with his parents to Halifax in 1831. He began his theological studies at the seminary of the Sulpiciens in Montreal. He became fluent in French during that time. He was ordained in Halifax by Mgr. Walsh on July 2nd 1851. He was named pastor of Church Point, Nova Scotia. As a priest, he lacked neither self-assurance, zeal, nor joviality. This allowed him to solidify the Church's presence by preaching in both English and French, as well as in Mic-Mac occasionally.

He was sent to the Bermudas in 1857 where he was responsible for the building of the first Catholic church in the islands. He then acted as secretary for the archbishop, as well as taught at Saint Mary's College when he was recalled in 1859. Father Rogers was named bishop of Chatham on May 8th, 1860. He received his episcopal ordination in Charlottetown on August 15th, 1860.

The young pastor found in his congregation the perfect match for his zeal and his energy : a vast diocese with 60 missions with only 8 priests to attend to their needs. The quarantined lepers of the region in Tracadie's lazaretto, immediately gained his compassion. He took steps to bring to the area a religious congregation from Montreal to take care of the lepers and of the sick. He endowed the parish with schools, hospitals and priests as the years passed. As he was totally devoted to his duty, he had the courage and capacity to look after the parish with energy and foresight. After 42 years as bishop, Mgr. Rogers died in Chatham's Hôtel-Dieu on March 22nd, 1903.


Joseph Marie Paquet, Vicar-General of the diocese of Chatham
Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada


Mgr. Joseph Marie Paquet, 1804-1869

Joseph Marie Paquet was born in Quebec on November 20th, 1804. The bishop sent him to help the pastor of Barachois, father Gagnon. Father Paquet continued to serve all the catholic missions from Cape Tourmente to the Miramichi after father Gagnon passed away. He mastered English and was quite beneficial to all his missions. Mgr. Rogers later referred to him as being "an exceptional missionary".

Father Paquet was named as Caraquet's pastor in 1848 and remained until he died. Chatham's bishop appointed him as his vicar-general, and also gave him the responsibility of administering the diocese for two years.
The bishop was in Europe during that time as part of the Vatican's first council. It was at this time that Mgr. Paquet sent for the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal to administer Tracadie's lazaretto. The nuns had to rely on public charity for all their funds from their arrival on September 29th, 1868 until June 1869 when the government made its first installment. They managed nevertheless to make do because Mgr. Paquet had authorized them to take what they needed from the stores. He would then settle their accounts.
He never ceased his support.

He wrote them on March 31st, 1869, saying that "Even though the government has stated its support to you, I will nonetheless always be ready to aid you each time you inform me of your needs". He left them 400 dollars in his will. The end was near for Chatham's vicar-general.
Unable to receive the treatment required for his condition, Mgr. Paquet decided to return to the Hôtel-Dieu in Montreal where he died at the age of 65, July 28th, 1869.


Joseph Marie Levasseur, 4th pastor of Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Joseph Marie Levasseur, 1856-1940

The parish of Tracadie welcomed their new pastor Joseph Marie Levasseur in 1903. He was from St. Basile, Madawaska. He was a priest loved by all. He left the parish with unforgettable memories.

He arranged the reconstruction of the church which had been destroyed by fire in 1925. That monument is still admired today by all. He also arranged for a church hall to be built near the church circa 1910, as well as a chapel in Saint Irénée. Lastly, with the help of the nuns, the Holy Family Academy opened in 1912.

He retired in 1937 and stayed at the Hôtel-Dieu in Tracadie where he died in 1940. Parishioners still speak of him with much emotion and call him: "Our good father Levasseur".