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Knights of Columbus

Knights of Columbus was started by Father Michael J. McGivney, the assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven Connecticut in 1881. He noticed the growth of fraternal organisations that either banned Catholics or were antithetical to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  In late October 1881, he gathered a group of Catholic men, proposing the idea of establishing a lay organisation with the goal of uniting Catholic men and assisting the families of deceased members. The group elected their first officers and were officially incorporated on March 29, 1882.

As the Knights of Columbus began spreading across the United States, it was only a matter of time until the organisation made inroads into Canada. On November 25, 1897, the first Canadian Knights of Columbus Council, No. 284, was formed in Montreal, Quebec.

Following World War I, the men of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Cathedral in The Pas were approached by representatives from the Manitoba State Knights who presented the idea of creating a local Council. The application was sent to the Knights of Columbus Supreme Office in New Haven, Connecticut, followed by a membership drive. Once sufficient support was shown, the Knights of Columbus in The Pas, Charlebois Council No. 2704, was granted its charter on December 2, 1928, making it the 5th oldest Council in Manitoba.

A total of 75 members signed on, listed on the Council’s charter:

Charles A. Danby
Joseph C. Despins
Fortunat Dion
Leon J. Dion
Albert P. Ducharme
Samuel F. Dunstan
Alphonse J. Dupas
Francis Evans
Ezra E. Fowler
Ernest L. Fradin
Nazaire Frechette
Joseph Gagnon
Albert J. Grilloux
Edgar J. Gamache
Williams S. Gamache
Francois Guyot
Edward T. Hartnett
William G. Horton
William D. Jones
Joseph R. Joyal
Emmett E. Kelleher
Anatole G. Lacombe
Emile Lacombe
Paul Lacombe
Albert J. LaFontaine
Joseph N. Landry
Louis N. Lapointe
Arthur Larose
Gustave J. Lauzé
William H. Leblanc
Maurice C. Marcotte
Wilfred J. Marcotte
Rev. Georges J. Marchand
James A. Martin
James A. McDonald
Louis F. McDonald
William B. McLellan
John M. Mezzarabba
Julien S. Morin
John H. Mulhall
John M. Mulhall
William J. Mulhall
Thomas J. Noble
Francis P. O’Connell
Bernard J. O’Reilly
Francis A. Pelletier
Edmund F. Purcell
Thomas Raftner
Joseph H. Robinson
Avila St.Godard
Charles St.Godard
Anthony W. Shevchuk
Edgar F. Stuart
Desiré M. de Tremaudan
Frank Twardochleb
Eugene L. Adam
Eugene Brault
Joseph A. Allard
John L. Brennan
Louis A. Allard
Hugh J. Carmichael
Joseph Anctil
Joseph B. Charbonneau
John Ernest Balfour
John H. Charbonneau
Roman A. Baran
Gasoard Chartrand
Edward S. Barker
John T. Coan
Romeo Beauchesne
Robert Croteau
Albert J. Bone
Austin L. Cumming
Edouard J. Bonin
Joseph E. Cousineau


Joseph Nazaire is smiling as he faces the camera. He is wearing a dark jacket and a white shirt and patterned tie.

Photograph of Joseph Nazaire Frechette


Council No.2704 has been based in Guy Hall since its incorporation. The Hall, located at 28 1st Street West as part of the Catholic Church complex, has had several incarnations over the years. The original Guy Hall was constructed in 1919 as the first parish hall. The original building was later replaced by an updated hall in 1946. However, the second building was destroyed by fire on January 18, 1951. Construction began again and in January 1952 the hall was in a state where it could be used for various functions as well as meetings for the Knights of Columbus. In 1987, the Knights undertook a complete renovation of the building.


Wedding of Alfred Lafontaine and Melline Meulles. They and their two witnesses are posing for the camera.

Wedding of Albert Lafontaine and Mélina deMeulles, May 25, 1915


Council members have taken an active part in Operation Red Nose, the Wheelchair Foundation of Canada, Meals on Wheels, The Pas Centennial Committee and its activities, the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival, as well as various other local projects.

Assistance has been given to many events including the birthday party in St. Paul’s Personal Care Home as well as to projects such as the refurbishment of the Riverside Catholic Cemetery, Guy Hall and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Members have helped operate Sacred Heart School in addition to contributing to the construction of the Winton Pool. They have supported various youth activities, from a Rock-Paper-Scissors challenge to a Fun Run.


View this video with a transcript: “Community Builders – Charlebois Chapel”

Since the first Knights of Columbus council in Canada was formed in Montreal in 1897 the Knights of Columbus has thrived in Canada. Today, there are more than 229,500 Canadian members in nearly 1,900 councils throughout Canada’s ten provinces. As Knights, members witness to their Catholic faith by serving the Church and engaging in volunteer service to those in need. In 2003, Knights in Canada donated more than $23 million to Church, community and youth charities, plus performed more than 9 million hours of volunteer service.


Text produced by Sam Waller Museum staff.