Fr. Camille Dozois
EDMONTON – A night owl who would work until the wee hours, Father Camille Dozois was an accomplished scholar, professor and traveller who wanted to explore what the world had to offer.
A professor of moral theology at St. Joseph Seminary, Dozois was also instrumental in setting up Newman Theological College, where he taught a variety of subjects.
In his more than 50 years as a priest, he served as assistant pastor in various parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Edmonton, including la Paroisse Immaculée-Conception for more than 30 years.
Dozois died Nov. 18, just nine days after his 79th birthday.
When Msgr. Frank Patsula arrived at the seminary as a canon law professor in 1960, Dozois was already there.
"He was teaching philosophy and moral theology at the time. He was a great fellow but I don't remember him playing any of the sports," Patsula remembers.
"But he was a night owl. He did most of his work late at night. His room was full of books and he probably knew everything in them."
Dozois and Patsula lived in the seminary, where they would socialize at dinnertime. "All I can say is that I always thought well of him. He was a brilliant professor and certainly knew his material."
Added Patsula: "He was very, very instrumental when the Newman Theological College was established there. He knew all that had to be done. He was very much involved in that transition when the Oblates moved to the seminary and established Newman Theological College in 1979."
Dozois was born in Vimy, Alta., Nov. 9, 1932, the second child of Joseph Edmond and Marie Louise (nee Gagne) Dozois.
A graduate of the Seminaire Universitaire in Ottawa, Dozois was ordained June 3, 1956, by Bishop Henri Routhier at St-Joachim Church in Edmonton.
He taught Christian ethics at St. Joseph Seminary, then at Newman Theological College between 1956 and 2000, serving at different times as prefect of discipline and secretary of the college. Over the years, he taught courses in religious education and moral theology to lay people in Edmonton, Calgary and Regina and in the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese of northwestern Alberta.
Dozois retired from teaching at Newman College in 2000 after suffering a stroke. Unknown to anyone including himself, he had suffered several dozen mini-strokes throughout his lifetime.
He recovered relatively well from the major stroke in 2000 and spent the next 10 years living independently at St. Andrew's Centre. In early 2011 he moved to the Venta Care Centre where he continued to receive visitors and reminisce about old times.
Brother Donatus Vervoort, who also taught at the seminary and the college, knew Dozois well. He described his beloved friend as an accomplished academic who wrote a number of scholarly articles on philosophy and ethics for various publications, including a publication from the University of Ottawa.
Dozois also wrote articles and biographies for the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, a respected Toronto-based publication that is up to 22 volumes now. He wrote about prominent thinkers in Canadian history and "I know he had done quite a bit of work and research on French-speaking settlements in the West, particularly in Alberta."
"When I think of Camille I think of a very pleasant and very capable and intelligent colleague and administrator; he was dean of theology (at Newman) for a number of years."
Dozois also had a great interest in books and his library was something to see. During a sabbatical in Europe he bought many classics from the 15th and 16th centuries, which Vervoort donated to the University of Alberta.
He enjoyed traveling and in addition to visiting Europe many times Dozois once went to China.
"Before going to a foreign country, he would study it. He wanted to learn more about the country and about the people and their culture," Vervoort said. "He was very much interested in history and philosophy. He was really an academic."