Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 31, 2000
Oblate lived life of humble service
Special to the WCR
Oblate Brother Antoine Vachon, who spent more than half his life working in the northern missions, died Jan. 18. He was 81.
Vachon was a jack of all trades who performed humble labour, freeing the priests to attend to sacramental ministry, preach and travel to outlying missions.
He tilled the soil, tended the garden, cut and hauled wood, repaired and serviced the vehicles, did house and yard maintenance, looked after the furnace and did the cooking.
Vachon spent 32 years working in Fort Simpson, N.W.T., but also served in Fort Chipewyan, Rae, Fort Resolution, Fort Providence and Aklavik. He retired in Falher, Alta., and moved to St. Albert in 1996.
He was born in Valley Junction in La Beauce, Que., in early 1919. Two of his siblings also became missionaries.
His brother, Father Alphée Vachon, is a Missionary of Africa and his sister, Sister Reine Vachon, is a Franciscan Missionary of Mary who served in Tunisia. He is also survived by a sister, Yvette Vachon.
Brother Antoine entered the Oblates in 1936, made his first vows in 1938 and his final vows in 1944 after he had already spent two years serving in the North.
Approaching the 50th anniversary of his profession in 1988, Vachon was asked to retire. But he responded, "As I have spent the greater part of my life in the northern missions, I would like to stay here for a long time yet."
In a 1996 letter to Vachon, the Oblate provincial superior, Father Camille Piché, wrote, "Thank you for your beautiful simplicity, your spirit of humble and devoted service. During all these years, you have never recanted, but have remained faithful. It is time now to take a much-deserved rest."
Piché presided at the Mass of the Resurrection for Vachon Jan. 20 in St. Albert.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.