Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 17, 2003
An Oblate's life of adventure
Book chronicles Beauregards 'wonderful life'
By RENATO GANDIA
"His philosophy was, 'If people don't come to church then the Church must come to them,'"
- Elise Chartrand-Dery
In 1940, he was challenged to volunteer to go to the Alberta-Saskatchewan Oblate province. He was tentatively promised a teaching job at the College St-Jean in Edmonton.
Although he preferred to be posted in a warmer place, he agreed to move West as there was a hidden benefit in so doing. He would be safeguarded from being assigned to the NWT.
He was ordained to the priesthood in Lebret, Sask., in 1941. Little did he know that what he was avoiding would become his ground for ministry as he was asked to go the Mackenzie Diocese the following year.
He served as a military chaplain of the American Army at Camp Canol in NWT from 1942 to 1947.
For the next 40 years he served as a pastor in the territory, Fort Smith, Fort McMurray and Edmonton. He first served as pastor of St. Joachim's Parish in Edmonton from 1981 to 1986.
When he was in Fort McMurray he belonged to every club.
"He didn't go there to preach. He was there to be a friend. His philosophy was, 'If people don't come to church then the Church must come to them,'" said Dery.
And yet he didn't go there and start saying, "You know you should be going to church."
Although he was extremely proud of being a priest he did not allow his priesthood to be a hindrance from making friends with people from other denominations.
People knew him as someone who would jump the minute he knew he was needed to minister anywhere and at anytime.
Dery deeply admired the priest's attitude.
He always found what's best in life in spite of catastrophic and problematic situations, the writer said.
Of the people he met, he never tried to change anyone but he tried to bring out the best in them.
Even in old age he refused to retire. Oblate Provincial Camille Piche appointed him as Oblate House superior in Foyer Grandin and as vicar of St. Joachim.
"He would have truly deserved to retire but when I gave him an assignment at Placid Place, our retirement home, he refused. He said that's only for old people. He really wanted to minister," Piche told the WCR when Beauregard died at the age of 85 in 1998.
Dery, who did research on her book for 15 years, said, "The priests have always been receiving bad press. But not all priests are the same."
"What I wanted to do (in writing this book) is to let a different light shine upon the image of those who truly gave their lives for the people."
The book is an easy read with a well-researched historical background, published by Ortus Publications, Inc. Go to www.ortus.ca for more information.
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